Coco Peru back in Seattle
 

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posted Friday, October 7, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 40

Coco Peru back in Seattle
by Joshua Michael Rumley - SGN Contributing Writer

The incomparable Coco Peru will be returning to Seattle with her brand new show Coco Peru: There Comes a Time for a full weekend of shows at Rebar on Friday, October 14 and Saturday, October 15.

Coco Peru has done it all over the 20 years she has been working in the entertainment industry: films (Trick, Girls Will Be Girls), television (Will & Grace, Arrested Development, Detroit 187), and hosting the 20th GLAAD Awards in Los Angeles, in addition to touring with her award-winning shows.

Coco Peru is excited to return to Seattle where she believes she has experienced some of the best audiences throughout her career.

Joshua Michael Rumley: First off, I just want to tell you that you have such a delightful voice, it's so soothing. I almost want to have you call me tonight to read me a bedtime story.

Coco Peru: [laughs] Well, why thank you, but try telling my partner that. He has to listen to me 24 hours a day.

Rumley: When was the last time you were in Seattle?

Peru: You know, I was just trying to think about that. I think it was a year and a half ago or maybe two years ago. I really don't know, time gets kind of lost on me. Well, until I look in the mirror.

Rumley: I know there are legions of Coco-philes awaiting your grand return to Seattle at Rebar.

Peru: [laughs] Legions? Well, I sure hope so.

Rumley: Have you had a chance to explore Seattle on previous trips?

Peru: Well I've gone for walks around the first Starbucks and the market and I have to say, my god the seagulls are huge down there. I don't know what you are feeding them, but stop!

Rumley: I'm surprised they can even take flight, actually. Did you walk around as Coco?

Peru: I haven't in Seattle, but that's not to say I won't. Whenever I feel the need to beautify my neighborhood I get dressed up and go out into the community. I like to do that because it allows me to step outside the box of my comfortable world and it gives you a new perspective. I know what people are thinking when they see me out but I feel like I understand myself more because of the perspective I get when stepping out.

Rumley: Where did the term 'Coco-philes' come from?

Peru: [laughs] You know, dear, I thought you just made that up.

Rumley: Well, don't I feel silly now. I kept seeing that term used throughout the internet.

Peru: Usually I hear them called Coco-puffs.?

Rumley: [laughs] Is there an initiation or hazing ritual to become an official Coco-puff?

Peru: [laughs] Well, it's a simple initiation: basically, you just get totally naked and kneel down before me. Or better yet, let me kneel down before you.

Rumley: [laughs] What can Coco-puffs expect from your new show

Coco Peru: There Comes a Time?

Peru: There Comes a Time is my brand new show, I wrote it early last spring. Right before I started writing the show I felt like I had nothing else to say. I've been performing my shows for about 20 years now and was terrified that I had nothing else to say. When you put yourself on the line like I have for 20 years you really just have to plow through that fear. I realized that everything I talk about in the show is something I really have to say and get off my chest. I want the audience to be receptive to what I have to say and I want them to be able to relate to it. I've been doing Coco for 20 years. Through the years it's really been about embracing change. I know on paper what I'm going to talk about may seem boring, but that is where the comedy lies.

Rumley: How has

Coco Peru evolved over the last 20 years?

Peru: I guess my makeup is better - well, slightly better! Makeup is something that has never come naturally to me. I definately think my writing has gotten better. When I first started performing as Coco I wanted to be part social activist and part entertainer. I feel like I have obtained that throughout the last 20 years, a balance between the two. And you know Seattle is one of my favorite places to perform.

Rumley: That's interesting you say that because a number of different comedians I've interviewed recently have said the same thing.

Peru: The audiences in Seattle are always very receptive. There is never that attitude of 'well, girl, you better come on out and prove it.' My experiences in Seattle have always been very refreshing. The audience really comes out to have a good time and I feel like they truly appreciate what I have to say in my show. It really gets me excited. In my 20 years in the business I have always been appreciative and grateful. I feel like it has it paid off and come back to me. That isn't always the case with the Gay magazines.

Rumley: Really!? But you're such a positive and entertaining person within the community.

Peru: Unless you're a naked boy, don't expect to make the covers of most of the Gay publications. They don't put drag queens on the covers.

Rumley: I have to admit you popped my drag cherry with the film Girls Will Be Girls.

Peru: [laughs] Oh my god you're young.

Rumley: Well, I grew up in a pretty conservative area.

Peru: You know, we filmed the sequel to the film last year and it's going to be released in 2012. The first film wasn't a success theatrically - it was one of those things that, like you, the Gays discovered on DVD. People started throwing Girls Will Be Girls parties. Then the Gays started to invite their straight friends and that's when the movie really caught on. I started telling Richard Day, who directed and wrote the first film, that we should do a sequel. He put all of his own money into the first film, and he couldn't see any reason to make a second one at first. It wasn't 'til I got on the road and started hearing all of the feedback did we realize just how much people loved the film and how much they wanted to see a sequel. The great thing was we raised a ton of money from our fans. I'll have it be known that I raised more then Varla and Evie. Don't let those other ho's tell you otherwise!

Rumley: What was life like growing up in the Bronx for little

Coco Peru?

Peru: It was a love-hate relationship but I absolutely loved the area that I grew up in. The area was made up of working-class people and sometimes they are not always the most educated when it comes to social things. Being Gay wasn't something that they were cool with, especially the kids. I went to Catholic school and let me tell you what that was, a complete fiasco. I learned how to survive and being funny was my ticket. If I could attack people with my mouth and imitate them I was good. I go back now and again and people are always excited to see me, even some of the people who made fun of me back in school. Once I became comfortable with myself and stepped out as Coco people no longer had power over me.

Rumley: They were attacking your insecurities, it sounds like, the classic bully.

Peru: Oh yes, but I found out later that all of the boys who were making fun of me were blowing each other in the building next to the school. I was upset that I was never invited! My god, just imagine all of those Italian boys with gold chains.

Rumley: When did

Coco Peru first make her debut?

Peru: In college I would lip sync at parties. If a song came on that I liked I would run for paper towels and I would create a headpiece. 'The quicker picker upper' & that was me.

Rumley: Who or what was your inspiration besides paper towels?

Peru: [laughs] I didn't want to be a drag queen who looked like a clown, not that there is anything wrong with that. I just realized that it just wasn't me. On some level I wanted to do something that was opposite of that, I didn't want the different-colored hair. I thought less would be more. That's kind of where the comedy came from. I'm a classically trained actor and I've heard my mom say countless times, 'I can't believe you paid all that money to go to college just to become a drag queen.'

Rumley: Let's say you're at a speed dating event and the next person is Rick Perry, you have three minutes, what do you say or do?

Peru: Oh god & well I'd start off with a 'Rick & really & why & why & why.' Where do you even start with people like that? I mean the most recent story about the name of his hunting grounds, what the hell is that about? I look at the whole lot of them and think how the hell did these people make it so far, how did they make it to this point. They sit around and bash Hollywood but we're not trying to become politicians. Oh my god and Michele Bachmann. Her husband is Gayer then me and I'm a drag queen. Makes you wonder why she stays with her, she must have at least an 8-inch cock.

Rumley: [laughs] Oh my god, you just made my morning.

Peru: They are just over the top and insane in a bad way. Rick & really but why & really but why!

Rumley: What message would you like your audience to walk away with after your show at Rebar?

Peru: I want the audience to leave feeling entertained and motivated to go out and change the world. At a recent show in Dallas I had people of all ages coming up to me after the show and each one of them were inspired by a different part of my show. I want people to be inspired in their lives. Plus, I want them to watch out for those giant seagulls!



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