The always unfiltered Lea DeLaria sat down with The Creative Coalition in a podcast featuring unplugged and uncensored conversations with today’s biggest stars.
In the newest episode, Lea DeLaria opens up about how Melissa Etheridge helped her land a manager, why network lawyers wanted her cut from The Arsenio Hall Show, being typecast as “the lesbian who inappropriately hits on straight women,” being catapulted to fame after Orange Is the New Black… which surprisingly was a role that almost slipped from her grasp.
“At Home With The Creative Coalition,” sponsored by The Pioneering Collective, is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, SoundCloud, and more. Here are some highlights from the pod:
On how Melissa Etheridge helped her find a manager and why she had to hang up on Melissa during a phone call:
“All of these agents started showing up and managers and publicists and all of these people. And with all that was going on, I was out of my league not knowing how to handle stuff. I had been friends with Melissa Etheridge since the ‘80s so I contacted her and said, ‘I’m out of my depth.’ And she said, ‘The first thing you need to do is find someone to help you find a decent manager and agent.’ She was really good about this stuff. And in the middle of that call, I got a call from another phone — the office phone — and they’re banging on the door going, ‘Lea, you’ve got a phone call.’ And I was like, ‘I’m on the phone with Melissa Etheridge!’ And they go, ‘Yeah, but it’s The Arsenio Hall Show’ so I was like, ‘Melissa, I’ve got to call you back!’”
On why Fox lawyers nearly killed her standup gig on The Arsenio Hall Show:
“Little did I know that after it was all over, the lawyers for Fox called Arsenio and said, ‘I don’t think we can air this because she’s using the words ‘dyke,’ ‘queer,’ and ‘fag’.’ And Arsenio said, ‘She’s a dyke. If she calls herself a dyke and she wants to then who are we to stop that?’ So he fought and got it on the air.”
On being typecast as “the lesbian who inappropriately hits on straight women at every function”:
“I did a variety of things in the 90s. Mostly I played P.E. teachers and police lieutenants. I was in L.A. And the lesbian who inappropriately hits on women at every function, like inappropriately hitting on straight women at every function. You saw me do that in ‘First Wives Club,’ you saw me do it on ‘Friends.’ I started turning it down. They kept wanting me to do it. They wanted me to do it in ‘Suddenly Susan,’ they wanted me to do it and it’s like, ‘NO!’ There were no other lesbians at that time and that would be the reason why.”
On auditioning for Orange Is the New Black before Netflix Originals and streaming TV were widely popular:
“It was this new Internet-TV thing. Nobody was doing that… Even at the time when I got it, it was Internet-TV, I knew. Anybody who was smart knew that soon it was all going to be Internet. Soon, TV was going to be nothing but Internet. People wouldn’t even have a TV, they’d watch it on their computer… I thought this is the future of my industry so let me get it on the future of my industry.”
On learning she originally didn’t get the part after her Orange Is the New Black audition:
“[My manager] goes, ‘They love you’ — which is the kiss of fucking death. If they start with ‘they love you’ you’re not going to get the part. He goes, ‘But they just don’t believe there’s the right part for you in the show.’
On being catapulted to fame after Orange Is the New Black premiered:
“It was Looney Tunes. Not even 24 hours after [OITNB] dropped, I was on the subway and I saw this guy staring at me. Normally when I see someone staring at me on the subway, it clicks something in my head because I’m butch, I’m gender-nonconforming… If somebody’s staring at me on the subway, my shackles go off, I’m ready for what’s about to happen. And basically, he just went, ‘Big Boo! You’re Big Boo! You’re Big Boo!’ He just kept yelling it. And I went, ‘I am!’ And then I started laughing because I was like, ‘Wow, that’s weird’… And then add another 24 hours to that, and it was over. In 48 hours, I couldn’t go anywhere. I mean nowhere without being stopped by every person. I mean, I was a Jonas Brother. Twenty-year-old girls were chasing me down the street.”
Listen to the podcast with Lea DeLaria here.
More about At Home With The Creative Coalition
Hosted by The Creative Coalition CEO Robin Bronk, “At Home With The Creative Coalition” brings listeners intimate portraits, key moments of discovery, and “art and soul” conversations with iconic entertainment industry personalities from the big screen to the boardroom, from L.A. to D.C. “At Home With The Creative Coalition” is sponsored by Pioneering Collective.
Listen now at http://thecreativecoalition.org/podcast.