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My Mentor Memoir- Joan Rivers

20 May Posted by in • Guest Writers | Comments Off on My Mentor Memoir- Joan Rivers
My Mentor Memoir- Joan Rivers

Lesbian Comic Poppy Champlin is Back!

I loved watching the old comics on TV— Flip Wilson, Johnny Carson, Red Skelton, Jackie Gleason and the Honeymooners and Lucy, I loved Lucy. I would watch that all the time, and The Three Stooges. I wasn’t a big fan of the Marx Brothers I think their humor went over my head.  Bugs Bunny and all the Looney Tunes.  I love cartoons, I do a good Yosemite Sam impression as well as Lucy and Ethel Merman and Joan Rivers.

IMG_2288Joan actually was my teacher.  Yes, I started doing an impression of Joan when I was working in a cabaret in Houston, Texas.  I was singing in a show called From Blues to Broadway and I was just starting to do standup, so I asked if I might do a monologue in the cabaret. – Yes I can! – So I wrote up a monologue for the show.  But I was drinking heavily at the time, smoking, doing drugs and rehearsing for the next show during the day.  My voice started to pay the price and soon I actually sounded like Joan Rivers. So I tweaked it a tad and it was a match. After I got fired (I don’t know if I told you, but when I drink, I break out in bad behavior) I went back to Rhode Island and won a Joan Rivers look-a-like contest and was flown out to Los Angeles to be on her Late Show.  I was first runner up in this look-a-like contest.  It was awesome! I was on her stage doing jokes looking and sounding just like Joan Rivers.  I won a beautiful gold and diamond necklace which turned my neck green.  In retrospect I should have stayed in LA, pawned the necklace and started working.  But I flew home and started doing a Joan Rivers act in a hotel in Newport, RI.  I didn’t know about plagiarism. You are not supposed to do such things.  But I am forever in debt to Joan Rivers because doing her act taught me sooo much.  I was able to be a polished comedian before I was a polished comedian.  I got to see how it fels to be a pro. People responded to the jokes just as if I were she.  It was amazing. I was a tribute comic.  I did make up a few originals in her style, like “Oh please, Heidi Abramowitz is a tramp – she has been down on all fours more than Lassie. Please – she put in a sunroof for extra legroom, she has been going down in more back seats than loose change.”  I guess that is not very pro-woman but that’s what was happening at the time. Today, I try not to put down women at all, but to be a strong example of a powerful woman myself. Strong, smart, thoughtful, loving and kind is a good base from which plenty of funny can be had.

After dropping the Joan Rivers act, I went out in the world to find myself and eventually came back around and got on The Joan Rivers Morning Show in 1993.  She again had a contest in NY and they were looking for America’s Funniest Real Woman.  This time I won! I was given some standup dates and a trophy.  I liked the necklace better.

Upcoming Poppy Dates full list.

May 27-30 – Post Office Cabaret – Provincetown, MA – 7:30 PM

June 4th Courthouse Center For The Arts – Kingston, RI – 8:00 PM

Poppy and her Queer Queens of Qomedy Tour

June 5th  Hartford Funny Bone – 4:00 PM

June 7th  Albany Funny Bone   7:00 PM

June 8th  Syracuse Funny Bone 7:00 PM

June 9th-12th Post Office Cabaret – Provincetown, MA

June 25th  DixHills Playhouse – Long Island

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