Who Else Started In A Bathhouse Like Bette Midler? Why Judy Tenuta!

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Judy Tenuta‘s New Book — in Blonde
Comedienne’s new tome has the funny, the recipes and the pictures.
By Corey Andrew | Thursday, Jun 7, 2012

Full Frontal Tenudity by Judy Tenuta

Comedian, actress and squeezebox squeezerJudy Tenuta has released her first book – and it’s got multiple personality disorder  –or maybe her, it’s just a triple threat.

“Full Frontal Tenudity” is part-memoir, part-sex advice tome and part-cookbook. Dozens of hilarious photos of Judy – done up as famous blonds like Lohan, Gaga and Hilton – are one of the draws.

From the look of the images, Judy a.k.a. “The Love Goddess” hasn’t physically changed much – except for her hair – since we saw her on HBO and Showtime during stand-up’s ’80s heyday.

Of course, part of that could be owed to the wonders of Photoshop, she told me during a riotous chat.

Judy Tenuta: Hello-ooo, this is the Goddess!

Corey Andrew: Good morning, Judy. How are you?

Judy: I might whip out my squeeze box. I get to guess where you’re calling me from.

Corey: The phone number is Midwest, but I’m calling you from the West Coast.

Judy: Oh, you’re in the San FranCrisco area. I am good! How are you?

Corey: I’m OK. (Judy starts playing the accordion.)

Judy: I decided to whip it out, anyway.

Corey: Fantastic!

Judy: You deserve it, honey.

Corey: Here we are in Gay Pride Month, and you just came back from a big event?

Judy: Oh, it was so much fun in Palm Springs. They dedicated a beautiful statue to me. In it, I have blond hair, and the wind is blowing up my white dress. It looks so much like me. Sometimes they call it the Marilyn statue, but it’s me. I love going to Palm Springs because I’m the youngest one there. Hello-ooo! (Sings with accordion accompaniment) ”˜You’ve got to be gray, to be gay in Palm Springs today!’ If you don’t have a Hoveround, honey, you’re not getting around. I love it there. They may dedicate a star to me.

Corey: This is a little weird, but last night I had a dream that we were going to a Halloween party together.

Judy: I love it! Halloween may be my favorite holiday. In terms of fun, that’s my favorite.

Corey: We were going as the cast of ”˜9 to 5,’ and I was Dolly Parton, and you were Lily Tomlin.

Judy: Oh, my God, what an honor! I love Lily and Dolly. (Judy does a Carol Channing impersonation.) ”˜Put on your Sunday clothes when you feel down and out!’ Lily Tomlin is a sweetheart doll, and, Dolly, hello! We love her.

Corey: Yes, even the new parts of her.

Judy: You just had to get that in there, didn’t ya’? Are you talking about the non-moving parts? Anyway, we love her!

Corey: I got a chance to look at your book. It’s a lot of fun.

Judy: Did you love the pictures, too?

Corey: The pictures make it.

Judy: I said I want to include the pictures. You know I’m very visual. I thought they were so much fun. It is a hassle to print it. You can get it on iTunes. Eventually, we’ll do the print version.

Corey: There are some photos of you as a blond. Did you have more fun?

Judy: Yes! For a few pictures, I was Lindsay Lohan. Also, I was Paris Hilton, Lady Gaga. I have all different hair colors in there. (Knock on the door.)

Corey: Judy, can you hold on a sec?

Judy: Are you going to the bathroom? (Corey answers the door, comes back.)

Corey: Judy? Sorry about that.

Judy: You’re supposed to be interviewing me, not people on the street! Who do you think you are, Matt Lauer?

Corey: (laughs) Sorry!

Judy: Get on your knees!

Corey: I’m already down there.

Judy: I have sassy stoner snack recipes in the book!

Corey: The peanut butter bars sound fantastic.

Judy: Don’t they?

Corey: Who did you get to test to recipes?

Judy: I’ve had parties, and I serve these things! I have recipes that are easy to make: ”˜Goddess Stuffed Mushrooms,’ ”˜Hey Jude! Hey Jude! I Love Those Peanut Butter Bars’ and lots of fun stories – and 40 ways to breed a love slave.

Corey: You do joke about using Photoshop on these images.

Judy: When women in Hollywood say ”˜I’m 40,’ it means, ”˜I’m 60. Hooray for Photoshop.’ Photoshop is the greatest plastic surgeon. If you could go around in just photos, everyone would look 22. Right?

Corey: I think you still look fantastic in these photos.

Judy: Thank you. My gay friend who did some of the photos, I have to tell him, ”˜Stop Photoshopping me! I don’t weigh 300 pounds. I have a good figure.’ I’ll tell you a secret, on page 154, he actually bumped up my butt. I said, ”˜What are you doin’ givin’ me a Kim Lardashian butt?’ I make him show me the before and after.

Corey: You do mention in the book that in high school you were chubby.

Judy: Oh, my God, I do have a great story in there. I was 340 pounds. ”˜My Big Fat Secret,’ isn’t that a great title? I destroyed all younger photos of me from 14 to 16, when I ballooned into a planet in high school.

Corey: I think some people would also be surprised that you and Bette Midler both got started performing in bath houses.

Judy: Oh, my God, that was a great one! I did the one in Chicago. I felt like the Bette Midler of Chicago.

Corey: What was your show like then?

Judy: I had to hand out a lot of towels. You take work where you can get it.

Corey: The cover is pretty wild, too.

Judy: That was in honor of Lady Gaga. That was another one where I accused him of Photoshopping. He said, ”˜No, those are your thighs.’ Gee, I guess they look good.

Corey: You should keep him around.

Judy: He had to help me put all that caution tape on. With that caution tape on, I’m dressed more than most Beverly Hills housewives. They go around with just a credit card on their navel.

Corey: Have you started thinking about the follow-up to the book yet?

Judy: Not yet. I want to do another movie. A movie I’m in premieres at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre tomorrow, called ”˜Gibsonburg.’ I owe you a visit in San FranCrisco. I love it there. I haven’t been there in eight months. I’m a goddess who lives in Hollywood, where there’s a two-silicon minimum. I’m the only one who doesn’t have that. One of my favorite Fourth of Julys was in San Francisco. I was at the top of a hotel and could see the fireworks all across the Bay. It was so beautiful.

Judy Tenuta’s book, ”˜Full Frontal Tenudity,’ is available now on iTunes. For more on Judy, visit: judytenuta.com

Corey Andrew has been interviewing comedians and writing about comedy for the last decade and a half. In 2011, he published the book, “Laugh Lines: Conversations with Comedians.”

Corey was a writer and performer with Midwest sketch troupe, The NonProphets, before moving to the Bay Area with his family a few years ago. If you have ideas for future columns about comedy, you can send them to coreywrites@yahoo.com and follow him at twitter.com/coreywrites.

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