Why won’t Kathy Najimy’s skirt stay down? The answer might be found in “Lift Up Your Skirt,” Najimy’s one woman show, which she performs at Feinstein’s at the Nikko on January 9 and 10 at 8 p.m. Najimy promises that the show will offer memories from her career, a bit of her progressive politics, and lots of laughs.
Najimy first rose to prominence when she appeared with fellow comic Mo Gaffney in “The Kathy and Mo Show,” which played to packed houses in New York City. Najimy caught Hollywood’s attention when “The Kathy and Mo Show” became an HBO special, and hgh profile film roles followed, including a role as a nun in the Sister Act with Whoppi Goldberg and she played a Sanderson sister in Hocus Pocus opposite Sarah Jessica Parker and Bette Midler.
“Hocus Pocus was a six month shoot â€” it was complicated,” Najimy told SF Weekly. “There were lots of components to it.” In fact, sharing memories of her time spent with Midler will act as the opening to her Feinstein’s show.
“For the first 30 minutes I’ll talk about my relationship with Bette since I was a 14 year old stalker fan,” she said with a laugh. “I broke into her dressing room.”
Feinstein’s at the Nikko Of course we wondered how this might have affected her working rapport with Bette years later. Did Midler know who Najimy was? “She knows now,” was all Najimy would say.
When Goldeberg and Najimy co-starred in Sister Act, it was a warm reunion for the actors.
“I have known Whoopi since the mid-1970s,” Najimy said. “I knew her when she was Caryn â€” I drove her daughter to pre-school.”
The two had worked together for a theater company in Najimy’s native San Diego, where she said they did “musical political theater. We did shows about the environment, and other causes. We’ve since done about 4-5 films together.”
Najimy’s Feinstein’s show will also touch upon LGBT issues, albeit with humor. “I play a character named Aunt Maddie,” she explained. “She has a gay nephew named Michael, his lover gets HIV, and has passed. Now he wants to marry his new partner.”
Explaining the character further, she notes Maddie is “not a political woman. She just knows what’s in her heart. It’s easier to discuss issues as a characterâ€”we need to keep having this conversation until everyone can get married.”
Though she is not gay, Najimy is a strong ally for LGBT equality. “I believe there is no ‘other’, we are all one,” she said. “I’m a feminist, and I grew up in the theater. I have friends who are gay or lesbian.”
And she likens homophobia to racism: “Most homophbia is a fear of the ability to love all different types of people,” she said. She said that these fears were taught from childhood. “You aren’t born with hate and shame, you learn to hate and feel shame.”
The Feinstein’s show, Najimy said, is a condensed version of a show that she’s been doing in New York. She’ll also be talking about her Lebanese heritage, and her experiences as a person who lives with diabetes, and Kathy and Mo fans do not need to fret, she’ll be doing a piece from that show as well.
“I’m doing a piece from ‘the Kathy and Mo Show,'” she said. “We did our show in San Francisco several times, so I have a lot of memories of the City. I’m so happy to bring my solo show to San Francisco for the first time.”
Tickets for “Kathy Najimy: Lift Up Your Skirt” are available at Ticketweb.