What does a nun, a hyena, bartending aliens, and Ted Danson have in common? Whoopi Goldberg. Caryn Elaine Johnson -- who revealed last Saturday night that her stage name is a result of the comedienne "having a lot of gas" -- has had quite a career. It's been 30 years since her Broadway debut in Citizen: I'm Not Losing My Mind, I'm Giving it Away and she can still pack a house.
Whoopi appeared at the Arsht Center's Ziff Ballet Opera House armed with a stool, a copy of her latest book Is It Just Me? (used as a prop for a running gag about how she can't remember anything anymore...and of course, for reference), two bottles of water (one of which she sweetly gave to a parched audience member), and a mouth full of sass. She talked about everything from smoking weed, being able to bead'n'braid her pubic hairs back in her youth, to teaching her toddler grandson the phrase "fuck it."
Yup, Ms. Goldberg was feeling saucy, telling jokes about tampon strings and short skirts, attacking backward passages in the Bible ("It says in Isaiah that if a man has sex with an animal, he and the animal are put to death...but what did the animal do?"), and discussing the different "shaking" techniques men utilize after taking a leak.
But bits about hot flashes, jumbo sized maxi pads that she would have to pin on to her panties as a kid, and how evolution has caused babies to come straight out of the womb nowadays with thumbs curled and ready to text, seemed to age her. Especially when the roar of the audiences' laughter would subside after yet another menopause joke and instead would be replaced by dozens of silver heads nodding as enthusiastically as they could without giving themselves some kind of arthritic episode.
The strangest, or perhaps most entertaining, aspect of the evening was the audience's Q&A session with the dreadlocked diva. Mostly because the majority of the fans who approached the two microphones set up 10 feet away from both sides of the stage were either inarticulate, dull ("I just wanted to say hi"), or were straight up nuts.
One extremely confused woman kept on asking Goldberg about status updates she makes on Facebook even after the comedienne explained that she doesn't have a Facebook account. And one Venezuelan man kept on asking her to recreate one of her scenes from The Color Purple, admitted that he frequently dreamed about her, and then ran towards the stage -- arms wide open -- in hopes that Goldberg would give him a hug. Which she didn't. And after a few beats of an awkward pause, Goldberg asked (saving the night) "Okay, so, who in the audience passed around a joint?"