Mario Cantone

Italian-American comic, camp follower.

Where do you stand in the range of famous Marios?
Well, there’s Mario Lopez. And the R&B singer Mario. But I guess I’m up there, if that’s what you want to tell people. That’s not what I think inside my mind.

Are you famous enough?
It’s a good amount of fame. You can go places, walk the streets. The tabloids aren’t gonna write about me. They don’t wanna write about when you’ve been with your boyfriend for however long, are you cheating on your boyfriend. They don’t care about the gay people, which is good. It’s a great thing.

Okay, so Sex and the City 2
I can’t tell you anything. Nothing.

Not even a little thing. Go read your spoilers.

Okay then. So, you’re about to turn 50. Big plans?
No, it’s horrifying. Not having a big party. Not doing it. I was gonna go to Hawaii, then I was like, What the fuck? What am I doing? I’m staying here.

What’s so bad about turning 50? You do older broads in your act, like Liza and Barbra, who’ve had awesome second acts in their careers.
Well, that’s what’s great. Except for Judy Garland, because she’s dead. I do Liza Minnelli, and she’s doing great. But pretty much everyone I do is dead, like Julia Child, and I love Judy Garland. I think I do her pretty well, and I actually sing her instead of lip synch. I want people to know who she was. Like, who do they have today, Lady Gaga? Are you kidding me? She dresses like a lobster and a coconut doughnut. I mean, come on. And then Britney. It’s like, That’s the singers? I mean, God, where’s the power? Thank God for Beyonc.

So, will we even have living showbiz icons in 20 years?
Well we’ve lost Whitney Houston, which is devastating. She’s certainly healthy and doing well, but—and I actually like the new album—but the voice is not there anymore, I don’t care, it’s just not. It’s not about getting old, it’s that she damaged it. It’s infuriating, because she was the greatest since Judy Garland as far as I’m concerned.

What’s your beef with reality shows?
I’ll bake stones in a basement for ten cents apiece before I do a reality show.

I didn’t know that was a career option.
Well, it isn’t. But I do like to bake, it relaxes me. I’d be poor, but I’d be relaxed. What’s wrong with reality shows? There’s nothing wrong with them. What little of an acting career I do have, that’d kill it.

Your one-man show was called Laugh Whore. What’s the dirtiest thing you’ve ever done to get a laugh?
Maybe I mooned someone, after a few drinks. No flashin’ of the front. And it was probably some good friends. I certainly didn’t do it onstage.

What’s your worst impression?
It’s Barbra Streisand. Horrible. But I still do it. The shoulders, I have, yeah, but it’s a bad impression. My Mae West impression is ridiculous too. I like doing her to straight men in the audience. I see one that’s hot, that brings it on.

Do people ever shout what they want in the middle of a show?
Oh yeah. People shout out “Vagina Monologues!” They shout “Lisa Minnelli!” and “your sister Camille!”

To be fair, people yell out “Liza Minnelli!” everywhere in New York—at random movies, symphony concerts...
True. And then she just appears.

Cantone appears at Carolines Thu 5--Sun 8 as part of the New York Comedy Festival.

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