Tommy Femia is the finest Judy Garland impersonator there is, so when he asked me to do a cameo in his show at Don’t Tell Mama the other night, I DID tell mama. I was thrilled.
The problem is, I have no act. I used to read Susanne Somers‘ poetry aloud at events like this, but that never got the laughs I would hope and besides, Three’s Company doesn’t have much to do with Judy Garland.
So I planned to do a reading of a Liza Minnelli interview from 1975, in which Liza said Mama died with style–and not from an OD or a suicide, by the way.
At the sound check, Femia asked me if I’d also duet with him on “Get Happy”/”Happy Days are Here Again,” which Judy and a young thing named Barbra Streisand once did on Judy’s TV show, legendarily enough.
I was mortified to even try it–especially since my singing of a Michael Jackson medley at a recent benefit was so godawful they asked me to beat it, beat it, beat it–but we ran it through as a tryout, and I hit every note!
I know this duet by heart because it’s the first thing gays learn when they come out, and I sang it with real feeling because it’s one of the all-time TV moments that moved me the most!
Well, my reading bombed, and then we launched into the duet, which I thought was doubly disgrace me. But it was quite good! In fact, I’m ready to take it on the road!
Look out for my Yentl tour.