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This Is Your Life

Gold hosts Goldberg in 92nd Street Y chat about her experiences and views

By Cristina Merrill / Jester correspondent

Whoopi Goldberg walked the fine line between comedy and tragedy during a Feb. 17 onstage conversation with comedian Judy Gold (see review, 7/29/09) at the 92nd Street Y. Calm, cool, and collected throughout the night, Goldberg spoke about many of her experiences, both personal and professional, which made for a fascinating and insightful talk. Gold beautifully facilitated the event, managing to be funny and engaging without taking over the show or infringing on Goldberg’s speaking time.   

Gold opened up the conversation by bringing up a recent New York Times article “Hollywood’s Whiteout,” which mentioned several black Oscar winners, minus Goldberg and a few others.  Gold brushed aside the notion that Goldberg may not be “black enough for the New York Times.” [Goldberg had taken offense at the story omitting her.] “We Jews are happy to claim her,” Gold said, adding that there is nothing more Jewish than the name “Goldberg.”

Goldberg talked about one of the odd jobs she had after dropping out of high school -- putting makeup on dead people. While it was not the easiest thing to do, especially when children were involved, she described this particular gig as a “loving job.” She spoke about the time she spent on welfare and scoffed at people who look down upon those who receive it. “There are assholes everywhere,” Goldberg said. “There are fucking assholes everywhere,” Gold said, agreeing with her.

True to her outspoken, activist ways, Goldberg spoke in favor of legalizing marijuana and gay marriage. “Pot smokers don’t get in their cars and drive,” she said, adding that they are either too enamored of the refrigerator or themselves, or they have fallen asleep. Speaking about her support of gay marriage, Goldberg noted that she herself has been married several times, and while she is not a fan of the institution, she supports those who are. “What do I care if you want to get married and ruin your life?” she said. “My feeling is that if you don’t like gay marriage, don’t marry a gay person.” She pointed out that interracial marriage was against the law when she was a child. “There are so many things to be freaked out about,” she said. “This is not one of them.”

Goldberg also answered questions from the audience. What advice would she have given herself back when she first gained fame?  (“Have a good time and enjoy it.”) Her greatest accomplishment? (“Surviving my own bullshit.”) Who would she want with her if she was stranded on a desert island?  (“My cat, cause he could find shit to eat.”) She talked about her experiences and co-stars on “The View.” She described her co-star Elisabeth Hasselbeck as a great mom and woman. “I really dig her,” she said. Although Hasselbeck’s beliefs make Goldberg’s “eyes twirl and vice versa,” she said, “it’s alright to disagree.” In fact, one of the biggest difficulties of “The View,” Goldberg said, is when she has to feign interest in topics she could not care less about, such as “Dancing With the Stars” and Charlie Sheen’s problems. 

Goldberg also spoke well of co-star Barbara Walters, who she is “blown away” by. “You don’t get to meet many firsts in your life,” she said of the pioneering broadcast journalist. The evening may not have been packed with rip-roaring laughs, but it was excellent all the same. Goldberg is a multifaceted person who has clearly lived, and is still living, a very interesting life. Mad props go to Gold, a respected performer in her own right who has her own commanding presence. She was a gracious facilitator who allowed one of her personal heroes to have the stage. Goldberg is outspoken, but also very down to earth. Not everyone may agree with everything she has to say, but she is okay with that.




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