Bridget Everett is bringing the good times to Moontower, so you best be ready
Go big or go home. That sums up the attitude that Bridget Everett brings to the stage. She's there to have a good time – make that a fan-fucking-tastic time – and whether that means shedding her clothes, brandishing a dildo, belting out a tune about tits, or coercing a patron into simulated sex, she'll do it. A singer with an enormous voice and presence that can fill every cubic inch of space in a room, Everett has been ripping up New York's alt-cabaret scene for more than a decade, winning the awestruck admiration of everyone from Amy Schumer (who's had Everett on her Comedy Central show and taken her on tour), Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz (who's in Everett's band, the Tender Moments), diva supreme Patti LuPone (who invited Everett to perform with her at Carnegie Hall recently), and the brain trust of the Moontower Comedy Festival, which brought Everett to Austin last year and invited her back for 2015.
Austin Chronicle: How long does it take you to read a room? When you go onstage, do you know right away what the crowd is going to be like?
Bridget Everett: Yes and no. It takes an audience usually like the first [song] – I sing this song to open my show called "Fuck Shit Up," and for about the first minute and a half, I can see people going, "What is about to happen?" and sort of leaning back, you know? But by the end of the song, they're usually singing along with me, and I know then if people are game. Usually people are, you know, because the spirit of the show and the spirit of the evening is for everybody to have a great time, and I mean, who doesn't want to have a good time? So it usually works out. I get a read pretty quick, 'cause in the second song, I'm right in the audience's faces. So they don't have a lot of time to decide that they don't want to be there. They're just sort of like, "Okay, we're here. Let's do it!" [Laughs.]
AC: How long have you known the folks you perform with?
BE: I've been with my band for like five years. If I hook up with somebody that I like working with, we're in it for life. [Laughs.] It's not hard for me to trust people, it's hard for me when I start working with somebody, to feel comfortable sharing my ideas, 'cause they can be so silly. One of my favorite things when I started working with Adam, who's my bass player and also known as Adam from the Beastie Boys, I'd come up with this song idea about all different kinds of titties, and I was like, "Is this silly?" And he was like, "Yeah, it's silly, but it sounds like a hit. Go home and write it." [Laughs.] So once I find somebody that has a similar wavelength, I'm never gonna let go.
AC: And one of those people is Neal Medlyn?
BE: Yeah. Do you know Neal?
AC: Well, he was in Austin for a while.
BE: Neal is like a brother to me. He really inspired me to let go. When I go absolutely hog-shit wild onstage, I learned the freedom to do that from watching Neal. There was a small show in New York that we did together for years called Automatic Vaudeville, and Neal came out and he was singing a song and he was just wearing a sweater and nothing else. No pants, no nothing. He's absolutely, 100 percent fearless. You know, people use that word a lot, and he is, to me, the definition of fearless. He's just 100 percent balls-out all the time, and I mean that in every sense of the word. Those are the kind of performers that really inspire me, you know, people who you're not ever quite sure what's going to happen? He's one of those people. I'm glad you brought him up, because I really love him. He's a great person, so that's nice, too.
AC: What does it take for you to get yourself in that place onstage?
BE: Well, I definitely have a little happy hour in the back, which is like a glass or two of chardonnay. That always helps. But honestly, I think it's just something that happens immediately when I go onstage. I'm a little bit older, so I've been scratching and clawing my way to try to become successful – and I don't mean money and all that stuff, I mean proud of the show that I'm doing. I'm constantly fighting for it. So whenever I hit the stage now, I'm so excited to be there, number one, and to be with new people, and I know that if it's not New York, then 80 percent of the people have never seen me live, so I'm excited to be there with them, and I want to give them 125 percent the moment I hit the stage. So it doesn't take too much, 'cause it's really like getting to live the dream every night. I'm fired up.
Bridget Everett appears at Moontower Thursday, April 23, 10:30pm at Velv Lounge, 521 E. Sixth; Friday, April 24, 10pm at Speakeasy, 412-D Congress; and Saturday, April 25, 10:30pm on the Google Fiber Stage, 201 Colorado. For more information, visit www.moontowercomedyfestival.com.