(May 23, 1958 - living) U.S.A.
Comedian, actress, singer and writer
Born in Belleville, Illinois. She was seen in the 2000 Broadway revival of "The Rocky Horror Show" as two male characters, Eddie/Dr. Scott.
She was also seen on Broadway in On The Town , from which she sang the song "I Can Cook, Too" on the Broadway Leading Ladies show.
She was the first openly gay comic to appear on national television (Arsenio Hall Show, 1993. See picture). Lea said:
"It's a cosmic joke that I'm a lesbian because I understand men so completely and women are a total mystery to me. ... Women are the most confusing, annoying people in the world."
Lea DeLaria started doing stand-up in San Francisco in April 1982, though she performed under a stage name for the first two years of her career. "I called myself the Fuckin' Dyke," DeLaria explained to BuzzFeed. "I wasn't even Lea DeLaria... I was the Fuckin' Dyke. It was like a persona. They'd say 'Welcome to the stage, the Fuckin' Dyke.' In 1982, in San Francisco, I couldn't walk down the street without someone yelling 'fucking dyke' at me. I thought, 'if they're gonna call me that, why not call myself that?'"
DeLaria quickly gained a reputation - and a following - for being an out, proud, rageful ("Let me be clear: I wasn't angry, I was rageful"), and hilarious comic and actor. For over a decade, she was a mainstay at queer clubs and pride events, and she saw some success in mainstream venues.
On March 30, 1993, DeLaria made history as the first openly gay comic to perform a set on television when she appeared on The Arsenio Hall Show. "I said the word dyke or fag or queer 47 times in the nine minutes I was on the show," she told Vulture. "That would be during the four and a half minutes of stand-up and five minutes on the couch."
Before the performance, DeLaria thought, "'This'll be the one time I'm gonna fucking bomb.' I'm gonna walk out and say 'It's hip to be queer and I'm a big dyke' and there's gonna be crickets... But instead, it was cheers. It was shocking to me because we hadn't packed the audience, we hadn't done anything, but we just got the right audience, and they screamed at everything I said... It was awesome."
Months later, in a Los Angeles Times piece about her and Kate Clinton having "fought the homophobia of the comedy world and broken into the stand-up of mainstream," DeLaria said, "When I walked out on 'Arsenio' - this big, butch dyke - of course it was great for the gay community, because there was a visible, viable comedian."
- Out there (1993)
- Further tales of the city (2001)
- The First Wives Club (1996)
- Plum fiction (1997)
- Edge of seventeen (1998)
- Homo Heights (1998)
- Mercury In Retrograde (2002)
- Lea's book of rules (2000)
- Bulldyke in a China shop (1994)
- Box Lunch (1997)
- Plat it cool (2001)