Comedian, actress and squeezebox squeezer Judy Tenuta has released her first book — and it’s got multiple personality disorder —or maybe her, it’s just a triple threat.
“Full Frontal Tenudity” is part-memoir, part-sex advice tome and part-cookbook. Dozens of hilarious photos of Judy — done up as famous blonds like Lohan, Gaga and Hilton — are one of the draws.
From the look of the images, Judy a.k.a. “The Love Goddess” hasn’t physically changed much — except for her hair — since we saw her on HBO and Showtime during stand-up’s ’80s heyday.
Of course, part of that could be owed to the wonders of Photoshop, she told me during a riotous chat.
Judy Tenuta: Hello-ooo, this is the Goddess!
Corey Andrew: Good morning, Judy. How are you?
Judy: I might whip out my squeeze box. I get to guess where you’re calling me from.
Corey: The phone number is Midwest, but I’m calling you from the West Coast.
Judy: Oh, you’re in the San FranCrisco area. I am good! How are you?
Corey: I’m OK. (Judy starts playing the accordion.)
Judy: I decided to whip it out, anyway.
Judy: You deserve it, honey.
Corey: Here we are in Gay Pride Month, and you just came back from a big event?
Judy: Oh, it was so much fun in Palm Springs. They dedicated a beautiful statue to me. In it, I have blond hair, and the wind is blowing up my white dress. It looks so much like me. Sometimes they call it the Marilyn statue, but it’s me. I love going to Palm Springs because I’m the youngest one there. Hello-ooo! (Sings with accordion accompaniment) ‘You’ve got to be gray, to be gay in Palm Springs today!’ If you don’t have a Hoveround, honey, you’re not getting around. I love it there. They may dedicate a star to me.
Corey: This is a little weird, but last night I had a dream that we were going to a Halloween party together.
Judy: I love it! Halloween may be my favorite holiday. In terms of fun, that’s my favorite.
Corey: We were going as the cast of ‘9 to 5,’ and I was Dolly Parton, and you were Lily Tomlin.
Judy: Oh, my God, what an honor! I love Lily and Dolly. (Judy does a Carol Channing impersonation.) ‘Put on your Sunday clothes when you feel down and out!’ Lily Tomlin is a sweetheart doll, and, Dolly, hello! We love her.
Corey: Yes, even the new parts of her.
Judy: You just had to get that in there, didn’t ya’? Are you talking about the non-moving parts? Anyway, we love her!
Corey: I got a chance to look at your book. It’s a lot of fun.
Judy: Did you love the pictures, too?
Corey: The pictures make it.
Judy: I said I want to include the pictures. You know I’m very visual. I thought they were so much fun. It is a hassle to print it. You can get it on iTunes. Eventually, we’ll do the print version.
Corey: There are some photos of you as a blond. Did you have more fun?
Judy: Yes! For a few pictures, I was Lindsay Lohan. Also, I was Paris Hilton, Lady Gaga. I have all different hair colors in there. (Knock on the door.)
Corey: Judy, can you hold on a sec?
Judy: Are you going to the bathroom? (Corey answers the door, comes back.)
Corey: Judy? Sorry about that.
Judy: You’re supposed to be interviewing me, not people on the street! Who do you think you are, Matt Lauer?
Corey: (laughs) Sorry!
Judy: Get on your knees!
Corey: I’m already down there.
Judy: I have sassy stoner snack recipes in the book!
Corey: The peanut butter bars sound fantastic.
Judy: Don’t they?
Corey: Who did you get to test to recipes?
Judy: I’ve had parties, and I serve these things! I have recipes that are easy to make: ‘Goddess Stuffed Mushrooms,’ ‘Hey Jude! Hey Jude! I Love Those Peanut Butter Bars’ and lots of fun stories — and 40 ways to breed a love slave.
Corey: You do joke about using Photoshop on these images.
Judy: When women in Hollywood say ‘I’m 40,’ it means, ‘I’m 60. Hooray for Photoshop.’ Photoshop is the greatest plastic surgeon. If you could go around in just photos, everyone would look 22. Right?
Corey: I think you still look fantastic in these photos.
Judy: Thank you. My gay friend who did some of the photos, I have to tell him, ‘Stop Photoshopping me! I don’t weigh 300 pounds. I have a good figure.’ I’ll tell you a secret, on page 154, he actually bumped up my butt. I said, ‘What are you doin’ givin’ me a Kim Lardashian butt?’ I make him show me the before and after.
Corey: You do mention in the book that in high school you were chubby.
Judy: Oh, my God, I do have a great story in there. I was 340 pounds. ‘My Big Fat Secret,’ isn’t that a great title? I destroyed all younger photos of me from 14 to 16, when I ballooned into a planet in high school.
Corey: I think some people would also be surprised that you and Bette Midler both got started performing in bath houses.
Judy: Oh, my God, that was a great one! I did the one in Chicago. I felt like the Bette Midler of Chicago.
Corey: What was your show like then?
Judy: I had to hand out a lot of towels. You take work where you can get it.
Corey: The cover is pretty wild, too.
Judy: That was in honor of Lady Gaga. That was another one where I accused him of Photoshopping. He said, ‘No, those are your thighs.’ Gee, I guess they look good.
Corey: You should keep him around.
Judy: He had to help me put all that caution tape on. With that caution tape on, I’m dressed more than most Beverly Hills housewives. They go around with just a credit card on their navel.
Corey: Have you started thinking about the follow-up to the book yet?
Judy: Not yet. I want to do another movie. A movie I’m in premieres at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre tomorrow, called ‘Gibsonburg.’ I owe you a visit in San FranCrisco. I love it there. I haven’t been there in eight months. I’m a goddess who lives in Hollywood, where there’s a two-silicon minimum. I’m the only one who doesn’t have that. One of my favorite Fourth of Julys was in San Francisco. I was at the top of a hotel and could see the fireworks all across the Bay. It was so beautiful.
Judy Tenuta’s book, ‘Full Frontal Tenudity,’ is available now on iTunes. For more on Judy, visit judytenuta.com
Corey Andrew has been interviewing comedians and writing about comedy for the last decade and a half. In 2011, he published the book, “Laugh Lines: Conversations with Comedians.”
Corey was a writer and performer with Midwest sketch troupe, The NonProphets, before moving to the Bay Area with his family a few years ago. If you have ideas for future columns about comedy, you can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him at twitter.com/coreywrites.