Friday, April 4, 2008

Tracey In Parade!

In Step With...Tracey Ullman
By James Brady
Published: April 6, 2008

She’s funny and audacious, and she has seven Emmy Awards to prove it. Just try to interview Tracey Ullman without breaking up in laughter as she riffs in hilarious dialects and take-offs.

In fact, the only time Tracey played it straight when I interviewed her recently was when the British-born entertainer told me why she’d become an American citizen. “I married here, have a career here, and I wanted to be able to vote here,” said Ullman. “I have more confidence now in making fun of America because I’m a citizen. On the day I took the oath, they showed us a film of American historical high points, and we even got a message from Mr. Bush.”

She then proceeded to characterize Bush as “the kind of guy you want to go to the barbecue with.”

Far from a shrinking violet, Ullman has been further emboldened by her American citizenship: Last Sunday, she launched her latest sketch-comedy series, Tracey Ullman’s State of the Union, on Showtime.

This new program is a one-woman show because, as she cracked, “We can’t afford a sidekick.” But it will have action. “We’re getting around America in a day in brief snapshots. There isn’t anyone I won’t impersonate: Cameron Diaz, David Beckham, RenĂ©e Zellweger, an Indian pharmacist, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.”

What, no Hillary or Obama? “I didn’t find anything to use about her, but I did try,” said Tracey. “And I’d love to do Barack. Lately, the political scene has become more entertaining than anything else in entertainment.”

And does British-born Ullman still make fun of the royal family? “Since 1914, they’ve been pretty much a publicity stunt, and they’re a soap opera now,” said the comedienne. “Princess Margaret used to be good to make fun of. Prince William already is losing his hair. As he gets older, I like Charles for his work on the environment and architecture. But there’s not much chance of my ever being made a Dame of the Empire. I’m a character actor and will probably be doing this until I’m 90. I am a bossy old bag.”

Would she ever hesitate to make fun of celebs? “No. They’re all real people, and I have a right to impersonate them,” said Tracey, “to hope for controversy and some bloody scandal! But look at the papers. It’s too easy. Girls in the back of cars without their panties. In ways, I feel sorry for them. Why don’t the media pick on the boys as well?”

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