Article: Tracey Ullman's State of the Union 'Edgier' Than EverBy Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith
Jan 3, 2010
"Tracey Ullman's State of the Union" returns to Showtime Jan. 25, and look out! Fans of the multiple-Emmy-winning comedienne can expect plenty of bite in her humor along with the laughs. As one critic put it, she's been moving away from Carol Burnett territory and more toward Lenny Bruce. Ullman agrees that she has more edge.
She tells us, "I'm older and I'm an American citizen now. I think that, psychologically, that allows me to say a little bit more about society and politics -- without being afraid they're going to take my green card away." However, the southeast-England-born star adds, "I'm never mean-spirited. I love this country and I love these people and what goes on."
She also gives credit to her latest collaborator, Bruce Wagner, for making a change in what she does. Says Ullman, "He's a brilliantly funny, interesting person -- and a very good novelist. I think I owe him a lot."
Expect her to continue to take swipes at such social ills as the over-prescribing of medication. (Yes, her hilarious Padma, the Indian pharmacist who gives drug warnings in Bollywood-style production numbers, is coming back.) She'll also endeavor to make fun of today's financial problems. She claims, "It's not all gloom and doom. I'm trying to look at it in a positive way. It's certainly what's going on this year."
Ullman won't be doing an imitation of either President Obama or first lady Michelle. Though her dead-on Laura Bush imitation had jaws dropping a year ago, she hasn't added either Obama to her list of famous characters. She couldn't find any way to make either one "organic," as she puts it.
So, what are her latest favorite celebrities to impersonate at the moment? CNN's Christiane Amanpour and MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow. Because she has a goofy laugh," says Ullman, mimicking the liberal commentator perfectly. She adds, ala Maddow, "I just really admire her. I love her show, and I think she's an intelligent, fabulous woman. My whole family has a crush on her."