Elvira Kurt was voted Funniest Female Comedian at the Canadian Comedy Awards and received a Gemini nomination for her one hour comedy special Elvira Kurt: I'm a Big Girl Now. That special also nabbed the Gold Award at the Worldfest International Film Festival. Kurt starred in The Comedy Network series Elvira Kurt: Adventures in Comedy, has performed live in the Vagina Monologues and many times at Montreal's prestigious Just For Laughs Comedy Festival. The Second City Alumnus has had years of comedic success in Canada and the U.S. She has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and her comedy specials have aired on Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime, CTV, CBC and The Comedy Network.
When I told my partner of 16 years, hey, I'm interviewing Elvira Kurt, this was our conversation:
"Oh, I like her."
"Did you go with me to see her?"
"No, her TV show. Wait a minute." (Maurice is really paying attention now.) "You saw her?"
"What does she look like? I must have the wrong Elvira!"
"She's a standup comic...lesbian..."
By the silence of non-recognition, I knew Maurice was referring to the Elvira with the boobs -- Mistress of the Dark.
"...Like I'd want to interview that one!"
Sorry, Elvira. This interview won't get me points at home unless it was with some horror mistress. Am I the only person who has people in their life who get you mixed up with the other Elvira? When I told Maurice I am telling on him, he goes, "Knock it off! I don't want my life online." Does your partner mind when you squeal on her to the world? Actually that's Maurice's term for it!
Elvira: First of all, she always comes out better in the joke than I do but she also thinks she 'writes' all my jokes. The truth is, she pushed two babies out of her body and that's quite the trump card in any dispute.
So how is my favourite "fellagirly"?
Elvira: Ah, yes, 'fellagirly'... so quaint to me now. That's a punchline to one of my earliest jokes after I chose to come out in my act once I had already come out in my life. It always got a great response and it was a way to describe myself that would be accessible to straight crowds. In the 20 years since then I've outgrown both that term and worrying about how an audience will handle me/my jokes. I will always think of my 'fellagirly' period fondly, as if it were the "early Bieber" phase of my career, you know? Bieber when he was shiny and new, all innocent before he started wearing weird tank top dresses, spitting on people and getting into trouble with his monkey. But to answer your question directly, I'm fine. You?
That answer was worth the risk of going into the vault. Bieber's "dresses" bother me more than his wishing Anne Frank was a "belieber." And I'm fine...thanks for asking. My partner and I were just at a party and this straight woman kept telling us how important it was that we get married. My response, "Don't want your problems hun" didn't quite get the response I was hoping for. LOL. You and your partner, Chloe, got married. How is wedded bliss?
Elvira: Bliss? Are you confusing being married with taking ecstasy? It's an easy mistake since it eventually wears off either way...
Is it my imagination or do you rarely talk about sex? This is not a complaint! I'm "Carrie Bradshaw" to my best friend's "Samantha Jones" -- I guess that's why I noticed! Let me guess, you're more like Miranda?
Elvira: Good question... I don't avoid sex as a topic on purpose so maybe it's because I'm always fully clothed when I write. You know what? You've just inspired me to write in the nude. I predict that I will either have much to show for it or precious little but I won't care... Either way, thanks, Donald!
It's Wednesday. Hump day. You're welcome. Do you ever still get, "I can tell that you're a lesbian"? The version I get is the biggest yawn of my life!
Elvira: Now that I'm a lesbian dad with two children the question I get a lot more of is, "They let you have kids?"
Are you spiritual? Do you throw stones, buy crystals, understand scientology or call psychic hot lines?
Elvira: I am very spiritual when I need something, I prefer to skip stones, I buy crystallized sugar, I enjoy mocking Scientology to no end and what kind of '90s reference are you slinging here, buddy, with your 'psychic hot lines'? I get my future tweeted to me from @MadameISeeGulliblePeople... you can't beat an accuracy rate of 50 per cent, right?
Sorry JoJo's 1-900 psychic hotline commercials was seared into my brain. Are you political...I mean what's your take on Canadian vs. U.S. politics?
Elvira: I'm queer so my very existence is political. I did live in the U.S. for 10 years and even became a dual citizen so that I could always work there freely. The key word is 'dual'. I would never give up being Canadian for anything. It's not just the greatest country in the world -- it's a big part of my identity. Americans are like hairless cats, they exist but they don't make much sense.
Forget North American politics. You are coming back to my hometown June 8 for a show at The Grand Theatre. Are you aware that London is a hotbed of controversy? Well, so my Facebook thread keeps telling me. And I'm not talking about throwing midgets or little people (I state that to cover all bases...some of my friends dislike referring to "midgets" and other dislike using "little people." Which is another issue -- how do you navigate the politically correct waters?)
Elvira: Oh, London. You remind me of my seven-year-old who has this worry first thing every morning before school, "Are people going to like me today?" I wish London would relax a bit, stop trying so hard. You got the gig, you're a booming city and we see you, OK? You're already at the party so be cool, go get a drink and stop talking about being at the party... Sheesh.
Yup. That's how I thought you'd navigate. God, you're good. By the way, I'm sure glad we haven't heard of any more feet in the mail. But you are better connected. Have you?
Elvira: Not yet. But it's still early in the season.
I read somewhere you liked Rosalind Russell in that nun story with Hayley Mills. But what about the masterpiece His Girl Friday? Come to think of it, I never imagined you as a His Girl Friday type yet you are Jian Ghomeshi's girl Friday in your weekly guest spot Fridays on Q when you do the "Cultural Hall of Shame" segment. Thoughts?
Elvira: Jian is Rosalind Russell, absolutely.
I knew it!!!
Elivra: I am so happy to be his Mary Wickes. And we both enjoy cruising Hayley Mills circa Trouble With Angels. See what happens now that I'm writing in the nude? All I can think about is sex. Bad Donald, bad blogger...
Ha! Speaking of Q, I attended your live appearance on his show at the Grand Theatre. You know what's funny about that. Back then the biggest controversy involving our mayor was his using the word "bullshit" to answer one of Jian's questions.
Elvira: That's bullshit! And, again, see London, re: lighten up.
Does London really love their gay people? I know you've said that. Perhaps you really had a good time when you worked that one summer at Second City here...
Elvira: London is totally gay. It just doesn't know it yet.
Are you surprised by your success?
Elvira: I'm always surprised by how much success I've had considering, a) I look and act the exact opposite of the way women in this business are supposed to in order to be valued, marketed and desired and, b) that I've assiduously avoided promoting myself my entire career. That's something. But... I'm 51 years old now and I also know that I am really fucking good at what I do and I'm fearless in owning that.
Oh, one more thing -- I love your name. I know it means fair, blonde haired, even white but I love this definition I found: Elvira comes from the Germanic word meaning "elf counsel"! Wow, was your name ever prophetic!
Elvira: Yes. Elves love me. They think I'm the best elf lawyer there is. Just don't tell the fairies, they hate to share.