In the best sense of the word, Bette Midler has always been a bit of a throwback, a link to a great tradition that has its spiritual roots in vaudeville, burlesque, and the smokey nightclubs where women sang torch songs. Midler’s remarkable gift of connecting with an audience emotionally has always been—and remains today—simply peerless. Though I’m a pushover for the sad moments—and there are many great performances where Bette has toyed with my heart like a cat with a mouse—I continue to enjoy her comedy and appreciate that very few young artists today can take you in either direction with such ease and confidence.
I’m sure most Stargayzing readers remember Bette’s mermaid bit (except for Lady Gaga, who claims to have no awareness of Midler’s Dolores DeLago routine, to which Bette quipped in typical Bette fashion, “If that bitch doesn’t know I’ve been doing a mermaid in a wheelchair routine for 35 years she needs to get better gays!”), but I also love her monologue from her 1977 album Live at Last, which is still funny.
You may also enjoy: Torch Song Elegy, Volume One: “The Man That Got Away”—How the Loss of a Generation of Gay Men Affected Our Ears as Well as Our Hearts
BradMarch 14, 2013 at 1:49 am
I haven’t heard this bit in years it is still very funny, she is a genious comic, Bette brought many laughs to me in earlier years. She did a comedy albumn “Mud Will Be Slung Tonight” Funny beginning to end, thanks for posting this was fun to hear again! Who doesn’t know Bette did a mermaid in a wheelchair bit; also hilarious!!!
David MunkMarch 18, 2013 at 2:18 am
Hi Brad! Well there’s no explaining what kids today know or don’t know. They just seem less curious about things that predate them, or maybe it’s just my impression. I hope you’ll sign up for my monthly newsletter on the home page, if you haven’t done it already! Cheers! David