Presenting: Lea DeLaria at TEDxBroadway 2014
One of the presenters we’re excited about catching up with at TEDxBroadway this year is comedian, actress and jazz musician Lea DeLaria. You might have seen her this year playing prison inmate Carrie “Big Boo” Black on Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black or heard her version of “All That Jazz” on FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance.
The Guardian said she “talks like a coffee grinder, and sounds like a cross between Ella Fitzgerald and a Broadway diva.” DeLaria’s outspoken about her sexuality but soft-spoken on the mic singing jazz and pop standards.
As a stand-up comedian for over 25 years, DeLaria’s accomplished a lot of firsts. In 1993, she was the first openly gay comic to appear on a late-night talk show when she declared, “I’m a bi-i-i-i-ig dyke!” on The Arsenio Hall Show. That year, she also hosted the first all-gay stand-up comedy special, Comedy Central’s Out There.
Since then, she’s done a little bit of everything: a book (Lea’s Book of Rules for the World), soap opera (One Life to Live), Broadway (The Rocky Horror Show) and film (The First Wives Club). She’s known to throw a song or two in her comedy sets as she tries to, as she puts it, “bring be-bop jazz back into the gay and lesbian community.” But her CDs, from Play It Cool to The Live Smoke Sessions, appeal to everybody.
Here’s a sample of DeLaria blending comedy and song onstage in “I Can Cook Too” on The Rosie O’Donnell Show — and make sure to get your TEDxBroadway tickets today!