MargOH! Channing and MAN-ee Champagne are two delightful queens bringing fermented realness from New York to Edinburgh this August for a late-night run at The Laughing Horse. James T Harding caught up with the 2014 MAC Nominee for Best Drag Artist and her pals for a quick gin and chat. And another few gins after that.
I do believe your readers will enjoy the many stories of… shall we say, unfortunate or untimely choices MargOH! has made. If only I had known some of these stories back when she was stuffing my g-string with $50’s in the Gaiety days.
Tell us about the show.
MargOH!: "James darling, thank you so much for having this quickie interview and the Tipsy crew loves Broadway Baby.
"MargOH! Channing is Tipsy is written with my collaborator BT Shea and co-stars my “gayiance” MAN-ee Champagne; we’ve been together twenty years but for some reason have been unable to seal the deal… so to speak. We also have joining us on the keys the fabulous Curtis Reynolds, he is cute as a button and frankly a bit of competition for MAN-ee!
"Tipsy is my life story, it tells the tale of my humble beginnings growing up the daughter of a poor fishmonger from Bangor, Maine to the heights of becoming a Russ Meyer player, he produced and directed sexploitation films in the 60’s and 70’s.
"I was discovered tending bar at my Aunt Trudie’s saloon on Delancey Street in New York City. He took one look at my triple E’s and said he had a part especially for us, so, James, I grabbed my mini and make-up bag and was out the door. Russ gave me the name Alania Capri and the rest was history.
"James, darling, this is what Tipsy is about, my stories mixed with original songs, comedy and what I like to call sloshy standards. BT has written a great show and I am thrilled to get to perform it in Edinburgh. It’s a perfect show to sit back and enjoy a pint or five. I’ll have had five pre-show so the audience will have to catch up with the old gal.
"It’s not always easy looking back on your life and recounting the choices you’ve made and boy have I made some bad ones do you know if I’d blown… OH! well maybe that is a little bit risqué for print so everyone will have to come see what that choice was about. MAN-ee can you fetch my martini, darling!"
MAN-ee: "The Ginman hasn’t been round to deliver yet. I’m afraid it’s olives and Pinot Grigio for breakfast today, darling. I’m sure you’ll make do. I do believe your readers will enjoy the many stories of… shall we say, unfortunate or untimely choices MargOH! has made. If only I had known some of these stories back when she was stuffing my g-string with $50’s in the Gaiety days."
MargOH!: "Just get the Pinot before I stuff your g-sting with something else!"
I know that you are a prolific film extra. Which appearance are you most proud of and why?
MargOH!: "Yes, after my sexploitation career ended I had to do something and my wardrobe mistress came up with the idea of me doing something that had never been done before: become a legendary film extra. I said “Hey, you know you are right, no one had ever done that before,” so I set a goal and damn it I did it!
"I’ve been in some 1,700 films including, The Planet of The Apes, The Attack of the Killer Tomatos (1-5) and most recently I played Zombie Gal #6 in The Walking Dead.
"I think my favorite part though was playing Shelly Winter’s body double in The Poseidon Adventure. Though that’s how I gained a bit of weight, whole fried chickens they were feeding me. I just loved being in the water and to be part of such an iconic scene was amazing, I mean who will ever forget Shelly swimming and for me the best part, her having a heart attack.
"To be honest she wasn’t the nicest woman, but she did let me into Gene Hackman’s dressing room for a little bit of fun if you know what I mean. There are perks to being an extra!"
What tips did you learn from your time running a cabaret theatre in Bangkok that would be of use to those running fringe venues in Edinburgh?
MargOH!: "That’s an easy one! Never let anyone shoot off pyrotechnics especially in a small space like my place was. I had a 25-seat cabaret bordello escort service called Trudie’s One Hit Wonder Cabaret and Pussy Palace. My last performer was Charlene, you remember her, ‘Hey lady , you lady’, what was that song? ‘Never been to Me’. Charlene demanded she use sparklers and rainbow fireworks and the place went up in flames in five minutes… I told her my pussy palace was too tight for her pyrotechnics but, James, you live and learn, you live and learn…"
MAN-ee: "I honestly would have thought that Right Said Fred would have been the biggest troublemaking act to come through your Pussy. You really do live and learn."
What is your least favourite showtune and why?
MargOH!: "OH! James are you trying to get me in trouble? Good!
I’d have to say ‘Mr. Mistoffelees’ from Cats. Quite frankly I never understood that show at all. I mean do you know what she wanted a memory for? I was trying to forget that show as soon I left. Though I have to say I did like ‘Rum Tum Tugger’ because it made me thirsty for a Rum and Coke…"
Thank you, MargOH! and MAN-ee, you are truly a delight to interview!
Twitter: @margohchanning @thetipsyshow