Whoopi Goldberg brings her strong views to Baltimore

Politically vocal comedian-actress to perform at Lyric

  • Whoopi Goldberg brings her one-woman show to the Modell Center at the Lyric.
Whoopi Goldberg brings her one-woman show to the Modell Center… (Getty Images )
November 01, 2012|By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun

Even if Caryn Elaine Johnson had never changed her name to Whoopi Goldberg, chances are she would have made a splash. Talent will out.

The 56-year-old Goldberg, who will offer a sampling of that talent at the Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric on Saturday, has distinguished herself in a variety of endeavors. She's one of only about a dozen people who can adorn a mantelpiece with an Oscar, a Tony, a Grammy and an Emmy — make that two Emmys.

She shared one of those Emmys with fellow co-hosts of "The View," the popular daytime TV show. Goldberg has made news several times disagreeing on various issues with her colleagues and/or the guests, including Ann Romney and conservative commentator Ann Coulter in recent days.

Given that Goldberg will be appearing at in Baltimore three days before a tightened presidential race, is it safe to assume that her Baltimore show will address politics and other hot-button issues?

"It will be all of those things — plus menopause," Goldberg said. "It's an interesting combination."

Menopause? Is she having some problems dealing with that unavoidable biological development?

"It might be making this not the best time for me to be electing anybody," she said.

Nothing, though, is likely to prevent Goldberg from continuing to espouse strong opinions.

Whether the Baltimore performance turns into something akin to a Bill Maher or Lewis Black rant remains to be seen — "It depends on my mood," said Goldberg. She won't be entirely sure what she will be saying until closer to curtain time.

"I write it the day of the show," she said. "I like to be current. I've been doing it this way a long time and I'm confident in this process. It has made me smart."

If Goldberg decides to include the election in her stand-up act here, count on a critical word or two about former Gov. Mitt Romney, who visited "The View" in 2010 but has kept his distance since.

During the same Boca Raton fundraiser that contained his controversial remarks about "47 percent" of Americans being dependent on government, Romney spoke about his appearance on "The View" and how he was favorably received by Goldberg at the time. "I must have done something really wrong," Romney said.

Goldberg was not amused.

"I'm sure he wanted that remark to be funny," she said. "But he should leave that to people who actually know how to do it. He was pandering. I didn't like it."

In addition to the presidential campaign, Goldberg has something to say about a provocative topic that is dividing Marylanders — same-sex marriage.

"I would hope that in the days of separation of church and state, this would not be an issue we would be talking about," she said. "We are all American citizens, entitled to marrying anyone they love. That right was given to black people in 1967 with the Loving [v. Virginia] decision. No one said at the time that, OK, now you can marry anyone — except another man or another woman."

Goldberg paused. Even over the phone it was possible feel the trademark gaze of her eyes peering over her glasses as she added: "Except if it is a sheep. I think we can all agree that's not quite right."

Opposition to gay marriage within the black community, especially among clergy members and their congregations, does not faze Goldberg.

"Again, separation of church and state," she said. "I don't want to force you to accept my religion. That's why we're fighting the Taliban, is it not? They just shot a girl because she has been advocating intelligent choices for young girls. If this is what religion does to people who disagree, I want the separation."

Goldberg is on a roll.

"This is why some people get [annoyed] at me. But I don't care," she said. "I'm tired of people telling me what to do. I think you should be the best Catholic, Jew, Muslim, agnostic or Zoroastrian you can be. Be a good human being. That's God's will."

While others follow the old rule of talking about anything but politics and religion, Goldberg doesn't hesitate to mix the two.

"God doesn't hate anybody," she said. "In the Catholic Bible, God says, 'No one can tell you you are wrong but me. Come to me. It's me, baby.' People should mind their own business. Tend to your own house."

Although speaking her mind is part of Goldberg's persona, some people still have trouble adjusting to it. And when her stand-up shows take political turns, not everyone in the audience turns with her.

"I get protests all the time," she said. "If they're not of a mind to listen, if they want to heckle, it is not going to work out well. And some people are determined to come to the show and mess me up by sitting stone-faced. I feel bad for them. They could be somewhere else. But it doesn't matter what they're like. I have to be good."

In addition to periodic solo gigs each year, Goldberg remains committed to "The View," where the occasional testiness among the co-hosts should not cause alarm.

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