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Lea DeLaria

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Lea DeLaria (born May 23, 1958 at Belleville, Illinois) is a US comedian, actor, and jazz musician.

An extremely prominent figure in the world of lesbian stand-up comedy, she is noted for her raunchy persona and inflammatory, irreverent political commentary, which have proven controversial inside and outside the gay and lesbian community. Some of her comedy releases include Bulldyke in a China Shop and Box Lunch. She has also written a humorous book entitled Lea’s Book of Rules for the World.

She has also appeared in a number of films, including Edge of Seventeen, The First Wives Club and in musicals, including The Rocky Horror Show and On the Town.

Much like fellow comedienne Sandra Bernhard, DeLaria has always integrated musical performance into her stand-up comedy. However, unlike Bernhard, DeLaria focuses on traditional and modern be-bop jazz. She has even said at her shows “It is my personal goal to bring be-bop jazz back into the gay and lesbian community.” In 2002 she followed up on the goal, releasing a CD of jazz standards called “Play It Cool.”

“I’m at West Virginia University to do a show, right, and they’ve done all this fucking publicity about it…so when I get to my show, who’s waiting for me but five hundred Christian protestors with great big signs. ‘Lea DeLaria is going to hell.’ Not generic ‘gay is not good’: ‘Lea DeLaria is going to hell.’ Which is what I need five hundred strangers to tell me, like twelve years of Catholic fuckin’ school wasn’t enough, right?!”

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