Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Whoopi in Deptford

In May 1984 Whoopi Goldberg was on the verge of international fame, though she didn't yet know it. In October '84 her one woman stand up show started on Broadway, where she was seen by Stephen Spielberg and asked to star in his film The Color Purple, released the following year.

But in May she was trying out her material in London, in no less a venue that the Albany Empire in Deptford. In the audience that night was Angie Le Mar, who was inspired to take up comedy herself:

'When I was 14, I attended a Whoopi Goldberg show at the Albany Empire, and was totally blown away. At that time, there weren't any black female stand-up comics in the UK, so Whoopi became my mentor, inspiring me to become the first one. Her show was very hard-hitting. She made no apologies for her humour or the controversial topics she covered, which I thought was incredible. As Whoopi's career progressed, her versatility, combining stand-up comedy with acting, again inspired me to do both, rather than make a choice between one or the other' (Independent, 20 November 2006).

(poster by Colin Bodiam from his fine collection of silk-screened posters)

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