We Profile Lea DeLaria for Pinksixty Entertainment:

“Butch on the streets, butch in the sheets. Butch driving a car, butch riding a bike. Butch walking down the street. Butch sitting on this stool. Butch!”

“My entire life has been trying to put a positive spin on what it is to be butch.”

Best known to younger audiences for her role as Big Boo in Orange Is The New Black, Lea DeLaria started out as a proud, stand up lesbian comic called ‘That Fucking Dyke’ back in 1982.

In 1986, she directed the “Ten Percent Revue”, a musical about being gay, which toured the US.

In 1993, she became the first openly lesbian comic to appear on late-night US TV, performing on the Arsenio Hall Show and was criticised for calling herself a ‘dyke’.

That same year she hosted Comedy Central’s first ever exclusively gay stand up special, called ‘Out There’.

“And it’s not that I don’t like penises. I just don’t like them on men.”

In 1987, DeLaria began touring with her own musical comedy, ‘Dos Lesbos’, followed by ‘Girl Friday’, winning the 1989 ‘Golden Gull’ for Best Comedy Group in Provincetown.

In 1998, she appeared Off-Broadway in Paul Rudnick’s ‘The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told’, “a gay retelling of the Bible, going on to critical acclaim with her portrayal of Hildy Esterhazy in the 1998 Broadway revival of ‘On the Town’.

“Let’s go to my place.”

In 2001 she released a CD of jazz standards called ‘Play It Cool’,  followed by the album ‘Double Standards’ in 2003 and ‘The Very Best of Lea DeLaria’.

In 2008, Warner Records released ‘The Live Smoke Sessions’, focused on 20th-century classics and in November that same year, she completed a tour of Australia.

Following almost a decade, sporadically playing the part of Delphina in ABC daytime drama, ‘One Life to Live’, her character came out as a lesbian in 2009.

“If that’s another reality series, I’m gonna sell my TV.”

In 2013, DeLaria took on the role of Carrie ‘Big Boo’ Black in Netflix’ original series, Orange is the New Black.

“But here’s ‘Boo’, who is the biggest, baddest, butches dyke in the prison and she’s also the smartest person in the room.”

In 2015, she received the Equality Illinois Freedom Award for her work as ‘a cutting-edge performer’.

“It’s amazing what we can do as a community when we put our minds and our hearts and our voices together.”

That same year, she released a new collection of songs called ‘House of David’, derived from David Bowie’s back catalogue.

And in 2017 Lea voiced the character of Miss Fritter in Disney Pixar’s ‘Cars 3’.

“Looky here boys”

DeLaria’s latest US tour began in October 2017.

 

 

More: A Concise History of Gay Cinema