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Hey bitches! It's me, the big fat dyke. You know what I do. You know who I am. So just start fucking asking questions.
Victoria's helping me out today. AMA.
Sorry guys, gotta go now. Wish I could've gotten to all of your questions. But I got a hot date waitin.'
Don't forget about "House of David" tomorrow - available for downloads on iTunes.
Okay - see you bitches at the Cubbyhole!
You were so amazing in Season 3. I especially loved your relationship with Pennsatucky. What did you most enjoy about those scenes together?
That I get to work with Taryn Manning.
She's very cool and talented. Very giving, as an actor. In fact, we hang out quite a bit off the set as well.
How do you find playing such a butch lesbian in such a successful show despite being a straight woman?
Absolutely loved you in the new season!
Hi Lea! Thanks for doing this AMA. More importantly, thanks for being your wild, wonderful self, in real life as a celebrity (I mean I don't know you personally, who knows, you could be really quiet and demure) and on TV. I honestly can't think of any other butch characters I've seen on TV or in movies (outside the LGBT genre anyway) who hasn't been some macho caricature or been "feminized" or met with some terrible end.
As a butch lesbian, it's so nice to FINALLY see someone who looks like me on TV - someone who isn't solely there to be the butt of a joke, but is a human with both flaws and good traits. Even most LGBT-geared media shows - including The L Word - depict nothing but "lipstick lesbians" or femme tomboys.
I really enjoyed learning more of Boo's back story during season 3 of OITNB. As a baby butch, so much of the story - parental pressure to conform to a feminine ideal, the street harassment, the swagger and anger used as a defense against the 'phobic world - really resonated with me, because most of those things have happened to me, too.
I see elsewhere in this AMA that you say that the Boo/Carrie character was heavily informed by your personality and mannerisms, so I'm curious to know how much of Boo's back story was directly informed by your own life. Did you share your own experiences with the writers while that episode was being written?
I hope this question reaches you and isn't buried under the comments of a thousand adoring fans. Thanks again for visiting us on Reddit today!
PS. My new favorite Big Boo line/scene is "A very hetero hello to all of you." I laughed so hard I cried!
Everyone likes that line!
I'm partial to "Lord of the Lesbians."
I feel like I've answered this question already, but since you took the time to write it, I'll answer as well: it's not unusual to think that those things just happened to you, because Butch Lesbians have a shared life experience. In fact, all those things happened to me as well. And to every Butch dyke out there.
I remember seeing BOYS DON'T CRY when Brandon went to the next town, to roller skate at their roller rink disguised as a boy. I did that. And a lot of Butches I know did that as well.
So - are you as brash and outspoken in real life as you are in the show? Because I kinda love that about your character. <3
Thanks for being here today!
No, I'm very shy and demure.
And actually, I'm heterosexual and married to a really nice man.
We have 2 kids, a collie, and a station wagon!
The reason I enjoy OITNB so much is because it's "feminist" in a really basic and satisfying way. I LOVE that the women in the show rarely, if ever, wear "TV makeup" and are stuck in institutional clothes; you see them as they truly are. I also think OINTB gives trans/queer/lesbian/bisexual women a unique opportunity to show what it's like without softening much for the TV audience.
Do you feel like you're given a chance to be yourself within the confines of Carrie? Do you feel like OITNB gives a fair shake to marginalized groups?
Well, of course I am Carrie. Which I've already said. The part is written for me, so I am completely and utterly Carrie Black. The only difference is that I never got caught doing anything against the law, so I'm not in jail.
Do I think they're given a fair shake? That's a strange way of putting it. I think it's the most ardent, feminist, pro-queer programming that has ever hit television in the history of television.
Hi! I just graduated from High Point University, and I went to your show there a couple months ago and LOVED it. I just wanted to tell you how much we all appreciated that you stayed to take pictures with the whole audience! There aren't a lot of celebrities who do that.
That said, here's my question: What's the strangest thing that somebody's ever said to you at a meet and greet?
"Sign my boob."
Of course I signed it! HA! I'm going to say no to that?!?
Is Taryn Manning as huggable in real life as she is on TV? She's the cutest little meth head ever.
Honestly? You can't help but wanna hug Taryn Manning. She's adorable.
What does Natasha Lyonne's hair smell like?
Her dog, Root Beer.
Her dog's name is Root Beer. So I'm going to say her hair smells like her dog.
(I'm saying that to be funny. But I'll probably get a text from her in a few minutes).
What is your advice for baby dykes who arent fully out/ comfortable with themselves yet? thanks for being an inspiration :)
The first thing you have to know is that you don't have to do anything unit you're ready to do it - no matter WHAT these bullies in our community might say.
When you're ready to come out, come out.
But until then, love yourself, and learn to be comfortable in your own skin.
That's the most important thing.
Hey, I fucking love you. I follow you on Instagram and your rad life perks me up when I'm feelin blue. My question for you is what kinda snacks you guys workin with on the set of OITNB? Are we talking kit kats and gatorade or are we talking pizza and capri suns? I ask because I just think snacks are important.
PS I'm about to write #totescunt on my toaster strudel with icing.
Edit: will take pics.
Edit 2: nvm I ate the last one yesterday. Sorry.
We're talking pussy.
HA HA HA HA HA HA!
That is brilliant.
Hello Lea, what are some tips to becoming a professional womanizer? And what's your perfect sandwich?
Lots of booze. Lots of money. Lots of slaps in the face.
You had me going until you said station wagon. They don't make those anymore, all those suburban families drive SUVs. :-)
Please forgive me, I'm a lot older than you.
And I'll take a 1960's station wagon over an SUV any fuckin' day!
How was having the clown makeup on for the Mother's Day scene? It seemed like it wasn't smudged in the slightest!
It was so much fun.
Taryn and I would talk and laugh between takes, and this particular day, she kept looking away, she wouldn't look at me, I knew she was doing something very emotional and she wouldn't look at me. So Andrew McCarthy (the director) came out and said "Why are you being so quiet, Taryn?" and Taryn said "I can't look at Lea, otherwise I'll start laughing!"
It was great.
And then we all started laughing. It took us a really long time to finish, because we couldn't stop laughing about the makeup.
Thank you for doing this! Loved the new season. I felt like the 3rd was almost a build up season for an explosive 4th season. Do you agree? What are your thoughts on the next season?
Season 3 has only be on the air for 10 days.
And you are seriously trying to get spoilers for season 4 already?
Here's what I can tell you about season 4. I'm in it, and it comes out sometime next year.
is there any character on the show that you just can't stand?
Sam Healey. I think he's a jerk.
They keep trying to give him good qualities, but he always does something that pisses me off!
And of course, who liked Vee? (Except for Crazy Eyes)
Hi Lea! I'm no expert on LGBTQIA+ culture but I've had conversations with friends recently where they told me that "Butch" is no longer as much of a "thing" (I guess) as it used to be. What does the Butch identity mean to you and how do you think it plays into Boo's character, especially considering what we learned about her in Season 3?
Well, the "Butch" identity isn't what it used to be, because "Butch" is still considered to be a pariah within the gay community. Nelly Fags and Butch Dykes are ostracized by their own people. As a result, a lot of Butches have just gone into hiding.
My entire career has been trying to put a positive face on Butch. In other words, don't judge a Butch by its cover.
Is that man that lovely pastor?
HILARIOUS. You got me there.
I guess you could see the love between us in our scene. Even though I tried to push a table over on top of him.
Hi Lea! Thanks so much for doing this AMA…my fiancée and I met on an OITNB fan page on Facebook, so we’re obviously huge fans of the show. I never thought I'd be thankful for someone going to prison and writing a book about it, haha!
My question to you is—what’s your favorite Big Boo quote? And who’s the sexiest girl in the cast, in your opinion? (don’t answer that if it’ll get you in trouble with your girl, lol)
What, you've only been together for 3 years, and already engaged? Don't tell me - let me guess - lesbians...?
The sexiest girl on the show is me, what the fuck do you think?!
And my favorite quote - oh my god - it's so hard! I'm going to go with "Lord of the Lesbians." I think "Stop with the clitterference."
You’re probably expecting a flood of OITNB questions, so apologies for being unoriginal and adding to that, but - were you surprised when you read the season 3 scripts and found out that Boo’s teasing and messing around with Tucky would turn into more of a genuine friendship? Were their scenes together as fun to film as they were to watch? I thought their relationship was really adorable, and really liked the almost big-sisterly aspect of it. Watching the first two seasons I never thought of Boo as a good candidate for being a good influence over someone else, but it worked so well!
Well, that's because of our writers.
You see, it's not up to US to think of things, that's what they do.
And they're very good at it. They just keep surprising people.
I think what happened was they saw the camaraderie and friendship that Taryn and I have as human beings? It came across on the screen. So I think they just kept writing for us.
And as to whether or not I thought it was going to happen - I don't think I'm the only person in the cast who feels that way, the whole cast feels like they have no idea what's going to happen, the writers are SO good at what they do!
What was it like working with the dog on set in Orange Is The New Black? Had you worked with animals on set before?
Well, I don't work with the dog anymore. The dog was just in the first season.
Avery was her real name. She was a puppy, so all she wanted to do was eat and sleep. Usually, at the point she was supposed to be acting. We have a lot of outtakes of me trying to push the dog into the scene...very funny.
And I've worked with animals many times, most particularly in EDGE OF 17, if you've seen that movie, my character in the movie had a pug dog, and literally the dog in the movie was my dog.
I have sort of a crush on your character. Does this mean I actually have a crush on you?
And I can be found at the Cubbyhole in New York City almost every single night.
West 4th and 12th street. It's a LOT OF fun. Little dive bar.
Huge fan of the show and you! What has been your favorite scene from all three seasons to film and what would you have as your last meal?
Well, the sex scene in season 3, episode 4. I thought it was a very important scene for people to see a dildo being used the way a dildo is used.
My last meal would be a big rare steak. Wait a minute!
Let's have more fun with this.
My last meal would be Laura Prepon.
What is your strangest interaction with a fan?
It would have to be the first time I was asked to sign a screwdriver.
They had a sharpie and everything, came running out of the Ace Hardware on the corner in Bushwick where I live, about 48 hours after the first season dropped, screaming "BIG BOO, BIG BOO, sign my screwdriver!"
I signed it! And I said "Have you finished the entire season?" and she said "Yeah!"
Back then, I didn't know this was normal, but she watched 13 episodes in 48 hours!
When you started acting, could you possibly have anticipated that shows like Orange would emerge to give you real material to work with, or were you somewhat resigned to playing "Comic Relief Butch Dyke #1" and collecting a paycheck? What role other than Boo are you most proud of? Also, St. Louis metro area represent.
Mmmmph! That's great.
Yeah, because I was playing "Comic Relief Butch Dyke #1" so often, I started basically turning those roles down. I was sick of them. And I would only play the part if she was written realistically. For example, the role i played in CALIFORNICATION.
When I started out acting in 1993, did I anticipate that something like ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK would exist?
FUCK no! Who the hell knows that's going to happen!?!
Yay St. Louis! Go Cardinals!
I might consider moving back to NYC just to meet you and give you a big smooch!
You don't have to move here to do that. Just fly out!
Hey Lea! If you could have any superpower , what would it be, AND , did you have any hand in the character design and development for big boo, like did you add any personal touches to her story or anything ? Love what you do, you're an inspiration
I would like to be Whale-Woman. Okay?
Like a whale, okay?
Which means I would have an 8-foot-tongue and breathe through a whole in the top of my head.
Hi Lea! In what ways are you and Boo different and the same?
Well, I am Boo.
They wrote the part for me, so every time I have to utter a line, it's so simple, because it's something I would say myself.
Hi Lea! How was you experience working on the Friends set? Were they friendly or did they very much keep a distance?
Also, i read you were 57 in the Daily Beast interview and i couldn't believe it. You definitely have a much younger energy!
Well, I have a much younger energy because you are what you eat!
The FRIENDS set was great. Really, really great. Lisa Kudrow was especially lovely. And she would laugh at anything I said. It was my first experience of working with a really nice star.
You are awesome. Thanks for doing this.
Are all of Boo's tattoos yours? I figure that some of the tatts on other characters may not be real, but could see where yours could all be.
Until season 3, I was the only one whose tatts were real.
Not just SOME of them. They're all mine. Everyone else's were painted on. Now Lori Petty is on the show, and Ruby Rose is on the show, and they both have tons of tattoos that are all real.
Hi Lea! Big fan of the show and your work! My friends and I just can't get enough of the relationship that your character has developed with Doggett this season and love how genuine it feels! Hoping that next season has more Pennsatucky/Big Boo adventures! Also loved your cameo in First Wives Club - probably one of my favorite scenes from that movie! My question is, out of all the projects you have worked on, what has been your favorite?
When i starred in the Broadway revival of ON THE TOWN. And Jesse Tyler Ferguson played my boyfriend, Chip. Truly fun and wonderful experience. It was my first Broadway show, and I'll never forget it.
Who do you see Big Boo getting into a relationship with at Litchfield?
Oh please. What am I, stupid?
She's the fucking star of the show! Then I get to be in every scene!
At least they didn't ask you to sign their golden ~~retriever~~ Lab.
No, in fact, if I start walking up to pat a golden retriever, the owners usually start running the other way.
But we should say this: Little Boo was a golden lab. Not a retriever.
Yourself aside, who do you think is most like their OITNB character? (In terms of personality and not crimes committed, although if you want to give us the scoop on the latter too, I won't complain.)
In terms of personality? Natasha Lyonne. No two bits about it.
Completely and utterly, that's her.
Hi Lea!! You are so amazing on OITNB. What is your favorite thing about playing the role of Big Boo??
My favorite thing about playing Boo is how 3-dimensional and real she is. Until this show, whenever a Butch lesbian was portrayed, in ANY media form, she was always stupid, a truck driver, drank too much, beat her girlfriend... Boo is not only smart, she's the smartest person in the prison. And she has a heart of gold.
There's not an ounce of violence in her.
can you tell us what happened with you on the subway in Manhattan a few months back? That video went viral
Yeah, I'm aware of the fact that the video went viral, hahahah! What happened was there was a man preaching loud homophobia. And as soon as I heard his hateful words, I stood up to him. I refused to let him speak. I literally chased him off the train.
Hi Lea, what is it like working with Natasha Lyonne? It seems like you two have such good rapport! Congrats on your engagement
Natasha Lyonne and I are both complete assholes. And we love that about each other.
I learned early on in season 1 that we like to punk each other out. So every time we're in a scene together, all we're trying to do is make the other person l laugh. We ad-lib and do things that aren't written on the page, just to try to make the other person fuck up! And as a result, you get some very funny scenes from me and 'Tash.
What was it like playing Eddie in Rocky Horror on Broadway?
The best about playing Eddie in Rocky Horror on Broadway was that Joan Jett played Columbia, so I got paid to make out with Joan Jett 8 times a week.
I would've done that for free.
Does it make you happy to see how your campaigning for LGBTQ community has helped young bisexual/lesbian actresses like Evan Rachel, Ellen Page, Cara Delevingne, Kristen Stewart etc be able to walk down the street holding hands with their girlfriends without fear of their careers being effected? I know there will always be some homophobia but by and large it hasn't effected their careers and it does help their young fans feel it's okay and normal.
Also, as with butch lesbians being ignored, bisexual invisibility pisses me off. That just because you are currently with a man or woman that your attraction to another gender is dismissed as a phase.
I've never been in the closet. In fact, when I first started doing standup, I performed under the name "The fucking dyke" not my own name. My entire career has been an effort to try to make a change in the world, and get laid.
Not necessarily in that order.
So that I have been able to be a part of seeing a societal change in their attitudes towards LGBTQ individuals is amazing. Sometimes I look back on my career and get very excited, and yet I also feel very tired.
If you could appear in another TV show, what would it be and who would you want to play and why?
Oh, AMERICAN HORROR STORY. I'd want to play anything, as long as it was with Jessica Lange or Kathy Bates. I fucking love that show.
What was your major inspiration to start acting?
I'm looking to meet some girls, wanna be my wingman?
1.) Well, frankly, I'm not very good at anything else.
It's either do what I do, or become a prostitute. That's really the only other thing I'm good at, is sex.
2.) HAHAHA! Like you're going to be able to get ANY girls with me standing next to ya!
Hi Lea! Love you on OITNB, especially Big Boo's backstory.
Sticking with the backstories, whose backstory are you most excited to see unfold in the upcoming season?
Also, what's your favourite cheesy joke and drink of choice?
That's SO funny! You're doing it too!
This is what I can tell you about season 4: I'm in it. And it takes place sometime next year.
And my favorite CHEEZY Joke? I'm going to have to say "What does a lesbian bring on a second date?"
Because I wrote that joke! The U-Haul joke.
(I know, it's so crazy)
Oh, honey. Tequila. LOTS and lots of tequila. There is NOT ENOUGH TEQUILA.
I think everybody knows that about me.
I'm a big fan of the tequila.
Hi Lea! Thank you for doing this AMA! I love your character on OITNB.
My question to you is, what is the atmosphere like on set? Does everyone joke around when not filming or is it pretty serious?
Yes, it's very serious.
In fact, we often have Mass.
...I'm just joking with you! All we do is laugh!
Who do you consider your closet friend/actor from orange is the new black?
Oh, this is so hard.
We all really like each other.
There's a group I generally hang out with, and that group is: Emma Myles (Leeanne), Taryn Manning (Pennsatucky), Lori Petty, Samira Wiley, Kimiko Glenn, and one of the new girls from the new season, her name is Emily Althouse, she plays Sussudio, and of course, it's all about Jackie Cruz. And she's Flocka.
Lea, I am such a fan! I am so happy you're here on Reddit! When you're not filming and doing stand up, what do you love to do for fun? Do you have a pet? Will you be in the Texas anytime soon for any fan conventions or stand up shows???
Lots of love to you and yours :-). Thanks again for answering all our questions!!!
No, I was just in Texas, at SXSW! No, I do not have a pet, but we'll be getting two cats very soon. And what do I love to do for fun? Cunnilingus.
Just wanted to first say thanks for giving a booming voice to a community that is often misrepresented. Now I need to know, what's your fav song off your new album and which one should I play to watch the panties drop?
Okay. My favorite song off the album? Ooooh, that's so hard. I like so many of them. I'm gonna say "Suffragette City," the duet I sing with Janis Siegal from the Manhattan Transfer.
The one you wanna play to make the panties drop is "Space Oddity."
The album is available for download TOMORROW - it's called "House of David."
Hey Lea, thanks for doing this. Who would be Boo's ultimate hook-up?
deep intake of breath
That word ultimate has thrown me.
Who does Boo want more than anyone else in the world?!
Hi! What was your favourite moment off/on screen whilst filming OITNB?
Oh my god, there's so many.
I think my favorite moment would be...after the first take of the daggering dance I did in episode 6, season 1?
As soon as the take was done, our director Mike came out onstage, and gave me a big hug, as the cast all cheered and applauded.
Yeah, that was pretty great.
hi lea! thanks for all that you do. :)
if you could pick another role to play on oitnb that already exists, which one would it be? or is there a character you wish existed that doesn't?
I'd like to play Roxanne, a prison guard who fucks both Piper and Alex and aids them with escaping to upstate New York, and they're still not heard from today.
I love following you on Instagram and wanted to ask, how similar is Boo's story to yours? I can't imagine you ever being less than fully yourself. Did you have a lot of support growing up, or were you pressured toward that invisibility like Carrie?
I was pressured towards invisibility, exactly like Carrie. However, unlike Carrie, it's important to know this - my parents came around. They didn't disown me, they didn't throw me out of the house - we talked.
And eventually, they came around. They learned. And I had a great relationship with both my parents until the day they both died. I just think it's important that people out there know that your parents can learn, and they can come around.
What's up! Do you miss the screwdriver? Do you know more about Big Boo and why she's at Litchfield? Thanks!
Yes. No. I have a Hitachi Magic Wand.
Sure...honey, you must be behind the times. That's in season 3. So the answer is: yes.
How did you start your acting career? When did you know you wnated to become an actor?
As a stand-up comic. Probably when I was 10? And I did acting in high school, I was a drama major in college even though I dropped out, you know, like that. But once I hit as a stand-up, I was the first openly-gay comic to perform on television in America, which catapulted me to fame, and as a result, I got a lot of acting gigs.
Where do you get your bow ties from? I want one.
Most of my bowties come from Saint Harridans.
It's a woman-owned company out of California that makes men's clothes for women and transmen.
Having said that (I'm the face of their line), I also have Tie the Knot foundation ties.
In fact, I designed a tie for them that JUST came out. Mine has little pin-up girls on it. It JUST came out, hasn't even been out a month. It's a limited edition of ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK ties. Kate has chickens on hers, and I don't know what Uzo has on hers.
How did you pick the songs on Double Standards?
DOUBLE STANDARDS? I wrote down my list of all-time favorite college rock tunes, and then along with my producer, Matt Pierson, we whittled it down to about 15, and then suddenly remembered a bunch more songs, so it became 50 again...and then we had a lot of fights... and eventually, got it down to the 12 tunes that we chose.
It took a long time.
If you could have any exotic pet, what would it be?
I just think they're adorable. I met one once, and it literally crawled inside my shirt, and wrapped its tail around my torso, and was the cutest thing I'd ever seen. I've wanted one ever since.
Hi! You came to speak at Chapman University one time, and my friends and I loved it!
Since starting OITNB, what's the craziest thing you've learned about that goes on in prison?
Thanks for doing this!
I think the craziest thing I learned about was the prison in Georgia that put all the lesbians in one cell block? They segregated the lesbians and put them in one place, away from the rest of the prison population, because they didn't like 'em. However, I think that might have worked against them, because I think that sounds like the most fun dyke bar ever.
Thank you for doing an AMA! I think you're great. Big Boo is one of my favorite characters on OITNB. Are there any scenes that you have had to do that make you feel uncomfortable? I can imagine some of them would be kind of awkward since you're friends with the girls. Maybe it's because I'm an awkward person. Hahah
No, I never felt uncomfortable playing any scenes. In fact, I think the writers sit around in the writer's room, think of the craziest thing they can do, and say "Let's give it to DeLaria, she'll do ANYTHING for a laugh!"
Coming from a fellow musician. Who or what inspires you most?
Keep being hilarious!
Probably my biggest influence musically is going to be John Coltrane, Betty Carter, and Ella Fitzgerald.
Thanks for doing this AMA :)
Im curious as to what was the funniest thing to happen on set during Season 3 in your opinion?
Oh, there are so many things...
I'll have to say the funniest thing was the Bedbug Episode, where I was in granny panties and a sports bra, trying to work with Natasha, and I kept pulling the granny panties up higher and higher, giving me horrendous camel-toe, and every time she would say something sassy to me, I'd pull the granny panties up higher... she couldn't take it. I would just hike those panties up higher. She was losing her mind!
Growing up, who were your biggest lady crushes??
Oh god. Growing up?
June Lockhart in LASSIE.
I especially liked her when she went on LOST IN SPACE, because then she wore that tight-fitting outfit.
Whats your favourite food and drink? :-)