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Find Out Why the Funniest Comics Get Bruce

Friday, September 29th, 2017

Boulder Jewish News
Find Out Why the Funniest Comics Get Bruce
By Kathryn Bernheimer ??September 25, 2017


Why the title “Get Bruce?”

The title has two meanings. The first is a command issued by any high-ranking comic in need of a good joke. As in, “I have just been invited to host the Oscars! Get Bruce!

The other is a question: Do you get Bruce? Do you get his humor?

The documentary, being screened at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm Wednesday at the Boulder JCC, makes sure we do get Bruce, a flamboyant, sweet, outrageous giant of humor. He appears in person at Reel Hope on October 14 at the Boulder JCC. The ACE screening is in anticipation of the Jewish Family Service fundraiser.


Best known for writing the best lines and gags at the Academy Awards, where he has been head writer since 2000,Vilanch supervises the entire telecast. He is also in high demand for roasts and other Hollywood extravaganzas where actors try to be funny, and comics try to top them. Vegas shows and touring acts also demand his talent.

His jokes are told by legions of stars, including Bette Midler, Robin Williams, Elizabeth Taylor, Lily Tomlin, and Billy Crystal.

Vilanch spent his first 20 years as the king of the one-liner, comfortably behind the scenes, his name and face known only to the comic elite who employed him.


That invisibility ended when he was promoted from a writer on Hollywood Squares to having his own box as a celebrity, right next to long-time customer Whoopi Goldberg.

“Get Bruce” solidified his status as a celebrity writer, quick with a quip, a role he plays with relish.

He has since appeared on Broadway as Edna Turnblad in “Hairspray,” and is regularly recognized at airports.

He also continues to be a gay icon, long celebrated for his openly gay status in closeted Hollywood. (Read a 2013 Westword interview here.)

Prepare to meet Bruce by watching this hilarious 1999 documentary, which is filled with celebrity interviews. Prepare to be in on the joke, a comedy fan who “gets” Bruce.

Bruce Vilanch Hosts “One Night Only Benefit Cabaret” September 12, San Francisco

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

Outtake Online
Bruce Vilanch Hosts “One Night Only Benefit Cabaret” September 12, San Francisco



In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Bruce Vilanch about hosting One Night Only Benefit Cabaret for the Richmond/Ermet AID Foundation on Monday Sept 12th at Marines’ Memorial Theater in San Francisco. Philanthropy and stellar entertainment take center stage as REAF presents a special one-night-only benefit cabaret with the Broadway Touring Cast of “Beautiful”(The Carole King Musical) in “Motown & More, An Evening of Music, Dance & Comedy” hosted by Bruce with Countess Katya Smirnoff-Skyy. Songs from “Beautiful” will not be performed. As we have been reporting, for over twenty years the Richmond / Ermet Aid Foundation has raised millions of dollars by producing Broadway quality entertainment events and galas to advance HIV treatments and support AIDS services until there is a cure. Recently REAF has expanded its fundraising focus to the Bay Area’s growing demand for two new areas by providing food for the needy and programs that support homeless, disadvantaged and disenfranchised youth. We talked to Bruce about this fabulous organization and his spin on our LGBT issues.

With the upcoming presidential election just months away, when asked what he would like to see happen for LGBT equality in the next few years Vilanch stated, “Well a lot depends on what happens in this election clearly. I mean if the Nazis actually win and I call them Nazis because they would like us to be eliminated. Read the Republican Party Platform, the reptilian party, as I call it, platform, you’ll see that they would like us to just shrivel up and die. They would like to enable us in that effort and I think if they win then we’re going to see a period of regression and of people feeling their oats so they can attempt to beat us into the ground. If the democrats win and Hillary is in charge I think we’re going to see a continued path towards complete civil rights. That means no rollback on marriage equality, which is what the republicans would like. We’ll see it extended and obviously the most important thing about this election is the next president will choose a bunch of Supreme Court Justices who will issue to the ultimate ruling on all things that affect our lives. So I think at the moment we have the coin in our hands and as a nation we’re going to toss it in November and we’ll see what happens. So I’m hoping it comes down on the girl side.”

Bruce Vilanch is one of the most sought-after jokesmiths in the entertainment industry. He began contributing to Academy Awards telecasts in 1989 collaborating with the likes of Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg and David Letterman and graduated to head writer in 2000. Since then Vilanch has become a recognizable face in his own right thanks to the feature-length documentary “Get Bruce” and his one-time stint as a regular on “Hollywood Squares” for which he also served as head writer. One Night Only Benefit Cabaret is produced by the Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation, founded by the late Barbara Richmond and Peggy Ermet in memory of their sons John Richmond and Doug Ermet who both lost their lives to AIDS. To date REAF has raised well over $3 million dollars for AIDS services and beginning in 2015 expanded to support hunger programs and programs for homeless and underserved youth.

For Info & Tix:

Hollywood History With Bruce Vilanch By Nick Hardcastle

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Loud and proud: Bruce Vilanch’s Hollywood history
By Nick Hardcastle
April 18, 2016


Upon meeting a legendary Hollywood personality it’s only fitting that we meet in a legendary Hollywood establishment. Musso and Frank Grill on Hollywood Boulevard. Since 1919, stars from Rudolph Valentino and Charlie Chaplin to Marilyn Monroe and Lauren Bacall have been sipping martinis in its old worn leather booths or throwing back scotch in its infamous back room – a watering hole for some of the finest writers including F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, and Raymond Chandler. I arrive and Bruce Vilanch greets me as ‘Nick Hardcore’.

A regular here, Vilanch is instantly recognisable wearing his signature bright coloured glasses and a t-shirt with a cartoon image of Liam Neeson and the slogan ‘Carpe Liam’.

He has had a long and colorful history in show business and Hollywood. A six time Emmy winner, Bruce has also won a number of awards for his support of LGBTQI and HIV/AIDS charities.

He has written for the Oscars for 23 years as well as the Tonys, Emmys and Grammys. He has contributed to many Broadway shows including Peter Allen’s first, Up in One, and Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical. He is currently penning a new show based on the music of Petula Clark. He has been a long time gag writer for Bette Midler, Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg, as well as having worked with the late and great Elizabeth Taylor, Robin Williams and Joan Rivers. Whether he set out to be or not, Bruce Vilanch has been a pioneering gay voice in the entertainment business.

A New Jersey native, Vilanch spent five years in Chicago where he wrote for the Chicago Tribune and occasionally did stand-up comedy. There he met Bette Midler in the mid ‘70s. He thought that she was “funny and should talk more on stage” so he wrote some new material for the rising star and they’ve been working together ever since.

When he relocated to Los Angeles, his first gig was on a late night show called Midnight Special in 1978. There were many people who had appeared on TV before Bruce Vilanch who were gay of course, as well as gay characters in shows like All in the Family and even Australia’s Number 96, but you would be hard pressed to find an openly gay man who discussed his experiences on air before Vilanch did.

“I was completely open from the word go. It was very novel because it was one o’clock in the morning. But being openly gay on TV hadn’t become my schtick yet. I just never denied anything.”

“I was completely open from the word go. It was very novel but because it was one o’clock in the morning. But being openly gay on TV hadn’t become my schtick yet. I just never denied anything.”

Considering the cultural climate at the time, it was a bold move. In 1976 Elton John announced that he was bisexual in Rolling Stone and he was immediately removed from the playlists of many the major radio stations. “Those regional stations were where you broke records. So if some minister comes in to the local radio station in Kansas city and says you can’t play that cock sucker Elton John’s records anymore – you’d better believe he’s getting dropped off the playlist! Elton’s career was pretty much over there for a while – you can understand why it might have just been easier to say nothing.”

“So there was a lot at stake. Although no one ever told me that I couldn’t be out on TV. What they all did say was that I need to be sure. ‘Is this what you want to be known as? Because there are consequences – there will be no working with children and no big money endorsement deals and there certainly won’t be leading man parts because you can’t kiss the girl.’ But I got to be myself.”

At this point our conversation takes a slight deviation into ‘little people porn’ and ‘feeders’ but I assure him that the details are entirely off the record. I order another martini.

Vilanch’s mainstream profile rocketed when he became a regular panelist on the long-running game show ‘Hollywood Squares’ from 1998 – 2002, with his old friend and client Whoopi Goldberg. He says that this was the only time that he ever came under pressure about his sexuality on television.

“And that was only because I was graphic. I had to really fight to get some of my lines across,” he explained.

Producers would insist that there were other ways to get the laughs, and that Bruce should ‘go easy on the gay’.

“But this was coming from the same people who would say to Whoopi, ‘Go easy on the black. You don’t have to be so street’. The notes were always back-to-back. They never said to Gilbert [Gottfried] not to be so Jewish.”

At this time, Vilanch was becoming somewhat of a gay icon and it put him in a position to be able to counsel other LGBTQI people in the media. “I tell other famous people who come out that you really have no idea the affect you are having on young people who are unsure or conflicted – it gives them hope.”

He recalls a young man telling him that he used to watch Hollywood Squares with his grandmother and would be inspired, thinking, “Look at him – he’s so unafraid.”

Vilanch cites Ellen DeGeneres as another great example of that fearlessness in spite of the potential consequences. “When Ellen came out on her sitcom she was very courageous, but she was very smart. She said once she came out that they should cancel because now they would have to go in to storylines that the audience probably won’t like.

“The network thought the numbers were great, but sure enough the southern states cancelled the show and because she wasn’t being seen on the same amount of stations the numbers dropped and the show got cancelled. It took a while for Ellen to really come back from that.”

“I tell other famous people who come out that you really have no idea the affect you are having on young people who are unsure or conflicted – it gives them hope.”

But the landscape was starting to change, albeit, slowly. Will and Grace in particular became a huge hit. According to GLAAD, (formerly the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), a US non-governmental media monitoring organisation, by the time the show had aired its final season in 2006 almost 2 per cent of regular characters on prime time broadcast TV were gay. While it was certainly not a fair representation of the population, it was a sign of positive change.

Now in 2016 more than 4 per cent of regular characters on prime time are identified as LGBTQI. Guest characters and LGBTQI personalities in non-scripted television are also starting to be represented in more significant numbers. In the last year alone the number of regular LGBTQI characters counted on cable increased from 64 to 84, while recurring characters increased from 41 to 58. In 2015 for the first time, GLAAD counted LGBTQI characters on original series that premiered on Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix and found 43 series regulars and 16 recurring queer characters across 23 series.

In 2016, Vilanch says that it’s much more difficult to say if someone’s sexuality really affects their media career as much as it did in previous decades, as each case is individual. “There’s still no leading man action hero who has come out and said he’s gay. We’ve had a few pro sports people but no huge major figures. When that happens maybe things will really change because we’ll finally have an example where the audience will have to believe whether say, James Bond is still James Bond when the actor playing him is openly gay. Can they buy him shagging Pussy Galore when they know he wants Balls a Plenty? That hasn’t been demonstrated yet.

“We have people like Neil Patrick Harris, Lance Bass and Melissa Etheridge and Portia de Rossi, who are big stars doing great things – but it’s unlikely you’ll see them as action heroes.”

At this point Vilanch accidentally spills come creamy salad dressing right on Liam Neeson’s cartoon face on his t-shirt. Make of that what you will.

As talent, humour and fame can be powerful aphrodisiacs for some people, I finally ask Vilanch if he thinks that being on TV has increased his sex appeal.

“I was only ever a lust object for creepy people– chubby chasers,” he replies.

When I insist that humor is the sexiest quality in any person, he cuts to the chase, “I would love to say it’s the case… but I find that they’ll laugh with you, but they’ll go home and fuck someone else. But humour sustains in a way that physical beauty doesn’t… at least I still have my card to play. ‘Snap!’”

Bruceback August 16, 1991: Bruce Goes It Alone

Saturday, September 5th, 2015

Daily Herald Suburban Chicago
August 16, 1991

3-25-2012 2-13-20 PM

Bruce Vilanch, the so-called “Comedian for the Stars” who cut his dramatic teeth at Ohio State University and later in Chicago before making the trek to the coast, will bring his stand-up act to Zanies in Mount Prospect Thursday through Aug. 24.

Primarily a comedy writer and a lyricist. Vilanch has six Emmys under his substantial belt and has written for such heavyweights as Bette Midler, Lily Tomlin. Billy Crystal, Burt Reynolds and Whoopi Goldberg.

Plus, he’s penned gags for lots of awards shows, such as the Oscars, the Emmys, the People’s Choice awards and the American Comedy awards.

But can he cut it out there all by himself with just the microphone and his wits?

The Provincetown Theater Debuts ‘Broadway Concert Series’

Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

The Provincetown Theater Debuts ‘Broadway Concert Series’
July 31, 2015


The Provincetown Theater and producer Rich Aronstein debut the first “Broadway Concert Series” which started in July and continues through August with three more cabaret-style concerts featuring well-known Broadway and TV performers.

“To my knowledge, this is the first time this theater has brought in a Broadway concert series,” says Aronstein.

A quick 10-minute walk from Commercial Street, the Provincetown Theater offers a creative mix of professional, semi-professional and talented non-professional productions. The company emphasizes a mixture of staged readings, original plays and works by established playwrights, but this is something new for them. This summer’s three remaining shows offer sassy celebrities, showstoppers and even a little skin.
“The Buds of Broadway,” starring Anthony Rapp & Telly Leung, makes its world premiere for two nights only on August 14 and 15.

Perhaps best recognized for his recurring role as “Wes” in the hit Fox series “Glee,” Telly Leung recently starred in the Broadway revival of “Godspell” and originated the role of Boq in the Chicago company of “Wicked.” Anthony Rapp starred opposite Idina Menzel in the Broadway Musical “If/Then” and is best known for originating the role of ‘Mark Cohen’ in Jonathan Larson’s Tony Award-winning rock opera “Rent” for which he shares an OBIE Award with the rest of the cast.

These two buds first met on the “Rent” tour and their friendship continues with frequent collaborations. “Buds” will feature an eclectic mix of music including pop, R&B, Broadway, and rock with standout solos and duets from the show that began it all, “Rent.”

Emmy Award winning comedy writer Bruce Vilanch hits The Provincetown Theater during “Carnival Week,” August 20-21-22, with special guests The Skivvies and Broadway’s Nick Adams.

Having written for Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Crystal, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin, Bette Midler, Paul Lynde and many others, Vilanch plans to share some of his best stories about life with Hollywood celebrities. Also a consummate performer Vilanch starred as “Edna Turnblatt” in the hit musical “Hairspray” on Broadway and appeared as himself in the documentary film “Get Bruce!

Joining Bruce on the stage the “musically thrilling” undie-rock, comedy-pop duo The Skivvies will actually undress as they perform their distinctive mash-ups and eccentric originals for cello and ukulele. This YouTube sensation has been called “smart, sophisticated…ingenious,” by The Wall Street Journal and Out Magazine says, “The Skivvies have managed to carve out a niche that we never knew needed to exist: part Weird Al- parody and part sexy burlesque…and unusual explosion of satire and sultry.”

The excitement doesn’t end there; “Broadway Bares’” Nick Adams and “Queer as Folk’s” Randy Harrison will join the team to fill the stage with more music and man-parts.
When Tony-nominated sisters Ann Hampton Callaway & Liz Callaway combine musical forces, their equally splendid voices harmonize in great songs and witty banter, as “Sibling Revelry” closes out the concert series on August 28 and 29. First presented in New York and now having its Provincetown premiere, this show continues to sell out halls across the U.S. and abroad.

Though they have each made name for themselves separately, Ann as an acclaimed pop/jazz singer and songwriter and Liz as a Broadway veteran and recording artist, together this duo has been called “two exuberant, limitless talents.” The show features Broadway hits from “Chicago,” “Wicked” and “Cats” to rousing renditions of jazz and pop standards.

The Broadway Concert Series is certain to become a Ptown tradition, so spend your hot August nights with glamour, comedy and music. We’re so certain that you’ll want to attend all of these events that, for a limited time, Edge Media Network is offering a pair free tickets. To get them just head over to our giveaway center and enter to win. (

The Broadway Concert Series at The Provincetown Theater, 238 Bradford Street

“The Buds of Broadway” runs August 14 and 15
“Bruce Vilanch and Special Guests: The Skivvies” runs August 20 – 22
“Sibling Revelry” runs August 28 and 29

For tickets and more information, call 508-487-7487 or visit

Great New Interview With Bruce Vilanch

Saturday, August 16th, 2014

We’ve Got Bruce
Saturday Aug 16, 2014

4-27-2013 3-56-01 AM

When it comes to Hollywood insiders, few come close to Bruce Vilanch. Over his thirty-year-plus career, he has worked with virtually every major talent in the entertainment industry: Bette Midler, Lily Tomlin, Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Crystal, Elizabeth Taylor and (famously) the late Robin Williams. He has also been writing special material for the Oscars since 1989 – a collaboration that has had its ups-and-downs, but also given Vilanch an insider’s view on the film’s industry’s biggest party. He is also no stranger to other award shows, having written for the Emmys, Tonys and Grammys. Or Broadway, where he starred in “Hairspray” after taking it on the road.

Vilanch may be best-known for his stint on “The Hollywood Squares” on which he appeared for four seasons as well as being the show’s head writer. He has been in numerous films (including having made his film debut in “Mahogany” with Diana Ross in 1974). He has even been the subject of a documentary film – “Get Bruce” – which has one of the most star-studded casts in history. For Vilanch, they were his friends.

He’s been a tireless supporter of LGBT causes over the years, including being one of the first to take part in benefits for AIDS in the 1980s. It was from those experiences that he found himself working for the Oscars. And speaking of awards, Vilanch has won some six Emmy Awards for his writing.

That he one of the funniest celebrities in Hollywood is no secret. Part of what has made his solo dates, such as the one that comes to Club Café on Saturday, August 16 at 8pm, so endearing is his ease at making good-natured fun at not only Hollywood royalty, but himself. “I am frequently mistaken for Shelley (Winters) by people that don’t know she’s dead,” he said recently in a freewheeling conversation this week from Saugatuck, Michigan, where he was performing.

EDGE: So what are you wearing?

Bruce Vilanch What am I wearing? Hmmm. A t-shirt with an actual photo of Batman and Robin kind-of embracing. It’s a still from the old show. And they have this expression on their faces that make it seem they’re fascinated with each other. So the caption reads, ‘Batman and Robin: Let’s Hook Up.’ You look at their faces and you think, that’s what they’re really thinking. They’re in love with each other. Look at those expressions! And is there anything better to wear in the Provincetown of the Midwest?

EDGE: Speaking of Provincetown, did you hear that a ferry was nearly capsized by a wave this week?

Bruce Vilanch Really? No. But are you sure it wasn’t a convention of Shelley Winters impersonators just hoping to get capsized? If it was, I would be one of them because I am frequently mistaken for Shelley by people that don’t know she’s dead. They think she still slinks amongst us.

EDGE: Did you know her?

Bruce Vilanch Yes. She was a great actress and a hysterical person. Literally a hysterical person – when I would see her she shout, ‘my God… you’re all sweaty? What are you doing?’ Every meeting was an Academy Award winning performance. Most people didn’t realize she was a bombshell when she was a kid. Or realize how great she really was. She was one of the prime movers of the Actors’ Studio with Brando and James Dean. And a lot of her really good work was on stage… And on screen? There’s always ‘South Seas Sinner.’

Maybe I could do a one-woman show about Shelley Winters. When she wrote her book it was all about her many affairs and everyone she had an affair with was dead, because she didn’t want to write about anybody that was still alive because they would deny it. I think she could have called the book ‘Fuck Shelley and Die.’ My show will be like that. ‘Shelley Winters, Killer Pussy.’

EDGE: What are you doing in Boston?

Bruce Vilanch: What can I plug? How can I get them in? Tell some rude stories about Justin Bieber? I don’t have any of that. I do have stories about my life and times – my illustrious career in show business and all the bizarre people I met and all the backstage stories. It’s funny and dishy. Funny and dishy. (Slipping into a professional phone voice) ‘Funny and Dishy… could I direct your call?’

I don’t know what I am going to say and I’m not so sure what I say now would look good in print, so it’s a good idea not to say anything. But I’ve done 23 Academy Awards shows and everyone has trooped through that extravaganza, so there are stories about plenty of them.

EDGE: You dished James Franco when he did the Oscars – will you mention him?

Bruce Vilanch: Yes. Sure. Why not? I’ll get in trouble again. They’ll never ask him back, so why do I care?

EDGE: Have you started to work on next year’s Oscars?

Bruce Vilanch: Oh, no. Not yet. It starts around October when the producer comes in and gets active and figures out how he or she wants the show to unfold. And then the host comes onboard and it gets deeper as it goes along. Most of the show is written after the nominations come out in January because you don’t really know what you are going to talk about. It doesn’t make sense to prepare stuff about movies that get shut out; and you don’t know who is going to actually appear on the show until after the nominations come out and people sort out their feelings. Whether they want to be on the show or exercise the ritual taking of umbrage because they or their friends were not acknowledged. There use to be the honorary awards, but they made the show so long, so they moved them to separate event – the Governor’s Award – in November that I wrote this year and show excerpts on the awards.

EDGE: Do any of the celebrities as the Oscars take umbrage with the jokes you write?

Bruce Vilanch At first, yeah. A lot of times. But first you have the gauntlet of their people – their manager, their agent, their publicist, their holistic pet psychiatrist, their gardener, their Pilates instructor. Everybody has an opinion. Then they get back to you with what they want changed. By the time it gets to the show, they’ve signed off on anything, so it’s rare if somebody goes off-book on the night of the show. The spontaneous moments come from the winners, who can be depended upon to do something ridiculous because they’re over-excited. And the host commenting on what’s going on during the show. That’s where the spontaneous moments come from.

EDGE: How did Ellen’s selfie-seen-round-the-world happen at last year’s show?

Bruce Vilanch I don’t know. I wasn’t on the show last year because it was all Ellen and her staff. She has ten dedicated people that write her show every day and they did the Oscars. I did Ellen’s first time in 2007 and we did a version of the selfie that year, so I suspect whoever had the idea to do it again watched the show that year.

She did it with Spielberg. She had Spielberg take a picture of her and Clint Eastwood. It was the exact same bit. All that was missing was the dozen stars chomping to be in the shot, which they knew would be seen around the world. So you don’t get to see poor Liza, who was too short to get in on the thing. But on the other hand we got a nice full face of Lupita Nyong’o’s brother, who oddly didn’t capitalize on that. I would think his people would have had him all over the place; but somewhere good taste prevailed. Either that or she said, ‘this is my night. Stand back.’ Maybe she let him wear all her dresses.

EDGE: Every year there seems to be different producers of the Oscars, but you remain a constant with the ceremony. What’s the key to your longevity?

Bruce Vilanch It’s like inventing the wheel every year, yet every year it looks pretty much like the year before; because it’s the nature of the beast. It’s a format to which you must adhere, that makes the show pretty much like every other show. New producers come in and say they’re going to change all that, but they can’t. As they go along they realize it’s a big, unwieldy piece, and it helps to have people around that have done it before; which is why you end up doing it for 23 years. That and various relationships you have with performers – hosts and what not – they want you to be around with them.

EDGE: You’ve also been involved with the Grabby Awards…

Bruce Vilanch Yeah. I’ve done them many time. Of course, they’re porno, and I love the porno business… and the people in it. Fascinating to me. But how I got initially – a lot of those award shows were the first AIDS fundraisers because a lot of the people involved in them was affected by the disease at the beginning. They weren’t raising money and wanted to find a way to raise money, and it was an easy way to do it. And it was an industry willing to chip in. So I ended up getting involved in it because it was a fund-raising device, and then, of course, once I got to the picnic I didn’t want to leave until I had every corn on the cob.

EDGE: What do they look for with a good host for the Oscars?

Bruce Vilanch They’re always looking for someone peaking at the box office at the moment, but what really helps with the ratings is a good year at the movies. It hasn’t been a good summer, but they’re not the kind of pictures the Academy pays attention to except for technical awards. And the year is back-loaded with the stuff they want to win awards, so people haven’t seen anything that will be talked about on the show next year. They’re have been a couple that will get included; but most of the stuff reveals itself in October. I just saw a trailer for “Into the Woods” that comes out on Christmas Day with that tornado movie.

EDGE: You mean, ‘Into the Storm?’ Wasn’t it hilarious when the storm hit that international airport in the middle of nowhere and started picking up 747s…?

Bruce Vilanch I loved that. Suddenly it was ‘Sharknado.’ I want to do a politically-aware disaster movie and call it ‘Ralphnado.’ A group of left-wing lawyers get picked up by a tornado and become Ralphnado, crashing into corporate America.

EDGE: Wasn’t it a terrible movie?

Bruce Vilanch Yes, but I love terrible movies. I use to go with a group to the movies every week back when going to the movies was a ritual and we’d go see a piece of shit movie. That was back when going to the movies was more of a rituals, and we’d pick terrible movies, like ‘Killer Fish’ starring Karen Black or ‘The Lonely Lady’ with Pia Zadora. So we decided to go to a movie and see ‘Into the Storm’ at the Mann’s Chinese Theatre. It wasn’t on the big screen, but on a smaller one; and it was heaven. We were half the audience – there were six of us and the audience was 12; so we could talk out loud, that was if you could be heard over the tornado. There was girl that was like Sandra Bullock and I said, she was going to have to take over the van but won’t be able to go over 50 because there is a bomb on it. They should have borrowed anything from every other action movie ever made.

EDGE: Didn’t the high school principal in the film look like President Obama?

Bruce Vilanch He looked exactly like Obama. It was hysterical – is the subtext of this that Obama winds up a high school principal? Is this what we are suppose to take from this? Is this a right wing moment here?

And the girl in the Helen Hunt part – the weather expert – she was a little bit too old for it and had a little too much work done to be that woman and pretend to be the mother of that baby. It was just enough to put it into The Asylum territory.

EDGE: And the vice principal, who was the movies hero, didn’t he look like Mitt Romney?

Bruce Vilanch Now that you mention it, yes. About him. He was this single guy raising two boys single-handedly and working as a vice principal at the school, but found time to get to the gym. He was really built under the white shirt and tie, which came in handy when he had to move Volkswagon buses off of people and stuff like that. This man knows how to multi-task! At least they spared us how he ended up with the weather expert. Here they were – he’s a single dad with two kids, she’s a single mom with a baby; I thought they were going to end up together, but they didn’t, which violates a cardinal rule. But then there will always be a sequel because they’re always be a tornado somewhere.

EDGE: My question is, why do people live there?

Bruce Vilanch I get the same criticism from people about living in LA. Why do you live where you know there’s going to be a fire followed by a mud slide; which is true. We all know that, but it’s nice while it lasts. Like people say, why do you build where there are coyotes and bears? They build these subdivisions in the hills, then wonder why there are coyotes roaming the streets. They’re surprised – ‘oh, gee. Isn’t this LA?’ It was, until they built out there.

I am waiting for the movie about the wild packs of coyotes invading the suburb. It’s perfect for The Asylum, but they’re too busy doing ‘Mega-Octopussy.’ Oh, what is the one that’s they’re doing? ‘Pteracuda’ – it’s a pterodactyl barracuda combo that can fly and swim. And the only thing that can get it is ‘Sharktopus,’ which is a shark and octopus combination, which cannot fly, but can do a great slither.

EDGE: What is The Asylum?

Bruce Vilanch The studio that makes all those movies for the Sci-fi Channel. Leading up to ‘Sharknado 2,’ they ran a week of all those movies. The giant piranha one, ‘Mega Piranha.’ They’re cautionary tales about creating creatures in a lab. ‘Mega Shark’ was created to get rid of submarines – it can bite through the hull. And, of course, ‘Mega Shark’ goes wild and attacks Acapulco and chomps his way through the hotels.

EDGE: Have you been going to the movies this summer?

Bruce Vilanch Of course. In fact, my new drag name is Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. I couldn’t resist her – she was too perfect. They’re carrying on out here that it’s been a terrible summer because not enough people went to the movies. I went to watch Helen Mirren in ‘A Hundred Foot Journey.’ It was a wonderful movie and I had a huge meal afterward. It sent you out looking for a French place or an Indian place or a really cute Indian boyfriend that can make a hollandaise sauce.

Bruce Vilanch appears Saturday, August 16, 2014, 8pm, at Club Cafe, 209 Columbus Avenue, Boston, MA. For ticket info, visit the Club Cafe website.