Judy Tenuta: The Petite Flower Blooms Again

The Petite Flower Blooms Again

Judy Tenuta is back on tour, and in fine form at Hyena’s Comedy Night Club in Dallas.

published Saturday, March 10, 2012


Judy Tenuta, the Love Goddess of the ’80s and ’90s, the ersatz priestess who converted newscaster Larry King to her religion of Judyism, the oversexed cougarette who coerces men into becoming her stud-puppets. She is the love child of John Belushi and Lady Gaga—wildly inappropriate, yet uniquely fashionable, with a huge appetite for life.

There was a party Friday night at Hyena’s Comedy Night Club in Dallas, and Judy was the belle-raconteur, holding court with a few hundred of her pals. With audience members clinking drinks and cracking snacks, in an atmosphere of rampant intimacy she did jokes and impersonations, played songs and videos, and enabled various audience members to make spectacles of themselves. A good time was had by all, a remarkable feat considering most there were not her traditional Judyism girl-power gangs and gay followers, but just the usual mélange of folks out on date night.

It’s been many years since the Petite Flower has toured the national circuit. She spent the prior decade with various highly eccentric film and television projects in California that never caught steam. Which is understandable, for it is before a live audience that Judy comes alive, ensnaring them like a berserk cowgirl with a pink boa lariat. In a throwback to vaudeville, she pulled props and costumes from behind the stage curtain, and her cleavage proffered a variety of items including reading glasses and a letter with questions from worshippers (that mostly likely also served as a set list).

Judy is still slinging those zingers, referring to a certain Monica playing “swallow the leader,” calling Snooki a “sawed-off Sasquatch” and suggesting to a girlfriend with love troubles to “watch C-SPAN so you can get used to guys lying to you.” It’s that remarkable face, though, that steals the show, exploding into a variety of comical expressions that rivals Lucille Ball.

Dominic Harris was the emcee, a lanky, sweet-natured young fellow who paced the stage, covering it in about two steps. He’s still in the episodic stage of comedian development, but instead of lurching from bit to bit he engaged eye contact with audience members, mining funny reactions to his prior bit while recalling the next one. Comedians are remarkable with the art of memory.

There use to be a lot of Middle Eastern humor in opening act Aaron Aryanpur, born in Denton to a Persian father. Now his routine is almost entirely a domestic act about his wife and daughter. Aryanpur has an interesting density that draws the audience in, rarely straying from a small square on stage. A little intense, he has a wonderfully puzzled face, inviting you to come along try to figure it all out, too.


Original post and video at: http://www.theaterjones.com/reviews/20120310104959/2012-03-10/Hyenas-Comedy-Night-Club-Dallas/Judy-Tenuta