Madame’s back... and Club Café’s got her

by JC Alvarez

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday December 15, 2010

The legendary team of Wayland Flowers and Madame constantly pushed the comedic edge with their hilarious featured roles on such nostalgic 80's TV - everyone remembers Madame's madcap co-hosting on Solid Gold and then there was the sitcom Madame's Place and his appearance in the cult classic Norman, Is That You?, but mostly there were the iconic appearances on Laugh-In and Hollywood Squares that they are most remembered for.

And now Madame is back, out of retirement, having made her peace with the passing of her erstwhile companion Wayland and ready to reintroduce herself to an entire new generation. Our interview didn't go off without a few wonderfully timed glitches - our connection dropped leaving the always quick with her wit Madame to cordially cite: "I think my PA hung up on you darling - you know, sometimes it's just PU!"

More tv pilots than...

Once modern technology decided to cooperate, we were off to a riotous romp. Madame admitting that she’s up to speed on most social networking and Internet advances to keep in touch with her fans.

"It’s been non-stop," she admits. "I’ve been twittering so much and so fast, I thought I had a vibrator in my panty hose." Some may think that the enigmatic Madame had seen her best days, but truly Madame and her comedy have been a sustainable part of pop culture even into the new millennium. "I’ve done more TV pilots than Heidi Fleiss has sucked dick," she unabashedly reports, immediately followed by that signature deep, rasping laugh that you know comes from within her.

That Madame has been able to keep her joviality intact is a testament and devotion to her fans, and especially to her dear and loyal Wayland. "But you know, I sort of fell apart when Wayland passed away," Madame confesses. "He was my best friend... and you don’t replace your best friend so quickly, do you?"

Story continues on following page:

Watch Beatrice Arthur and Madame sing "A Good Man is Hard to Find."

Watch this interview with Madame:

A new man in Madame’s life

Madame now has a new man on her arm working with the most talented Rick Skye. "Y’know she likes it all to be about Madame," Rick interjects about working with the comic diva. Madame quickly adds, "Rick’s on probation, but it’ll be a shame if he doesn’t work out - I’m gonna have to cut his face out of all the publicity pictures." But I seriously doubt that Rick has anything to worry. Madame says about her new partner, "He’s got Wayland’s sense of humor, I feel. He’s very talented - and by ’talented’ I mean he’s ’homosexual’."

I asked Madame about the daunting task of having to fill Wayland Flowers shoes while on tour. Surely to die hard fans that can be a great challenge, but Madame feels that fans have been very receptive to Rick... or is it the other way around? "I think he receives them," she tells me. "He does have the tendency to get to the bottom of things." Again, followed by more laughter. Madame does not miss a beat with a punch-line.

Skye tells me the experience of now collaborating with Madame and continuing the legacy established by Wayland Flowers is just great. "I used to write for Madame on her show, and grew up watching her."

He compared it to working with Lucille Ball. "I loved Madame so much and couldn’t have imagined that I’d be working with her today." And for Skye it was particularly important to really understand the relationship and especially the comic timing that made Wayland Flowers and Madame such a fascinating team. "It took me a very long time to ’get’ her character," he says, "but I just love her so much".

A recent trip to perform in Provincetown though synched the relationship between the two. "It was tough performing there," Madame shared with me, "especially because everyone knew Wayland. Those were friends of ours, but after they saw the show [now featuring Skye] - I think they were happy." From the perspective of the joy and laughter Madame was always able to bring to her fans, everyone is just happy to have her back. "Fans have remained very wonderful to me."

And for Rick he says that bringing Madame home to meet his family was in of itself an event. "It was like they were all meeting Elizabeth Taylor."

As irreverant as ever!

Madame also admits that although times have changed she’s still as irreverent as ever. When asked about the changing diorama of celebrity with the slew of reality stars that have taken over, Madame poignantly answered: "Is that ’show business’? But I must admit, that Snookie [of the Jersey Shore cast] does look like a million bucks - old, green and wrinkled."

For the new act that the two are presently touring with, the title is simple enough: "It’s Madame with an E!" - and will be no less than a Broadway musical all about her life. "If you don’t know anything about me, you learn something." It’s vaudeville with a modern sensibility and Madame has even incorporated some very timely essentials to make sure her new fans know she’s with it. "I’m working with Asher Levine," Madame reveals. The same Asher Levine that has fittingly designed pieces for another pop diva, Lady Gaga. "I’ve got pork chop earrings to go with it that I borrowed from Lady Gaga."

Madame is promising her audiences some wonderfully revealing anecdotes, some phenomenal musical numbers and even a tale or two which will feature some of her new Hollywood friends including Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan. I hoped she could be an inspiration and positive influence on the new crop of young starlets, but Madame admits: "Are you kidding? I was out with my gays until 2 in the morning - they’ve had a bad influence on me!"

With her unique style and comedy, Madame - with an E - is certain to inspire the tradition that elevated her to stardom and will undoubtedly keep the memory of Wayland Flowers forever close to our hearts, even as Rick Skye continues to carry on the laughter. I wonder if Madame is privy to the coincidental play on words in the family names of her career partners? With Wayland Flowers her career blossomed, and now teamed with Rick Skye - the possibilities are again for this ageless beauty limitless.

Madame brings It’s Madame with an E!" to Club Café, 209 Columbus Avenue, Boston, MA, Thursday, Dec 16th - Saturday, Dec 18th, 7:30pm. For ticket information call 617.536.0966 or visit Specially priced VIP tickets available.

Watch this clip of Wayland Flowers and Madame from the film Norman, Is That You?.

Native New Yorker JC Alvarez is a pop-culture enthusiast and the nightlife chronicler of the club scene and its celebrity denizens from coast-to-coast. He is the on-air host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Out Loud & Live!" and is also on the panel of the local-access talk show "Talking About".

Comments on Facebook