Everyone's favorite valley girl, Julie Brown made a career out of spoofing and skewering celebs as VJ hostess of the 1989-1992 MTV series Just Say Julie. Now, the actress, comedienne, screenwriter and singer-songwriter known for such hits as "'Cause I'm a Blonde", and "I Like 'Em Big and Stupid" — not to mention Earth Girls Are Easy and as the coach in Clueless — makes her New York debut with the one-woman stage show Smell the Glamour, July 27 and 28 at Joe's Pub.
By Brandon Voss
HX: What should we
expect from your Joe's Pub show?
Julie Brown: I play different crazy women, some famous and some that are just crazy, and it's kind of nasty. I'm doing some new stuff, some stand-up, showing some little films, but I'm also doing the stuff that people would expect me to do. If I didn't sing "The Homecoming Queen's Got a Gun," I think people would be annoyed, right?
Anything special in
store for the gays?
Well, I have that a song I wrote called "I Want to Be Gay," so I'd say that's for the gays! I wrote the song because it was at the end of my marriage, I was really frustrated and everything was so complex — especially sex. I had all these gay friends and they have sex and it's just fun. So it was more about wanting the spirit of gay sex. I just like the idea of sex being outrageous — not pedestrian and something you have to talk a lot about.
Have you always felt
love from us?
Oh, from the very beginning. I was 19 years old and an acting student at American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, and me and my writing partner Charlie did this show at the school. It was crazily popular, so we got booked for some nightclubs before we even graduated. Suddenly, I had these gay fans who would come to my show, and I didn't even really understand why they liked me. But they would show up, and they were insanely supportive and joyful and into what I was doing. They got it. Then I moved to L.A. and started performing at places like The Comedy Store, and I thought it was a nightmare because there were no gays! Where were the gays? It was, like, straight people from the Valley! Then in the '80s I did my record and started performing at gay clubs all over the country. I've just always had gay fans. I've never really completely understood why, but I'm completely grateful and I think it's fantastic.
Who is the Wilson
Phillips of today?
Oh my God, there are so many now. I talk in my act about when I met Paris Hilton. But Lindsay Lohan is the Wilson Phillips all in her self. She's Carnie and everybody all at once. She tries to sing and it's pretty horrible. Paris tries to sing, too, but Lindsay takes it a little more seriously.
You also used to
love mocking Madonna. What do you think of her now?
She's as crazy as she ever was, but it's just different. I love that she's just out there so you can be amazed and appalled by her, but I think she's completely mentally ill. I wanted to do a satire of her now, with the kids and the British accent and the nannies. I pitched it to Logo and they really liked it, but Logo doesn't have any money to make movies, which is such a drag.
Didn't she send you
a gift after seeing your mockumentary Medusa: Dare to Be Truthful?
Yeah, and you could read the sarcasm in the note: "Dear Julie, Enjoy this half-drunk bottle of champagne. Love, Madonna." I'm going, "What is wrong with her?" I think it's great she's almost 50 and is so not giving up the sexuality. She's going to be really great to watch as she ages because she's never going to let it go.
You notably helped
launch Jim Carrey's career in Earth Girls Are Easy, right?
I didn't get to actually cast him, but I got to say, "I think he's good." He's pretty crazy and on all the time, but I didn't stay friends with him at all. I'm trying to make that movie into a musical. Some people tried to do it a few years ago, but they kind of screwed it up, so I think I have to do it myself.
How was it working
with Jennifer Aniston on your 1992 sketch comedy show, The Edge?
Jennifer was really adorable, but I don't know what she's like now. We were friends for a little bit, but then I got pregnant and we lost touch. Then Friends happened. I don't have anything bad to say about her other than that she was a little bit neurotic and very food-obsessed. She'd show you what she was eating all the time and tell you how she had a baked potato, but she took the insides out and was only going to eat the skin. And you're like, "Okay, yeah?" The weirdest thing is that I did a movie with Courteney Cox [1993's The Opposite Sex and How to Live with Them] and she was exactly the same way. She'd run up to me and go, "I just ate four M&Ms." I'm not kidding you.
GIRL FIGHT TONIGHT
The case of Brown vs. Brown
Wubba wubba wha?! If you have a hard time distinguishing between Julie Brown and Downtown Julie Brown, you're not alone. "There would always be confusion with our names and it really bugged me, but thankfully, her talent — well, she didn't have much — her whatever ran out," says Brown of the Club MTV hostess. "She's kind of a loon. The only thing we had in common was our names and that we were on MTV at the same time. This is my new idea: When people look at me and go, 'Are you Downtown Julie Brown?' — and they're obviously not seeing a black woman — I think I should go, 'Yes.' [pause] What do you think?"
HX, July 2007.