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A-LISTS theatre
Known on stage for his rapid-fire delivery and insanely hilari-
ous storytelling, John Leguizamo is ready for his close-up as he
dives into a show written by him that explores his career so far in
show business. If you’ve never experienced the comedy tornado
known as John Leguizamo or you’ve seen his award-winning
previous productions called Freak, Spic-O-Rama or Mambo
Mouth, make sure to head to La Jolla Playhouse on March 4
through March 14 for John Leguizamo: Diary of a Madman. The
Rage Monthly caught a glimpse of his comedy style and wit in a
recent phone interview.
The Rage Monthly: So, there is Diary of Anne Frank and Diary of an American Housewife among
others…why call your show Diary of a Madman?
John Leguizamo: (laughter) Because…not only have I been called that many
times, ever since high school, people would tag me as a crazy guy. The show is
looking at my entire life and my career, what I did right and what I did wrong. To
really look at it and all the mistakes, if you take a look at your life (laughter) in a
clear point of view, it all looks pretty insane. Some things make sense and a lot of
things don’t make sense.
Rage: I’m guessing on this but you have done so many other productions starting with
Mambo Mouth and Spic-O-Rama where in a good-hearted way you are poking fun at your
heritage. You also developed a production about your relationship with your family and
then a show about your love life. Now with Diary of a Madman, it seems to me that it would be
the most personal one yet.
JL: That’s interesting. Yeah, this one is about my career. I guess it’s looking at
my personal journey. Looking at it to see, “how did I get here?” How is it that this
basically ghetto kid from Queens make it to this point and what kind of…as one
of my therapists said, “my outmoded survivor ghetto skills” start to turn on you.
You know what I mean? After you get out of those tough situations back in the
day, sometimes they work against you later in life. If life were a game, they keep
you from going to the next level.
Rage: I’m playing the gay card here with your career. I’ve seen you in Madonna’s “Borderline”
video, in To Wong Foo: Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar and the musical Moulin Rouge. I’ve
JOHn
never seen any of your other films. If there was one movie that you are more proud of than
the others, what would it be?
LeGuIzAMO
by bill biss
JL: I’m incredibly proud and my favorite film up-to-date that I’ve done and my
On Diary of a MaDMan at La JOLLa PLayhOuse
acting was at its zenith and maybe on the way down (laughter) was called Where
God Left His Shoes. I love that movie.
Rage: Okay. I’ll check it out. I really loved To Wong Foo.
JL: Oh yeah. To Wong Foo, I loved it too and it’s kind of sad to say goodbye to
Patrick Swayze in a way after all these years. What a way to go. We didn’t really
get along that well sometimes on the set but it was never really anything serious.
Sometimes we had fun and sometimes we were kind of like PMSing (laughter).
Rage: Your ability to bring to light so many different characters with your dialect, has that
always been a natural skill for you?
JL: I learned it in the neighborhood. I grew up in Jackson Heights Queens which
was…it was like The Tower of Babel and the amount of voices that you heard. Rage: Your voice work in Ice Age. Did you say to your 9 and 10 year olds, there’s Daddy, he’s a
[John switches it on and goes into the voice of a Jamaican] “Where you going sloth.
John today?” [then switches to a Jewish man’s voice] What the hell you doing? You JL: Slob? Is that what you called me?
stepping in my garden again?” There were so many voices and accents that you Rage: (laughter) No! Sloth. Have they seen it?
can’t help it, it just tuned your ear like if you grew up playing music or something. JL: They saw it [the first Ice Age] when they were growing up but they were
Rage: Which comedian of the past do you most relate to? weirded out by it. They didn’t understand the concept of it. They kind of heard a
JL: I’d like to say…I relate to the most is Richard Pryor. He’s ahead of everybody. voice that sounds vaguely like their dad coming out of this creature. They didn’t
He could do voices, tell stories and get raw about himself. He’s a great storyteller, like it. By the third one they were like “I wanna be in it. Get me a voice daddy! Put
all that and political. me as your son and I can talk like this” (with a lisp). Which is pretty funny.
12 RAGE monthly | MARCH 2010
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