Before there were divas on every channel, Madame was one of the world’s most outrageous, dishing out randy double entendres for years as a guest on Laugh-In, Solid Gold, and Hollywood Squares, where she answered the final question on the last episode of the long-running game show. She even had her own short-lived sitcom, Madame’s Place. More recently, she appeared on Seth MacFarlane’s Family Guy and Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live! with host Andy Cohen.
Her creator, puppeteer-comedian Wayland Flowers, was among the first openly gay entertainers and helped pave the way for many others to come before his untimely death in 1988.
Now that Madame has found a new “straight man” — the talented and funny Gary Holland — the comedy legend is back onstage, chasing laughs and, of course, men.
We caught up with the notorious cougar, who has an affinity for gay men, before her upcoming aristocratic ascension to ask about her return to the spotlight, the first time she met Sanker, and where a “Dame” goes to get a drink in Palm Springs.
Gay.net: Where have you been keeping yourself?
Madame: Oh, honey, I’ve been traveling, everywhere from Bangkok to Bangladesh. I’ve done everything twice and loved it both times. Now I’m performing again, trying to put a smile on everyone’s face, even if I have to do it one man at a time.
When did you first meet Jeffrey Sanker?
I met him back in the Studio 54 days. He was so young. He spilled a drink in my lap and, being a gentleman, insisted on having it cleaned. Well, we went in the back and worked it out. And then later, we worked it back in! I slipped him my number — and it only took him 22 years to call me. Men!
Which is your favorite: pool party or underwear party?
Which is the one where everyone ends up naked and wet?
What music are you listening to these days?
Oh, I just love those sexy DJs, Dave and Gerardo. And Pornstar. With a name like that, how can you go wrong? But right now, I’m listening to the voices in my head sing Diana Ross’s “Love Hangover.” I think I need a cocktail.
Where do you like to go in Palm Springs?
I usually run into Wang’s for a quickie and sometimes stay for dinner. I also enjoy a good, long ride, and the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway isn’t bad either. Or I follow my nose to Toucan’s for the drag shows. But the original cougar is definitely in her natural habitat when she’s tracking go-go boys at Hunter’s. Honey, I hit all the bars. After all, this is the desert and you simply must stay hydrated.
What is the most important thing to have when you travel?
A well-stocked minibar and a sense of humor. You will definitely need both, but not necessarily in that order.