When did you first realize that you loved Whoopi Goldberg? Was it with her brilliant Oscar-nominated (but shockingly snubbed) debut role as Celie in The Color Purple? Or was it her hysterical (but clearly given in apology for snubbing her for The Color Purple) Oscar-winning performance as Oda Mae Brown in Ghost?
Maybe it was as the giant Frisbee-helmeted Guinan on Star Trek, doling out wisdom to the officers of the Starship Enterprise. Or the similarly-named and similarly-omniscient role of Gaia on the unforgettable animated series Captain Planet and the Planeteers. (I know. Spooky, huh?)
And who could forget the joyful noises and amazing outfits of Sister Act (and Sister Act 2)? It makes you feel good just thinking about them.
She’s an iconic comedian (hello, remember all of those Comic Relief specials with Billy Crystal and Robin Williams?), a go-to host in Hollywood (a la The Oscars and The View) and a feisty and articulate political advocate for liberals everywhere.
And she’s doing it all without eyebrows. I just love it.
My Whoopi love started with the 1986 film Jumping Jack Flash. Something about that terribly dated caper comedy left an immediate and indelible mark upon my heart and made me want to consume every piece of media she has ever created.
What I discovered when I started researching Goldberg’s career was a rich library of unbelievable stand-up comedy and theatrical work, including a series of groundbreaking one woman shows. Much of this early work can be seen in the DVD special, Whoopi: Back to Broadway, where she performs many of those early pieces that skyrocketed her into the public eye.
If you want to see the realized potential of experimental theatre and the most intimate work of a truly gifted performer in her element, you have to check out this performance.
Saturday, Goldberg will be at the Long Center for a single evening, and, quite frankly, it is a moment I’ve been waiting for for approximately 20 years. I have no idea what she will be doing or saying or singing or preaching. But it doesn’t make a difference. She’s Whoopi, and that’s all that matters.
If you can get there, do it. She’s a living legend. She’s got her EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony combination!), and she doesn’t give a damn what you think about her. She’s seen and done and been through it all. And we are all the better for it.
Hooray for Whoopi!
Whoopi Goldberg performs Saturday, May 18 at the Long Center. Tickets are still available.