That’s right, I met Rue McClanahan (aka Blanche Devereaux) last week at a meet-and-greet before A Sordid Comedy Affair, the kickoff to the Triangle Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. Y’all, it was incredible!
The event starred Rue, Caroline Rhea and Del Shores, who all work together on Shores’ Sordid Lives show on LOGO.
First of all, I am totally in love with Del now. He is HILARIOUS, and his brand of comedy–sassy, smart-mouthed and Southern-tinged–hit right home for me. My sister and I were crying laughing over the stories he told about his family, swearing he must be our long-lost cousin, as our family pulls some of the same stupid shit.
Caroline Rhea also performed, and she was hilarious and adorable. Of course, I’ve loved her since even before Sabrina the Teenage Witch, so I may be a bit biased.
But of course, for me, Rue was the best. It was so cool because Del and Caroline were both totally aware that it was Rue’s show, and there were no egos or weirdness about that. You can tell they all genuinely like and respect each other.
During the meet-and-greet, Rue patiently and graciously met with dozens of fans, doling out hugs, posing for photos and signing autographs. Even though she recently had knee surgery, she soldiered through and was an absolute delight.
For her performance, she told four stories. The first about a sex scene she shot for Sordid Lives, in which the bed unexpectedly broke. But she and the rest of the crew went with it, and it became an even more hilarious scene.
The next was a behind-the-scenes story from the film Out to Sea. FYI, Elaine Stritch and Dyan Cannon don’t really like each other.
The third was the story of the casting of The Golden Girls. She told us about how they originally wanted her to play Rose, and Betty White to play Blanche. But of course, she felt compelled to be Blanche, and thankfully, that ended up happening. And that change was the spark that prompted Bea Arthur, who wasn’t interested at first, to sign on after Rue talked to her about it.
The final story she told us as she walked off stage. The scene was an after-party at Sardi’s in New York for Bea Arthur’s last Broadway show. Bea was sitting at a table, away from the crowd, when Rue’s husband decided to go say hello. He walked up to Bea, telling her how much he loved her and her show, and that he was Rue’s husband, reminding her they’d met once before, years ago. Bea replied: “You’re Rue’s husband! I love Rue. But Betty? She’s a cunt.”
As you can imagine, it was amazing.