A SIT DOWN INTERVIEW WITH FRANK MARINO ABOUT HIS DIVAS SHOW IN VEGAS: A MUST READ FOR ANYONE LOOKING TO SEE IT
If you are thinking about checking out the Frank Marino show, you should definitely do so. It’s been getting rave reviews in Vegas, even other celebrities have come to see it. It’s been praised by so many. We thought this would be the perfect time to sit down and talk to Frank, find out a few things.
HOW WAS IT MEETING JOAN RIVERS?
That’s a very interesting story. I was just another law-abiding citizen, who happens to be gay. I was doing my Vegas thing. I mean, I have been doing this for over 30 years now. Joan Rivers was playing one of the venues here in the city one night. I went in drag, as her, for Halloween. She found out about me, somehow. I was allowed to come backstage to meet her one night. I walked up to her door and knocked. She was so nice and welcoming. I told her that I do a drag version of her and she like it. That’s pretty much it.
HOW DID YOU GET TO DO THE FLORIDA SHOW FOR LA CAGE?
Well that also happened that night. As I came to see her in her dressing room, there was a guy there named Lou. He ran the whole “An evening at La Cage.” He liked what he saw and hired me. He hired me to do Joan for the Florida shows. In reality, I do owe Joan a lot for making this all happen. If I had not been there that night, things might not have happened the way they did.
HOW DID JOAN’S DAUGHTER FEEL ABOUT YOU AND YOUR ACT?
This is sort of a continuation of the above, without being too wordy. When this all went down, it was about 30 years ago. Now here we are, 30 years later. I get the news that Joan has died. This news is still surreal to me. You have to understand, Joan’s name pops up in my home at least ten times a day. When she slipped into a coma and died, it was like a member of my own family died.
I was invited to the funeral by Melissa. I told her after the funeral that I would be stopping the Joan thing for a while. I wanted to do it out of respect for what happened. It was Melissa who told me to go on. She told me that her mom would have wanted me to carry on. I used to look at my Joan thing as an impersonation act. Now I look at it as a tribute.
IS IT FUN TO BE A WOMAN?
Wow. That’s a good question. Yes and no. I feel it’s very hard to be a woman. You have to understand something here. I am a man for 8 hours each day. Then I end up being a woman for 8 hours. The last 8 hours I eat and sleep. I think I have found a new respect for women, a respect I never had before. When you live both sides of the fence, you get to understand both sides. Society puts a lot of pressure on women, you know, to be what they want them to be. Living life as a woman for 8 hours each day, the way I do, it gives you a better perspective on this. It’s both enlightening and inspiring.
HAVE YOU SPENT A LOT OF MONEY TO “BE THAT WOMAN?”
In some ways, yes. You have the plastic surgery to stay young. You have the botox and fillers. You also have the costumes and makeup. I mean, it does get expensive. I think I have spent close to $2 million over the last 30 years to keep doing what I do. This is not an exact amount, but it’s pretty close. It’s all worth it, though. I wouldn’t change what I do for anything.
IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOU AND BRUCE JENNER?
Yes. I am doing things for entertainment. That’s it. What Bruce did, when he became Cat, he,ultimately, felt he was born in the wrong body. He feels he’s a woman, in spite of it all. I don’t know if this is how he truly feels now, but this is the main difference. I am playing characters, like Joan, Dolly and the legend herself, Madonna. I take off the wigs, persona and makeup at the end of the night. Bruce/Cat can’t take it off. I am still a man. I feel at home being a man. Bruce doesn’t.