(This interview has been edited for clarity and length.)
Q: I remember watching your special "Gynecological Wonder" and it was like watching the Johnny Carson show, you know, in 1975. Every famous person I've ever wanted to know pops up — Ben Stiller, Susan Sarandon, Peter Dinklage, whatever. How did that happen?
A: How and why, right? I don’t know. I think at that point in my career, I’m a middle-aged woman singing cabaret on Comedy Central, which is not necessarily their target, what they normally do. So we wanted to show people that there’s lots of different kinds of people who come to my shows and enjoy them.
Q: I want to understand what made you who you are, because it seems like you're a very special figure. You are a great singer. And there are times when I can imagine you playing a children's concert, totally clean.
A: That’s how I got my equity card. I did a children’s theater tour. And I was the mother in “Hansel and Gretel.” We had to load out all the equipment, set up the show ourself, do it, get back in the thing, load it back up and drive to the next place. So I am actually a verified children’s entertainer.
Q: But then, I was I was leaving the house and my 10-year-old son said, "Who do you have on today?" And I said, "Bridget Everett." And he said, "Oh, I'm going to look her up." I said, "Hold off, I might need to supervise that." Because there is this other side of you — the Joe's Pub, cabaret side, whatever you want to call it, that would make Redd Foxx look like "Free to Be … You and Me." So that's the person I'm trying to understand. To start, you're from Manhattan, Kan., which is one of the greatest places for people to live. Right?
A: That’s true. It’s one of those great small towns, and it is a great place to grow up. But even though I had a lot of friends and stuff, I felt like an outsider. And my mom was an educator. She was a schoolteacher. But she had such a foul mouth at home. I’m the youngest of six kids, and everybody would make fun of each other until somebody would cry. That would be me usually. And so I just sort of felt like a little bit like an outsider in my own home, too. Because I couldn’t keep up with my older brothers and sisters. They were so funny. So I don’t know where this has all sort of come from, but I’m highly influenced by brothers and sisters and definitely my mom.
Q: You got a scholarship to Arizona State. Was it for music or sports?
A: For singing, vocal performance.
Q: You also were on the Arizona State swim team. That's no small thing to be a competitive swimmer at the highest college level.
A: I only did it for a year, but it was incredible. I got to swim against Olympians who totally dusted me, but I got to swim against Olympians. And I met some pretty hot swimmers, some Brazilian Olympians who were very charming back in the day.
Q: You were in some musical theater productions at Arizona State. "The Ballad of Baby Doe."
A: I have a long track record of never getting the part. And I did get a small part in “The Ballad of Baby Doe,” which is an opera, you know, back when I was still singing opera, but I’ve never really been able to get the lead role. So I’ve been hammering away in New York City for a long time, I guess still trying to get a part.
Q: So this person onstage, is it you? Is it a different view?
A: It is me. I feel like it’s the me I want to be, like in real life. I’m comfortable around people I know, obviously, but people that I don’t know, I’m get nervous, my palms sweat. Quarantine’s obviously been very difficult for many people, but for me in some ways, it’s easier. I’m just like a hermit and I isolate a lot. I always think every time before I go onstage, “Why do I do this to myself?” But me and the guys in the band would do a cheer, like dig deep, fly high or whatever it is. They’re always ready to go.
Q: I want to play a game here where I'm going to ask you about a few of the famous people you know, and I would like you to tell me how you met them and then something we should know about them. Let's start with Amy Schumer. That's a good one, because you guys are good buddies, right?
A: Yeah. I met Amy at the Montreal Comedy Festival. And so we clicked that night and obviously we both love Rombauer Chardonnay. We both love drinking and we both have like sort of, you know, dirty senses of humor. But the thing about Amy is that she’s very, very generous — and to strangers and helping people out. And she’s a real solid, solid person and friend.
Q: Adam Horovitz from the Beastie Boys. He plays in your band. And it is wonderful to watch the looks he gives you as you do certain Bridget Everett things. And his wife, Kathleen Hanna, is a legend. Tell us about those two.
A: I had heard that Adam and Kathleen would show up to some shows that we were doing downtown. This is before I had the band. We had the show called “Our Hit Parade” where we did covers of pop songs and they would come. Then my dad died and I was really depressed. And my friend was like, “You’ve got to get out and get some vitamin D during the daytime. Come and join my softball team.” So I go to play on the softball team. And it’s Kathleen’s team and Adam is the equipment manager. That’s how I got to know them. I remember when I got to the first game, Kathleen walked right up to me. She’s like, “Oh, my God, I’m such a big fan of yours.” And same thing with Adam.
Q: And then in your special, you end up in bed with Peter Dinklage and Susan Sarandon.
A: Yeah, that’s true. Dreams don’t have deadlines, do they? I stole that from LL Cool J. But anyway, yes, she had been to a show and I was going to do the special. I’m just going to ask her if she’ll be in this special. She was like, “Yeah, what can I do?” And I said, “We have this idea. We’re going to get you and me in bed, and maybe Peter Dinklage will get in the bed, too. And what do you think about whipped cream?” She was like, “Tell me where’s my mark and what do I say? And let’s go.”