30 Seconds With… Bruce Vilanch


In this weekly feature, WCBS culture critic Jim Taylor shares 30 seconds with the theatre stars and upstarts of NYC. From Broadway to Off-off, Jim tracks down the talent and gets them to spill just enough for our collectively shortened attention spans.

Whew. We can finally settle down from all that Tony-Award madness. We only hope Neil Patrick Harris can take a breath or two. Greatest show opening ever? We’re going with “yes.” Let’s take a break this week and head to the ritzy speakeasy cellar that is Broadway’s cabaret: 54 Below. Jim Taylor is with our favorite double-chin blondie…

Jim Taylor: We’re talking with the fabulously funny Bruce Vilanch, who’s doing a couple of nights here this week. Doing… what?

Bruce Vilanch: Well, it’s not stand-up, not characters. It’s just me — and I’m a strange character. I start with a lot of political, topical stuff and work my way into stories of my life.

JT: You’ve certainly got a lot of those. The Emmy-award winning Hollywood Squares, behind the scenes at, what, more than 20 Academy Awards shows? You’ve really carved out a unique niche for yourself. I mean, there’s no one else like you, right?

BV: Twenty-three Oscar shows. And I guess you’re right. Not so much since Shelly Winters died. Although Michael Moore is always in danger of being mistaken for me.

JT: As Steve Martin used to ask himself: How can you be so fucking funny? Bruce?

BV: Hahaha. How can I…? I believe it’s a way of looking at the world that you get when you’re a kid. Observing the world and letting everybody hear your take on it. Let it build up, and it becomes their style. I’m one of those people who is always laughing and being funny.

Catch Bruce Vilanch this Thursday and Friday night at 54 Below. For more theatre talk and reviews from Jim, head to CBS New York.