Mo’Nique / Start with five seasons of the UPN hit The Parkers. Add success as a standup comedian and best-selling author. Pour in one career-changing turn in Precious. Stir in more than 25 awards for that role, sprinkle a handful of “sugar” and you have a recipe for the one and only Mo’Nique, baby. The Weekly caught up with the Queen of Comedy before her gig at the Blaisdell to chat about sex, cake and all things sweet in life.
Hey, Matthew. How are you, sweetie?
Good, thanks. By the way, my goal’s to get you to call me “sweetie,” “sugar,” or “baby” at least six more times during this interview.
[Laughs] I’m gonna do my best, baby. That’s two now. Mark it down!
Where are you at the moment?
Is that where you film The Mo’Nique Show?
And what’re you wearing right now?
What am I…? [Pause] Wearing?
I’m kidding. I read that you used to be a phone sex operator, so I had to ask.
Sugar! OK, I was like, this is going to be a different kind of interview! [Laughs] Well, I actually didn’t work the phones, I worked inside the office, so I did the listening, monitoring the people who called in.
Can you draw any comparisons between phone sex and standup?
You know, I’ll say this. For me in standup, it’s the one place where I am totally free. There’s no editing, no cut, no retakes. It’s just me and that microphone and your bosses sitting in front of you.
And what makes for good sex? I mean, uh, “show”?
Matthew, you little filthy! [Laughs] A great show is when everyone is unguarded–me and the people in front of me –because when everyone is, there’s no judgment.
Sounds like life could be more like standup.
I believe so, baby.
Since people in Hawaii love to eat, what’s the best food-to-life analogy you have?
Like the saying, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”
OK, I want you to listen to that statement. It makes no sense. It’s my cake! Why can’t I have my cake and eat it too? I never understood that because I’m not asking for your piece of cake, sugar.
Keep counting, Matthew!
Speaking of numbers, you’re one of 12 African Americans to win an Oscar for acting; the first African American woman to host a late night show. Add those up and you’re a bit of a trailblazer. Who’re your earliest icons?
Quite a few, which go back historically. Harriet Tubman, Hattie McDaniel, Madam CJ Walker, Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg. The list goes on because there’s so many whose shoulders I stand on. Ones who made a path, so mine wouldn’t be as difficult.
Oprah steps down in September. Plans to add Queen of Talk to your Queen of Comedy throne?
You know what? I like to enjoy the moments I’m in. I can make plans and go down one way, but the universe may say, “Come here, you moving too fast!” But I’ll say this: My dream has always been to be a talk show host. When I saw Oprah on her TV show in Baltimore, People Are Talking, she looked like me, this big, black woman who wasn’t apologetic. I said, “Oh my God, I want to do that.”
I loved the intensity you brought to Precious. Watching that movie, it got to the point I thought you were going to reach through the screen and throw me across my living room. Has the way you accept roles changed since you won the Oscar?
No. I like doing what’s exciting for me. I like doing things, that when it’s all said and done, excite me. And here’s the real kicker, Matthew, I’ve never considered myself an actress, I’m a standup comedian.
I think it’s your fearlessness in that role people responded to, which is present in all your work. Does anything intimidate Mo’Nique?
Being a mom to twin boys?
Nothing in the industry. [Laughs]
Sounds like you do a good job separating your personal from professional life.
Oh my goodness, yes. When I’m home, I’m mommy, a wife, all that other stuff is out there. That Oscar doesn’t mean anything to my kids. They want to play with it.
I read your next project is with Leonardo DiCaprio…
Well, whoever told you hasn’t told me. I haven’t heard anything about it. That’s a first one, Matthew!
Sorry, the Internet told me. [Laughs] Well, I’d love to see you in a movie with Leo. I’ll text him later and have you two connect.
[Laughs] Well, I’ll say this. I am excited to come to Honolulu, get up on stage, be as free as a bird, and have all my bosses fly with me.
Hope you have a great time in Hawaii.
Thank you! Have a beautiful day, baby.