Interview with Shrimp Cocktail
Shrimp Cocktail is “One in a Krillion”. This self-described “Crustacean Sensation” is executive producer of the award winning, Shrimply the Best Burlesque. Shrimp can be seen tickling and titillating audiences while stripping out of one ludicrous costume or another. (There’s a peeled shrimp joke in there somewhere. Anyway…) I had the pleasure of chatting with Cleveland’s favorite “Prawn Star” as we discussed burlesque, comedy and shitting yourself…
BT: How would you describe Cleveland, Ohio?
SC: Um, it’s Ohio. So that’s that. It’s nothing super great, but it’s nothing super terrible. It’s here.
BT: How would you describe Shrimp Cocktail?
SC: Oh god. A weeny. That’s it.
BT: I would describe you as a burlesque performer of the comedic ilk. Yes?
BT: You also a producer of such shows.
BT: Can you name some of the themes of some of your shows?
SC: We’ve had two Spongebob-themed shows. The first was Spongeboob Nopants: The Burlesque Expedition to Bikini Bottom. The second was Spongeboob Nopants 2: Atlantis No-Pantis. I want to keep doing them, just to keep coming up with the titles. We’ve also done a lot of food-themed shows. Our last one was The Nudie Foodie. Before that we had done Diners, Drive-Ins and Dames. We also had an animal-themed show called, The Birds and the Boob(Bees).
BT: Would you describe this as Nerdlesque?
SC: I never really thought of it that way. When I think of Nerdlesque, I think of Star Wars, Star Trek and Anime. I have a lot of Spongebob acts. I also have five Spongebob tattoos with more in the works.
BT: Wow, that’s commitment. What are some of you Spongebob acts?
SC: I do a fan dance to Best Day Ever.
BT: I love that song.
SC: I have one as Spongebob from the movie, when he gets the Goofy Goober rock at the end. I have one as Mister Krabs with assels. (*Assels: Tassels on your ass.*) If you don’t know Spongebob, it’s still ridiculous and stupid and I hope you’ll still have a good time watching.
BT: Do you do a Squidward?
SC: Not yet. I want to sing and do a tap number as Squidward, like from the musical. I’m very picky and I don’t want to do a Squidward until I can figure out how to have the extra legs. But it’s going to be a lot of work to tap dance and sing at the same time, let alone adding two legs in there.
BT: It’s like a triathlon.
SC: Yeah, I’m excited. Assuming I can do it.
BT: Can you have a burlesque story you can share?
SC: Of course. I was on my way to Columbus for a pin-up contest. I wasn’t performing burlesque, but they had a burlesque show. Now, my wrists were bothering me, so I was taking ibuprofen for a few days beforehand. And on my way down I trusted a fart a little too much, and those ibuprofens loosened everything up and…I pooped my pants. I was like, “I’m too young for this!”
BT: Or too old.
SC: I cried. I called my mother, crying. Then I waddled my ass into a McDonald’s, but I didn’t have any wipes. It’s McDonald’s. What am I going to do? Go up to the counter and be like, “Hello, may I have some wet naps?”
BT: Too bad it wasn’t a Kentucky Fried Chicken.
SC: So I waddled in and put some extra paper towels in my underwear because I was wearing a thong. I didn’t think I had pooped myself that bad. I was like, “Uh-oh, some skids.” But it was a lie. It was more than just skids. So, I went to Walmart I bought some wipes, went to the bathroom at Walmart, wiped up real quick and got dressed. I think I already had my makeup done, thank God, because I would have been fucked because I got there so much later than I thought I would. And I went out there and my winning personality won the contest!
SC: I didn’t feel so bad about shitting my pants then.
BT: I’m glad you were already made up. That’s a life lesson right there. Always show up in full makeup, just in case you need extra time to shit your pants.
SC: I’m so anal about that.
BT: Now, why do you think you like to do more comedic burlesque than traditional or straight burlesque?
SC: I think it’s just more fun. I know that you can have fun doing classic acts or straight sexy acts. But I’m not really a sexual person. When I do sexual stuff on stage, I don’t think of it as sexual. I think of it as part of the punchline. I used to do an act to Pour Some Sugar On Me. I had donuts on my boobs and one on my cooster. I would take my glove off and play with the donut downstairs and I just thought it was the funniest thing ever. Technically it’s insinuating masturbation. But in my mind I was like, people are going to think this is hilarious! Whenever I’ve seen musicals and shows, if someone did something hilarious, I’ve always found that more memorable than the main character. I gravitate towards the comedic relief. I like making people smile. I like smiling.
BT: Laughter is an aphrodisiac. People want to bone the funny person.
SC: I want those comedy groupies, what can I say?
BT: I understand you have a drag persona that you’re considering debuting?
SC: Yes. His name is Fred Calamari. I fell in love with the thought of him. When I first started, I would do more masculine acts. Almost every act I did, I was dressed as a man. And most of them, I didn’t have to do dressed as a man. It could have worked for any gender. But for some reason, I felt that adding a mustache was necessary. And it is. Just the idea of this quirky old Italian guy named Fred Calamari, what a stupid name. It sounds like a fake name somebody gives you when they’re trying to sell you watches out of their trench coat. Maybe I’ll sell fried calamari out of my trench coat. I already have one piece of costuming planned out. It’s a blazer that looks like the checkered tablecloths that they have at Italian restaurants. Then I want spaghetti and meatballs on each shoulder, dripping down. I actually found a bowtie that looks like bowtie pasta. Stupid is what I want to go for. Over the top and kitschy. And it doesn’t necessarily have to always be something Italian, but it probably will be.
BT: Well, you’re Italian, so that makes it okay, right?
SC: Always. I’ve always wanted to do an Italian-themed show, but I was afraid people would think they have to be Italian to apply. But no. Anybody can do anything Italian.
BT: It’s one of the few groups I think you can still do that with. I think you could get away with it.
SC: Oh yeah.
BT: I mean, I’m a WASP. Anybody can mock a WASP. I can’t imagine there would be much of a backlash. Now, why did you choose the name, Shrimp Cocktail?
SC: Originally, I went by Jumbo Shrimp and that worked out for one whole day. And then I was like, Shrimp Cocktail! That’s fancy and it’s got Shrimp in there. That’s the perfect name. And I didn’t even think of the branding at that point but the amount of shrimp puns I’ve been able to use.
BT: I love the name. It’s eye-catching, easy to remember and invites puns, which I appreciate.
SC: That’s what I want are puns. My name’s not super punny but I love it.
BT: I’m glad to see you coming out of your shell.
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