Logo TV founder Matt Farber’s Outlandish performance series continues on Saturday, Jan. 26 with actress, activist and LGBT ally Fran Drescher performing a new show at the Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale.
Drescher, who is most famous for her iconic role as Fran Fine in “The Nanny,” is a uterine cancer survivor and the author of the best-selling book, “Cancer Schmancer.” Drescher is now an outspoken health care advocate and LGBT rights activist, who has served as a Public Diplomacy Envoy for Women’s Health Issues for the U.S. State Department.
Funny girl Fran Drescher shares-in her unique voice-both poignant and hilarious stories of her life. An ordinary girl from Queens, Drescher threads together recollections, vivid stories and humorous characters, as well as memories of career, family and travel. And, don’t forget “fat” Fran, “thin” Fran and “everything-in-between” Fran. You’ll laugh and cry as you enjoy a great schmooze-fest.
It was a pleasure to sit down with Fran for this Exclusive Hotspots interview:
Were you always an entertainer?
I think I always had an appreciation for “I Love Lucy” and entertainment, and always had fantasies of being famous and living a bigger life. However, it wasn’t until I got into high school that I started being in plays and performing. I always enjoyed it but didn’t have an outlet until high school.
What was your first professional gig?
I did extra work in New York to get into the union. Then my first real job was a Root Beer commercial followed by a McDonald’s commercial, and then got lucky and got a part in the movie “Saturday Night Fever.”
How did you get cast in “The Nanny”?
I created the show, and executive produced it with my partner Peter Jacobson. It was an amazing opportunity and something I am still very grateful for.
Prior to that I did a pilot that didn’t get picked up, so I decided to the South of France till next pilot season. I was the plane going to France when the president of CBS walked in and I started to talk to him, and the rest was history. ..I am a carpe diem type of girl….I persuaded him to hear my brand of comedy…and the rest is history!
Did you know it would be a hit immediately or when did you realize that?
It felt like we caught lightening in a bottle the night we shot the pilot. The audience totally got it even though they didn’t know the characters. We weren’t sure it would be a hit, but we knew we had something special. Surprisingly, the geographic areas the network were concerned about embraced the show first.
Are you still close with any of the cast of “The Nanny”?
Yes I am actually having dinner tomorrow night with Charles Shaughnessy and his wife and our executive team. We all keep in touch and I am very close to Renee Taylor. I just spoke to her 30 minutes ago.
I loved your show “Happily Divorced.” Was it cathartic to make?
Yeah, but it was not totally real. When I wrote my book Cancer Shmancer that was very cathartic as that was super real. The series was a great way for Peter and I to get back into our groove of writing/producing partners. I like to do shows that are about something. Everybody has a wright to live an authentic life, and I was thrilled to have a show that was exploring a relationship that had not been explored on television before. I ran into the executives recently and they said it was a big mistake that they took Happily Divorced off the air. That made me feel good!
Since you mentioned your book, Cancer Schmancer, can you tell me about the organization you started?
CancerSchmancer.org is a very important and radical company and I encourage everyone to check us out and sign up, its free membership. Everyone must start realizing how you live equals how you feel. We are a nonprofit, and we are in the business of spreading the word…and letting people know what they are doing to drive their own poor health. Start looking at what you are putting in, on, and around you… Become the change that we so desperately need. We the consumer can dictate manufacturing trends….if everyone stopped drinking cola today they would stop making it tomorrow. The consumer wields all the power! CancerSchmancer.org tries to create educated consumers.
How do you maintain such a close relationship with your ex?
It’s a commitment to do that, as it’s not always easy. Its knowing when to say let’s take a break, before an argument spins out of control. It’s a very positive way to handle any kind of conflict.
You have been such a strong supporter of LGBT rights. Have gay people always been in your life, and what made you become an advocate?
Gay people have always been in my life. Once you get more enmeshed in the arts you become such good friends with all different people, and they become important to you. Gender and orientation blended. I was always the one that went the extra mile for the underdog, I think everyone should be treated equally. My dad used to always say ”It’s nice to be nice.”
Describe yourself in three words?
Full of life.
What should our readers expect from your show “Schmoozing with Fran Drescher”
I think they should expect all the colors of the rainbow. It’s not a standup act but there will be some stand up, it’s not a Q&A Show but there will be Q&A, some things will be funny and some things touching. One thing it will be for sure is real. I hope that when the audience leaves they will know me better but also consider things for themselves, and how they look at life. I don’t want to do an act, I want to do me. I tend to have a real authentic heartwarming experience with the audience.
What does the future hold for you?
I will continue to do writing and of course work with Cancerschmancey.org, I think I would like to consider downsizing my life and live a little smaller. I have on my bucket list to live in Europe for a bit. I also feel like I have another book in me. But the most important thing is that I continue to practice being present in my own life and living in gratitude.
I am also working on having the courage to say “I’m Sorry” when I am wrong and speak with love even when I am angry.
Catch Fran in “Schmoozing With Fran Drescher” on Saturday, Jan. 26, at 8 pm, at the Sunshine Cathedral (1480 S.W. 9th Ave., Fort Lauderdale). Tickets start at $50 at OutlandishFL.com. Premium seating and VIP tickets (including an artist meet-and-greet) are also available.