BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
“I am lucky I am where I am because I was always out,” says Cantone, a New Yorker who last week celebrated his first wedding anniversary with husband Jerry Dixon, a Broadway musical director.
Dixon has written two new songs for Cantone’s Hard Rock gig, his first full-scale South Florida performance in about eight years. He plans to take the new one-man show to Broadway sometime in 2013.
Cantone, who says he prefers singing to telling jokes, will reprise some material from his previous show, Laugh Whore, which played New York and was recorded for Showtime. “Sometimes people yell out for the old shit and you have to give them what they want.”
Will Cantone perform his blistering impersonations of Liza Minnelli and Judy Garland?
“You bet your ass!” he says. “I have a brand new Liza number that Jerry wrote. Some new stuff with her and her mother. She doesn’t like it, but I don’t give a shit. I don’t want to hang out with her anyways. She’s a brilliant performer, but she’s exhausting.”
Minnelli, who sang Single Ladies when Cantone’s character Anthony married Stanford in the 2010 film Sex and the City 2, once told him, “I don’t mind you making fun of me, but you make fun of my mother!’
“I said, ‘I don’t make fun of your mother, I put her on a pedestal,’ ” Cantone responded. “I do her at her very best in the 1960s. I’m doing [Liza] now. I don’t do her fucked up. She thinks I’m doing her drunk. I love her. I don’t do people I don’t love.”
Being gay has sometimes hurt Cantone’s career, he says. “I was booked on Johnny Carson in Oct. 1986. I was booked with Lily Tomlin. A week before, I got a call [from a Tonight Show producer]. ‘I looked at the tape, and your act has a gay sensibility,’ so they canceled it.”
Cantone says his most loyal fan base is not gay men. “They like Margaret Cho, they like Kathy Griffin. I’m guilty of that, too. They like the women performers, and I don’t resent it. My biggest audience is straight, and that’s how I got where I am. I’ve never been on Ellen, and The View has kept me alive.”
At 52, Cantone says he feels old (“Everybody gets younger, isn’t it horrifying?”) and doesn’t like new media.
According to Cantone’s Wikipedia entry, he was born in Stoneham, Mass. — and Sydney, Australia.
“One time Wikipedia said I had a thing about monkeys. I don’t give a s--- about monkeys! Like I’m Norma Desmond [in Sunset Boulevard] and I keep a dead monkey in a box,” he says. “My good twin was born in Sydney, Australia, and my bad twin was born in Stoneham, Mass. Well, I was born in Stoneham, and I don’t like monkeys!”
As for Twitter and Facebook, “just shoot me in the fucking head!” he says. “There are so many times people post on Facebook, ‘This is a great scene from a great movie. You’ll enjoy it.’ Well, I didn’t enjoy it! ... They take pictures of their meals: Puke on a plate! Enjoy it!”
If you go
Mario Cantone appears 8 p.m. Thursday at Hard Rock Live, 1 Seminole Way, near Hollywood. Tickets $39-$69. www.hardrocklivehollywoodfl.com.