Is there a proper way to lunch with a diva? When Sharron Matthews comes to my place for a visit, I decide to serve cucumber sandwiches and lemonade on my tree-lined balcony. It seems appropriate somehow.
“I always wear a boob dress onstage,” she declares, sitting on a patio chair. “I really prefer jeans and a T-shirt, but about seven years ago, I felt like I needed a superhero suit onstage. So I got a sponsorship deal with Fashion Crimes."
Sharron will launch her new show, Sharron Matthews Superstar: Jesus Thinks I’m Funny
, at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre on July 23 and 24; then she’ll take it to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and London’s West End. Meanwhile, back here, we can watch her on Canada Sings!
, a new TV show starting Saturday, Aug 3 on Global.
Sharron is known for her colourful use of dirty words. “I’ve tried to work clean and stop myself from swearing, but it looks like I’m having an aneurysm every couple of minutes. My aunt said, ‘Sharron, you’re such a lovely singer, but why do you have to swear all the time?’ And I said, ‘You know, Auntie Pat, Jesus thinks I’m funny.’ And that became the title of the new show.”
Clearly, Sharron Matthews loves to perform. “I hope to be doing this till I’m 104,” she says, taking a bite of a sandwich. “Nothing bothers me onstage. Once, some guy yelled, ‘If you do one more ballad, I’ll kill myself.’ So I said, ‘Could you do it outdoors so as to not get blood on the rest of us?’”
Dare anyone text during her show? “Not anymore. My audience knows that if they do, they will be properly humiliated. It’s fun.” Sharron begins by turning up the house lights and going to meet every single person in the audience before the show. “I tell them that I’m going to leave, then come back, and that they are going to give me a standing ovation, and it works every time.”
“Would you say that gays are a good audience for you?” I ask, innocently enough. The question is met with a huge, long cackle, so yes. For years, Sharron built her brand hosting a monthly cabaret called Sharron’s Party. It was inspired by none other than Elaine Stritch. “We did Showboat
together for a year and a half. One day, she said to me, ‘I hear you want to do cabaret.’ But I said, ‘Oh, it’s hard. There are no rooms to perform in, and Canada’s not very artistic that way,’ and she just said, ‘Shut the fuck up and do it already.’”
Sharron’s singing career was virtually accidental. “I was a dancer who ripped a hamstring cheerleading. Yes, Paul, I was a cheerleader. So then I auditioned for the high school musical as a singer and have never looked back.” Sharron has been married to actor George Masswohl for 17 years. “He’s a handsome piece of work. I’ve known him since I was 16. I don’t know what I’d do without him.” The couple just moved to Stratford, Ontario. They have no kids, but they treat their dogs like children.
“I look at the career paths of Margaret Cho, Kathy Griffin and Sandra Bernhard. I like the way they market themselves,” she says, taking a sip of lemonade. “I want to work all over the world. I want my own hit record and to write an awesome book that everyone loves. I want to be cast in a movie as a kung fu person. I want as many chances as possible to do interesting work. I can’t picture any other type of life.”
We finish our sandwiches and lemonade, and it is time for Sharron to go. Before she leaves, I ask how her 2010 tour, entitled World Domination, panned out. “World domination is still happening,” she assures me, “one audience member at a time.”
Sharron Matthews Superstar: Jesus Thinks I’m Funny Sat, July 23 & Sun, July 24 Buddies in Bad Times Theatre buddiesinbadtimes.com