Arkansas may be better known for hog-hollerin’ contests and a president then comedy but the excitement is pretty much the same when Etta May takes the stage. Clad in a floral blouse and polyester pants, sporting a print bandanna and pointy glasses, she may remind you of the lunch lady from your old school or your deranged Uncle Zeke in drag. But make no mistake Etta May is for real.
A veritable steamroller of southern sass, she has made audiences howl with laughter from Arkansas to Wyoming.
Born in the sprawling metropolis of Bald Knob, Arkansas, Etta May grew up alongside nine brothers, who referred to their only sister as “the human sacrifice”. In fact, Etta’s parents — her father a potpourri farmer, her mother bedridden by constant childbearing –did not realize Etta was a girl until she required a training bra.
Audiences may already be familiar with Etta from her weekly syndicated radio show called Ask Etta, an advice column carried by over 200 country radio stations in the United States and Canada. Fans of the show write in and Etta May proceeds to give them straight from the hip, no nonsense guidance on life’s little worries, in a way that only Etta can.
Her fan club of over 40,000 Etta Heads, as she calls them, started growing from appearances on such hit shows as Oprah Winfrey, Showtime’s Aspen Comedy Festival, Arsenio Hall and several Comic Strip Live appearances, just to name a few. Her uproarious performance on The Comedy Store’s 15th Anniversary Special, broadcast in prime time on NBC, nearly upstaged such seasoned pros as Robin Williams and Richard Pryor, but then again, even comedy legends move aside when Etta May takes the stage.
“Everything went great. Etta May was hilarious, it all worked out fine.” – Corey Cecil, Bluegrass Regional Mental Health/Mental Retardation Board, Inc.