Bette & Barry, reborn

Posted on 12 Apr 2012 at 6:05pm

They may not work The Continental Baths, but Amy and Freddy might be the second coming of Midler and Manilow, with a decidedly fraternal bent

ALL THE WORLD’S THEIR STAGE | Music-comedy duo Amy and Freddy bring their famed cruise line act to terra firma this weekend.

ALL THE WORLD’S THEIR STAGE | Music-comedy duo Amy and Freddy bring their famed cruise line act to terra firma this weekend.

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer

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AMY & FREDDY
The Rose Room,
3911 Cedar Springs Road (inside S4). April 13 at 7 p.m. $25–$30.
ReactionShows.com.

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After 15 years together, Amy Armstrong and Freddy Allen couldn’t get much closer. The duo has made themselves a gay household name with their headlining performances on many LGBT cruises over that time, and with a few albums under their belt and countless live performances behind them, it took heartbreak to bring them even closer.

“We hadn’t done a CD in five years and in the meantime, we both went through divorces,” Armstrong says. “So we spent a lot of time together and in a way, this is a breakup album, but it also just deals with life any of us go through. I love this album so much.”

“This album” is their fifth CD, We Get Along. On it, they don’t get all Adele on their listeners, but they do touch on some of the ache that comes with the loss of a relationship through a mix of jazz and blues. Armstrong feels that tone resonates with anyone and that music really has a healing power.

“I wrote a couple for Amy and she sings them so beautifully,” Allen adds. “These songs are our songs, but people can hear themselves in them. This experience really brought us close.”

“Yeah, he’s like my brother,” Armstrong says. “But not my gay husband like everyone says.”

And then there’s the comedic side of the two. Even with an album that weighs heavy with emotion, the two don’t stay serious for too long. As musicians, it’s clear they appreciate the connection they can have with listeners, but Armstrong is quick to add, “I wanna make ‘em laugh!”

Local comic Paul J. Williams (who will be the opening act when they perform this Friday at Station 4) compares them to the reincarnation of Barry Manilow and Bette Midler. Armstrong basks in this compliment. Midler is her inspiration along with Mae West for dirty, risqué comedy — that and the bathhouses they were famous for playing.

“I’ve been in those bathhouses, but it takes 11 towels to cover me up, so I don’t have much fun,” she says.

“I think I’ve been in more of those, but she gets more action than I do,” Allen zings.

The two were open to simple questions about each other and discovered they make themselves laugh as much as they do their audiences.

Who’s funnier?  “I’m not a funny person at all,” says Allen. “I try to keep my mouth shut and be like Ed McMahon.”

“He’ll start telling a joke and I just say ‘uh-oh, May Day!’ You hear the plane. But he’ll pull out these zingers from nowhere and I’m like, ‘Where’d you come from?’” says Armstrong.

Who’s dirtier?  Armstrong: “I’m dirtier on stage but he can be dirty when he wants to. Buttless chaps. All I’m sayin.’”

Who’s on top?  “Would you say we’re both power bottoms?” Armstrong laughs. “I like the top but I’m kinda enjoying the bottom a little. Oh, who needs labels?” says Allen.

Musical indulgences:  “He loves Liberace. And he admits it,” accuses Armstrong. Allen has his own take. “She listens to all this hardcore punk stuff and heavy metal shit. I’m like, ‘What is this?’”

Who is gayer?  Armstrong: “He is gayer, but I have my queeny moments.”

“She’s had more pussy than I have,” says Allen … “Except that I love cock,” replied Armstrong.

Who works the cruise perks the best?  “We both do that and I get so spoiled,” says Armstrong. “It’s gonna be hard to date a straight man when all these gay men give me fabulous gifts.”

“Yeah, I have sex with a lot of guys and I don’t get anything,” Allen says. “Except a rash,” she zings.

Hidden talents: Allen: “She makes people happy. She lights up and then they light up. That’s really hers.”

“Aww … I think that’s pretty awesome,” blushes Armstrong. “I think yours is that you know how to bring people together. You love entertaining and it’s harder to have groups hang out when people get older but with you, they always wanna hang out.”

How sweet. Just like brother and sister.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 13, 2012.

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