By Chris Azzopardi
Ten years without our favorite cupcake-wearing gonzo, Valerie Cherish, is 10 years too long. But the wait’s over. You were heard.
A decade after The Comeback —the hilariously cringe-y HBO trailblazer that lasted just one season in 2005, starring Lisa Kudrow as Val, a D-lister reaching for (everything underneath) the stars — was axed, it has returned to the network this week … with the Friends actress back as our beloved hot mess.
We chatted with Kudrow — who also has her fourth season on Showtime’s Web Therapy under her belt — about “superhuman” gays, her own comeback and the future of Romy & Michele.
Dallas Voice: Lisa, you don’t know how tempting it is to say “hello” three times to you right now. How often do people quote Valerie in your presence? And how often are they gay men? Lisa Kudrow: Frequently and frequently. You know who the next group is after gay men? College students.
Are you surprised by that? I was surprised … until I got used to it! But it’s fantastic. That’s really thrilling, and then it struck me: Well, of course! They grew up with Housewives of everywhere, and people humiliating themselves on reality TV. When The Comeback first came out, I think that gay men were the only ones who were like, “Yes. I understand. I get it. It’s great, and I understand.”
You know, those are the people I care about the most — the people who really loved the show. That was my only fear after it was all done. Doing it, writing it, shooting it, it was, “Yeah, this is right, this is right.” Then afterwards, “Uh oh, what if it’s not?”
When it comes to Valerie Cherish, what is it about her exactly that we gay men are so drawn to? I’ve been asking myself that too — not ’cause it’s a mystery, but I wonder why. I was watching Will & Grace once and there was this hilarious episode where Karen’s at a theater and she throws her flask and it hits someone in the head, and there’s this joke that gay men wouldn’t care because, “Eh, all in a day.” Getting, like, smacked with something is “all in a day.” So I wonder if that’s what it is — because Valerie gets, you know, humiliated, or humiliates herself, all the time. And it’s like, “Yeah, well, that’s the world.”
The other thing that I love about Valerie is, “All right, someone said something not nice, but you know what? Can’t use that. Got this other thing I gotta do.” She just ignores that that happened and keeps going.
That’s what it is too: She perseveres. Completely perseveres! You can agree with her goal or not, but she’s got it and nothing is getting in her way. There’s something admirable about that; there just is. Except, you know, she’s willing to put up with a lot.