Buddy Beaverhausen: For anyone who doesn't know you or what you do, what would you tell him/her about yourself professionally?
Richard Skipper: As an artist, my job is to lift people up! If people are going to spend time and money to be with me, I want that time to be uplifting and I don't want to offend anyone. And, as I'm not one to preach censorship, I do believe each of us has a moral compass as to what we choose to or not to put out to the world. And that's my job. There's a difference between an entertainer and a performer. A seal is a performer! An entertainer, on the other hand, wants to make people happy, and that's where I would like to place myself.BB: Let me ask you to fill in this comment: "If there's one thing that drives me crazy, it's....".
RS: Mediocrity. Absolutely! We're living in a culture that celebrates the lowest of the low. When was the last time you went to a comedy that was about sophisticated humor? Everything now is about bodily functions or embarrassing situations. This is not necessarily what audiences want to see. There's a sucker born every minute," as P.T. Barnum said. The bar is being dropped!
BB: You are on the town a lot in Manhattan. Does it ever get exhausting?
RS: It's just exhausting trying to fit it all in. I love the comeradarie of being with friends at a show. I have a wonderful husband, marred, together 25 years and he emotionally supports what I do. Going to see shows is my business, and many of the people I'm out with are colleagues of mine. But I'm fortunate to have a husband who supports what I do.
BB: As a promoter, what makes you unique?
RS: That I sincerely believe in those I promote. It's not a monetary thing. I charge my clients a flat fee; not an hourly rate. Once I commit to a client, I give them the buzz they deserve. The business has changed, though, so that the onus of promoting a cabaret show relies entirely on the artist. It vexes and angers me that clubs don't take an interest in the artists they're booking.It used to be different. When I was performing as Carol Channing, the clubs did a lot of the advertising because they had a vested interest in the shows. But that's all changed in NYC. Everything is now relying on the artist. The clubs take no responsibility. There is a disconnect between club and artist.
I got into hot water with somebody because I posted on Facebook because I called a club to ask about a show they didnt know about or that the act was about someone who'd been dead 47 years. And, on top of that, he suggested I see another show rather than the one I called about.... So, getting back to your question, I try to be the end-all and be-all for my clients who hire me to do my job. Because, wouldn't it be wonderful for an artist to just concentrate on performing! I know what it's like to be an artist.I know how hard it is, especially in today's world with too many options. People don't have to go out any more as they can order over the phone or internet; they can download movies off the Internet or even find a date on-line.People need to get out of their homes! Of their comfort zones! And, of course, we live in a world where we don't know what will happen next. We are walking a tightrope, all of us!
[More to Come in Part 3]