Colleen Kruse: Sexy Scamp or Tarty Tramp?
Copyright © by Dan Schneider, 10/30/01

  Female comedians are generally pigs. No, I don’t mean comedic actresses like Jennifer Aniston, Valerie Bertinelli, Meg Ryan, Sandra Bullock, or Julia Roberts. I mean true/standup comedians like Brett Butler, Elayne Boosler, Roseanne Barr, Ellen DeGeneres, Rosie O’Donnell, etc. Notice a pattern? I mean, notice 2 patterns? The former group can be funny yet also sexually titillating. The latter group- ugh. If there’s a man alive who would actively seek a copulative embrace from the latter group all I can say is- keep walkin’! Why so?
  Oddly enough, that intriguing question has no bearing on the essay that follows. Well, maybe I’m being coy- or attempting such. There are a few hybrid comic females out there- that is true/standup female comedians whose warmth you would not not welcome on a cold evening. OK- only 1 you may know of: Tracy Ullman. But I’m here to tell you of a 2nd member of that group. Her name is Colleen Kruse- a local Twin Citian with tits out to- HERE! I mean, she’s a pleasant looking lady who can titillate in more ways than 1. &- oh, wait, here’s the obligatory biographical info:
  CK is a St. Pauly girl. Her alcoholism is legend. She was whelped of European breeding stock & had 2 early loves: TV & junk food. Obesity was a natural consequence. Fortunately, CK was gifted with 7 extra teeth which allowed for her to more efficiently process the calories on way to her hips & thighs. This allowed CK to develop her burgeoning ‘otherness’. In lay terms we call this being ‘different’. The medical profession calls it schizophrenia. OK, an obese alcoholic schizoid from the MidWest- you’re saying, I thought this was NOT about Brett Butler or Roseanne Barr? True enough, but if you would not be such presumptuous bitches I could finish! Her excess dentition left young CK unable to speak normally. By reading her bio I get the sense of a young CK as a sort of Jim Nabors with breasts- this being something only Rock Hudson was previously forced to think about. Nonetheless, at least 1 man found her irresistible- at least enough to boink once. A child resulted. CK was slinging hash at St. Paul’s famed Mickey’s Diner. I ate there once. Let’s hope CK makes it big because she’s the only reason to mention that dive! But motherhood forced her to lose weight, straighten her teeth out, & pursue standup comedy at the urging of 2 male customers who voiced support while gagging on trichinosis-laden pork chops. A decade or so later this comic diva looks to be in her prime for a run a TV sitcom stardom. That, or perhaps a stint as late night TV’s 1st female presence. I mean, David Letterman’s always had an edge- but Jay ‘The Chin/The Lisp’ Leno, Arsenio ‘Triangle-Head’ Hall, Bill ‘The Shill’ Maher, Conan ‘The Barbarian’ O’Brien, John ‘Martha’s Boy’ Stewart? CK’s had her ups & downs: from garage sales to pay creditors & food stamps, to limo clauses in her contracts & a shot on a Comedy Central cable-TV special. She claims to have worked in the biz every month since the fall of 1989.
  As with a # of local non-poets, I 1st encountered CK at the Minneapolis midnight cabaret Balls, hosted by titular thrush Leslie Ball. Unlike the previously lauded Ari Hoptman, CK’s strength comes not from intellectual brilliance, but rather from an ability to convey her life’s obsessions & observations in a seemingly plain & direct manner. She’s funny- but not over-your-head-intellectually-up-the-ass funny. In fact, I honestly cannot recall a gag or trope of hers- comedically. But it’s not for lack of humor, but for the way she weaves humor from the mundane. She’s never NOT left an audience wanting more- a rarity in comedy where even Robin Williams has been known to lay a few eggs. She’s attractive enough for men to notice, but not be intimidated [or repulsed- as by most female comics] by; & women to admire yet not be envious over. But domesticity & living it are not the only facets in her comic arsenal. CK also performs in skits written by others. Yet, in my mind, the perfect vehicle to express her talents would be as a comic interviewer. The aforementioned talk show hosts are the current standard, but to me CK could hearken back to an earlier era’s style. She reminds me most of a female Jack Paar, in both observational wit & likeability. Now, you may wonder how I can surmise this since she’s never hosted a TV show. Well, in January of this year Colleen & local musician/Internet guru Dave Wesley started a show called 21, which premiered at the local Bryant-Lake Bowl stage (a CK fave), before moving to Wesley’s Sursumcorda nightclub [www.sursumcorda.com]. I was amongst the 1st slate of guests. CK is very smooth, & she is quite unflappable onstage. Wesley was her Ed McMahon. As far as I know CK & the show are no longer running, yet in the 3 shows I did I was impressed with both her intelligence, & unflappability. When 1 does standup there are only 3 variables- the comic, the audience, & their interaction. In an interview there’s the interviewer, guest, audience, & the interactions between all- individually, & in assorted mixes. Handling this mix can cause even the most experienced interviewer to get some gray hairs. Yet, all 3 21 shows that I appeared on went smoothly- due mostly to CK’s presence.
  I propose that the next time a TV executive is looking for a sitcom with a female lead that Ms. Kruse be given due consideration. A shot on 1 of the comedy sketch shows would also give CK ample opportunity to strut her stuff. Over the years I’ve known her CK has shown much chameleonic ability- both in her physical appearance & her taking of personae. She’s done comic routines in both the ingénue & slut mode, the blonde bombshell & the mousy loser. All have been very funny. But, a much better gig would be to groom her as a late night talk show host. The only female comedian given a shot was Joan Rivers a decade or so ago. But Rivers was & is a very 1-dimensional comedian with not enough spontaneous wit nor intellect to smooth over the notorious ‘rough spots’ that arise during any interview- be it a pissy star that refuses to talk, a dull star that refuses not to talk, or in response to a tragedy that grips the nation.
  I’m afraid I have short-shrifted the venerable Kool Kruser! The best way I can make it up to her is to urge those reading this who are in the Twin Cities to patronize her shows. As for the rest of you in the real world, keep an eye out for that name- Colleen Kruse- because in a few years the name may ring a bell as you open up your 2004 TV Guide Fall Preview; at least if there’s justice. & as you scan that issue, watch her show, write a fan letter, etc., make sure you tell her you 1st heard of her on some poetry website a few years earlier. & when you get back her publicist’s form letter of thanks remember to mention Jim Nabors & breasts- if she gets the reference she’s still 1 of us. If not think Brett Butler, & hang your head. La chaim!


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