there’s something wild about Harry

On NPR, Harry Shearer has a weekly, hour-long romp through the worlds of media, politics, sports and show business, leavened with an eclectic mix of mysterious music, according to the website where you can listen to podcasts of his program. Listening to Harry romp was what got me through my sloshy drive from Massachusetts — when I wasn’t being entertained by the country music station, of course.
Near the end of Shearer’s June 3 program, he got a phone call from someone he apparently had spoken to before. She identified herself “Yvonne de la Femina,” a cabaret performer, and she recapped her gender journeys from male, to female and back and forth as such three times. (I was surprised that Shearer didn’t make some kind of comment about her being “three times a lady!”)
De la Femina claimed to be working these days doing a one-woman show on a cruise ship sponsored by Lunesta, the sleep-aid. (Was she for real or was this a put on??)
Shearer’s straightforward responses to the chatty transexual made the whole notion of her life and times sound almost plausible. After all, isn’t truth often stranger than fiction?
Then she told of her one date with Phil Spector. That’s worth listening to the podcast for.
Being a Google junkie, when I got home — and after my mother was asleep for the night (such as her night sleeping is, these days) — I did a search for “Yvonne de la Femina.” There was one hit, which rated Shearer’s 1994 album, It Must Have Been Something I Said. This is what it said about Yvonne de la Femina:
Another bit set in Iraq circa 1991 is “The Last Kuwaiti Woman Held Hostage”, which features Shearer interviewing cabaret performer Yvonne de la Femina (played by TV producer Tom Leopold). She is being held because her captors consider her to be a man, despite the fact that she had a sex change operation to make her a woman. The level of humor is quite impressive when you consider that the whole thing, which lasts 14-and-a-half minutes, was improvised.
I suspect that the bit I heard on Sunday was improvised as well. And done so well that they almost had me believing it all.
You can get a list of where and when Shearer’s program airs here.
There’s something uniquely wild and wacky about Harry, and he should be more well known than his is.

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