Carlease Burke: No Shame for Star



CARLEASE BURKE 01 X390 (PROVIDED) | ADVOCATE.COMBurke began her comedy career in the early in 1990s with no specific inspiration, other than the belief that stand-up looked like fun and, well, “everyone was doing it.” As she got her footing, the funny lady eventually landed high-profile television and movie roles. But her grassroots comedy mojo is never far away. In between her Shameless gig, she currently produces the comedy show Laugh-a-Latte at Hot Java n Long Beach, Calif. Shows are every third Saturday of the month, and admission is free — something she hopes will draw straight and LGBT audiences alike. Ever the street-level comic, Burke says part of her goal is to bring in support for the venue and the gay neighborhood where the coffeehouse is located.

In addition to the Showtime hit, Burke has a variety of other projects in the works. She appeared in the Disney film Prom, released in April, and has just finished filming Save the Date, which she describes as a feel-good sister movie. The comedy will hit theaters in 2012.

Currently penning a book, the actress has appeared in a plethora of genres, from the futuristic — Dollhouse — to the blue-collar comedy Raising Hope. But she insists comedy always attracts her. Then again, so do Alfred Hitchcock thrillers with thinly veiled lesbian stories.

“I like to watch silly goofball comedies, so I would definitely like to have a supporting role in one of those,” Burke says. “I've always wanted to play a Bette Davis–type character — all dark and mysterious — or someone like Dame Judith Anderson in Rebecca. Let's bring that genre back!”

No matter what type of character she plays — gay or straight, funny or foreboding — Carlease Burke is sure to steal the show.

Tags: Comedy