Belfast Telegraph

Melissa McCarthy: 'New York City drag queens helped launch my career'

The comedienne had no idea she would become an actress when she moved to the Big Apple with less than $50 in her pocket.

Actress Melissa McCarthy credits the New York City drag queen circuit for helping launch her career in comedy.

The Bridesmaids star had very humble beginnings when she first moved to the Big Apple at 20 in 1990, with just $45 (GBP36) in her pocket, noting she and her gay best friend Brian Atwood, who is now a prominent shoe designer, "lived like animals" in their tiny Hell's Kitchen apartment.

To get out of their cramped space, she and Atwood would visit comedy club Stand Up NY, where she took the stage to perform for the very first time.

"I was thinking, 'How hard could it be?'" she tells Rolling Stone magazine. "It was me there with my lovely gay guy friends and I was dressed like a big old drag queen. I went by Miss Y. I had a gold lame swing coat on, a huge wig, big eyelashes..."

Melissa launched her comedic alter-ego during New York City's drag queen heyday, when iconic cross-dressers like RuPaul, Lady Miss Kier and Lady Bunny were also starting out, and although stand-up comedy is a thing of the past for McCarthy, the Tammy star confesses there is a little bit of drag queen feistiness in all of the kooky characters she plays on the big screen.

"I really like to watch the bolder ones who are overly confident without anything to back it up," she says, "I love the person in hot pants and a tube top that should not be wearing them that is just like, 'I look f**kin' good!' I love that person! It's somebody that's somehow not bought into all the we-should and we-shouldn't. They don't give a s**t. I have a real obsession with people who just do not care."

However, funnywoman Melissa insists she is nothing like the whacked out characters she plays in movies: "Well, for one thing, I feel awkward a little more than I put out. Like, sometimes I just don't know what to do or where to put my hands. That's why I like pockets in my dresses. They give you somewhere to put your hands."

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