Bridget Everett is the TV star crashing into 2022 like a wrecking ball

There are few times in life when I have truly felt at peace, experiencing a balance of happiness, comfort and elation. I felt that when my head was buried in Bridget Everett’s breasts.

In New York, Everett is recognized as one of the best downtown cabaret performers. His shows at Joe’s Pub are the kind of immersive endeavors that would have the most pissed off among us fleeing the theater as if being chased by Jason Voorhees in a skin-tight silk minidress. For others, it’s church – an ecclesiastical celebration of the scorching, shedding inhibitions, and really, truly, carnally feel things.

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A talented singer with a gratuitous stage presence whose comedic timing is wielded with surgical precision, Everett’s shows are a hybrid of intimate storytelling, building safe spaces, and then bawdying as she bursts into song.

These are songs in which she purrs, “What do I have to do to get this dick in my mouth?” while stroking the heads of the spectators. Or “Titties,” in which she walks around the living room talking about the different types of personalities she might attribute to the breasts she comes across. (“You’ve got those baby blue boobs,” she winked at me, before rocking on my lap and forcing my face into her own cleavage.)

There’s a spark of magic flickering around Everett as she does this. It’s not just rudeness to shock. It’s transformative – the opportunity to feel unbridled, to access your secrets, your desires, and behave in ways you would never allow yourself in any other situation (and then maybe reflect on the raison). She is a force, “larger than life”, like a wonderful profile of her in the recent New Yorker greets in its title. And that’s why his performance in his new semi-autobiographical HBO series, which launched on Sunday, is such a revelation.

If you’re familiar with Everett’s cabaret work, you’ll be blown away by what you’ll see in someone somewhere, a deep and meditative – dare we even say calm – series about a middle-aged woman who returns to her Kansas hometown after the death of her sister, wondering, perhaps decades later that she shouldn’t have, what she is going to do with her life. And, perhaps more terrifyingly, could she ever be happy.

Everett plays Sam, who is sarcastic and sarcastic in a way that puts off some members of her small Midwestern family, but delights others like her new friend Joel (Jeff Hiller), who works with her at the brain numbness center where they standardized quality tests. But this humor is not a shield. It’s a complement to her warmth and compassion, her desire for the best for everyone she loves, even if they don’t care to do good in return.

Thanks to Joel, who volunteers for a church, she finds some salvation. He tells a white lie to the Reverend, asking for a space in the church for choir practice. Instead, he uses it to host an open-mic night, his own cabaret of sorts, where the city’s queer people, artists, and anyone else who feels lost and yearns to express themselves can commune and happen. He drags Sam there, and as she finds her voice on stage, the empowerment and satisfaction resonates in the other complicated areas of her life.

Bridget Everett and Jeff Hiller in someone somewhere

HBO

Especially unlike his cabaret persona, Everett does sweet and soulful character work in this series. Even if you were one of those who stood up to her groundbreaking performance as the overbearing, absentee mother in the Sundance cult favorite Patti$ Cake, you’d be surprised how capable she is as an actress. It’s a series that takes its time to establish a sense of place, who these people are and what they want from the world. But once you’re there and invested, you won’t want to leave.

Everett’s Sam is a character who, like many of us, has work to do on herself. This often amounts to an impossible task; for some, there is no summoning of the energy needed to overcome inertia. Yet Sam does. At the end of Episode 3 where, with the light of an electric crucifix glowing behind her like a sacrilegious halo, she belts the final notes of “Piece of My Heart” and rips off her V-neck tee to reveal her bra and cleavage, you can see a person whose mind has been transformed. So, too, has yours.

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