|By Alex Vaughn
Jennifer McClain has been a staple of
Wilton Manors cabaret life for over a
decade. She sat down with
List to discuss the highs and lows of her time on
the Drive, and the future.
What do you enjoy most about performing?
When I do a song or tell a joke that connects with the audience.
Maybe they arenít all paying attention, but there is that one
guy who I see who you can tell is connected to what I am
singing; it reminds him of something .
What gets you going at Alibi?
Of course, there is my all-spontaneous show at
Georgie's Alibi every Saturday. Itís almost
like a piano bar where I do nothing but requests. I love
scripted, too, but because I have a vast repertoire, I like to
judge by the audience. When I tell a story, God knows they are
all true; I donít need to make anything up with my life! I can
just jump into a song.
What is the benefit with working within the gay
For me, my favorite type of songs to sing are the show tunes.
When I first came down here I figured it was perfect.
Traditionally, people who like show tunes tend to be gay or
seniors, so I figured I was set. They are open to variety Ė plus
I get to be all glamorous.
How do people react to you in the day?
[Laughs] Well, I saw this kid in gym and he yelled out, ďI
thought you were a drag queen!Ē People always check out the
hair, due to extensions. I used to not go out without a full
face of makeup, but now Iím like, Ďitís ridiculous to go to the
gym in makeup!í
Have you ever been tempted to go further afield?
I have, but I really love Saturday nights at the Alibi; those
nights are really fun and great. People ask all the time why I
donít go to straight bars. I say, ďyou know what, all my friends
are here and this is where everyone I know is.Ē I do work at a
resort once a week, but I tend to do the best with the gay
community or the senior citizens, because of my musical style
and sense of humor. Iíll always go for the double entendre
rather than the dick jokes; Iím not comfortable with that Ö but
Iíll imply the heck out of it.
Have you ever wanted to try for a show like American
No. Yes and no. First of all, Iím not a fan of contests in
general Ė either being a judge or a contestant. There is enough
judgment without needing to put yourself out there for the
express purpose of being judged. As for American Idol, I have
always been above their age limit!
What about Americaís Got Talent?
I had a friend who did that show and itís expensive. You have to
get to audition, then you have to take a leave of absence from
work and a lot of them tell you what to sing. Contestants are a
lot more limited than you would think.
Any plans for cutting a CD?
I actually have one Ė it was supposed to be one of many. Itís
country music; the next one never happened. But I did a quick
down and dirty Christmas album. The country went out in 2006; I
now give them away Ė sometimes as tips to removal men! I would
like to do one that is truer to what I sing; I love songs that
tell stories. I would love to do more of a Broadway standard CD;
I just havenít found the right person to work with yet.
Where would you really like to go in the future?
What Iíd really like to do next is a bit of travelling, some out
of town engagements, like the RSVP cruises and Atlantis. I donít
think I would like to move Ö I love it here! My one woman show
is in New York, called ĎLady Swigs the Boozeí with a live
accompanist. I just havenít been able to get up there!
Are there any disadvantages to working within the community?
When you look back over your career here, whatís the
It wasnít the theme parks [Laughs] Ö um Ö oh my God, how could I
forget? I did the New Yearís Eve travel pride as a headline with
Coco Peru. That was totally amazing.
Now, whatís the biggest cringe moment?
I am able to laugh at anything I can do personally, so that
limits the cringe factor [pause], but I have [laughs]. I am
afraid to say it because people will know what I am talking
about. This was right after Pridefest. Any time thereís a day
celebration the crowd is rowdy!
There was a woman who obviously was drunk, who kept dancing in
front of the stage. People tried to make her move. All of a
sudden, someone else came in and they made out right in front of
me. It was so awkward! I turned lights off, the music stopped
and I called for security. It was so bad, I know the guy well
and my parents were in the audience. If it had been two guys
kissing that would have been fine! [Laughs] It was the first 30
minutes of the show! I have had people participate Ďa bit too
muchí but usually later in the show!
Of course there was the drunken lesbian who was flashing me at
Billís one time Ö with no bra Ö and she wasnít a lipstick
lesbian either. I love lesbians.
What social influences do you think affect your
popularity, and how do you think your show helps the community?
Facebook. Absolutely. I use it as a marketing tool. I try to
always say funny comments. A lot of stuff on my page is
exaggerated. I donít do Jaeger shots at the gym!
My mom and dad bring in their friends, four straight women in
their 60ís. I think me being there is bringing more straight
people into the gay community, which I like.
So whatís next for Jennifer?
Iím still working on getting back up to New York, planning to go
up to Fire Island and Rehoboth Beach. I will be involved in the
Broward Bares It in August. I am super excited, because I will
have a dance troupe; it will be a full on production.