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Stand-Up Queen


Courtesy of Caroline Rhea

Caroline Rhea has hosted a daytime talk show and a prime-time reality show (The Biggest Loser), voiced cartoons (Phineas and Ferb), acted on TV (Sabrina, the Teenage Witch), and played Texas hold ‘em on Celebrity Poker Showdown. But, she always comes back to her true calling: stand-up comedy. Rhea, who performs at San Ramon’s new Dougherty Valley Performing Arts Center this month, talked to us from her apartment in New York City.

With all the success you have had on TV, why do you keep doing stand-up?

It’s so much fun, and I’m really good at it. I get to be the actor, the writer, and the director, all at once. It’s like hosting a dinner party, with the audience as your guests.

Which of your gigs gets you the most recognition on the street?

Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, easily. I’ve been called a witch in several languages, in several countries. I was in the Apple Store in New York recently with my nieces and nephews, and, as always, there was a huge line. But, everyone working there was about 22 years old, and they all grew up with Sabrina—they took me to the VIP room!

I saw you at the Punch Line in Walnut Creek years ago. You were hilarious—and, I recall, fairly bawdy. Are you still doing racy humor in your act?

The older I am, the less bawdy I am, because my act imitates my real life. It depends on the audience. If there are children there, absolutely not. If it’s just adults, I don’t mind being a little bawdy. I was always cast as a saucy maid when I did Shakespeare.

Your newest show, Sordid Lives, premieres in July on the Logo channel. What’s that about?

It’s the funniest thing I’ve ever done. It’s like Desperate Housewives set in a Texas trailer park. I had to film my first sex scene, which was utterly terrifying. I kept thinking, “This can’t be as bad as it seems.” Until the director yelled “cut” and asked, “Carrie, have you ever actually had sex before?”

Caroline Rhea performs June 21 at the Dougherty Valley Performing Arts Center, 10550 Albion Rd., San Ramon, $35, (925) 973-2787,

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