Cuckoo for Coco Peru

Drag star talks Detroit and being a queen of all trades

By Samantha White

December in Detroit is going to heat up this holiday season with a shot of hot Coco. Coco Peru, that is. The beautiful and talented drag queen - with a capital Q - will bring her New York attitude and flavor to Detroit and perform a "best of" her work.

Coco got a taste of the hometown hospitality a few months ago while in town shooting for a now defunct TV show. And now she'll get a taste of our winter weather when she performs at 7 p.m. Dec. 4 at Five15 in Royal Oak.

"I am going to come from this nice warm weather to Detroit," says Coco, who lives in Los Angeles. "It's cold in Detroit right now, isn't it? I had the chance to meet some local peeps when I was filming an episode of 'Detroit 1-8-7.' I love the people in Detroit - they'll keep me warm!"

Coco is a quadruple threat - singer, comedian and actor. Not to mention, she writes all her material.

Looking back, "I would change those one-night stands. I gave it away for free for too many years!" Peru says frankly when asked about her groundbreaking 20 years in the business.

Inspired by the humorous grownups in her life, Coco, born Clinton Leupp, knew while growing up in the Bronx that she wanted to perform.

"I grew up surrounded by adults who I thought were funny. I liked being around adults more than children," she says. "From the time I was small I knew. I loved being around them and I liked making people laugh."

It helped that Coco had parents who encouraged her enthusiasm for performing. "I was very fortunate, because my parents realized I had a love for the theater. My parents took me to Broadway shows, Radio City Music Hall, all of that. It made me realize, 'Hey, I can do this.'"

The city itself also played a vital role in her desire to perform and make a career out of being funny. "There was this edginess that New Yorkers had back then. Their sense of humor was borderline blue and there was a lot of innuendo to it that was really funny."

Coco took all that inspiration from her childhood and, years later, gave birth to the alter ego Coco Peru. But even industry veterans spend time arduously writing engaging and entertaining shows. Comedic genius takes time - and can be scary as hell.

"I literally sit in front of my computer for hours. It can be terrifying, and I think to myself, 'Do I have a show here?' It's scary until you get into it."

Peru is well into it, with critically acclaimed one-woman shows like "Miss Coco Peru in My Goddamn Cabaret," "Miss Coco Peru: A Legend in Progress" and "Miss Coco Peru's Liquid Universe." The latter garnered her one of several GLAAD Award nominations. In 2004, she won for "Miss Coco Peru is Undaunted."

Her most rewarding moment came from the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center in 2009, winning the Board of Directors Award for her activism in the LGBT community.

Peru has many accomplishments onscreen, in addition to her stage and activism endeavors. She has appeared on "Arrested Development," "Will & Grace," "New York Undercover" and "How I Met Your Mother."

"I really enjoyed working on 'How I Met Your Mother' because everyone is happy there," Coco says. "There's nothing worse than an unhappy cast who complains about everything. What do you have to complain about? You are making millions of dollars. I hate when they complain. It makes me want to smack them across the face. But, that show has a really lovely cast."

She goes on: "I told myself I'd never play a tranny-hooker because that's one of the stereotypes in our community. And, I ended up playing one on the show! Hey, they dangled money in my face. I'm only human."

Two decades in the business has afforded Coco dozens of accolades and fans, great opportunities to work with some of film and television's biggest stars and a few one-night stands here and there. She gets the spotlight, but Clinton just likes being at home in the backyard.

"I like watering the plants in my backyard and pulling weeds. I like to talk to my fruit trees and I have a beautiful lime and lemon tree," Coco/Clinton says proudly.

The multi-talented performer was born to perform but enjoys the simple life with a husband of 16 years. The key to being together for so long? "A mortgage."

Coco Peru

7 p.m. Dec. 4 ($25)

Five15

515 S. Washington Ave., Royal Oak

http://www.five15.net

MI Marriage Trial

Michigan Same Sex Couples Demand Respect And Equal Treatment

Michigan Leaders React To Feds Recognition Of Marriages

MI Marriage: Schuette Asks For Full Appeals Court Review

The Stay Delayed Allows 315 Couples To Wed In State

Gay Marriage Defines Schuette's Reelection Campaign

Snyder Says Schuette Going Against Trend

Sixth Circuit Continues Stay

Michigan Marriage Ban Struck Down

Michigan Makes History With First Marriages

Elected Officials, Advocates Petition Schuette To Drop Marriage Aappeal

Pictures from Ingham County - Getting Married

Pictures from Oakland County Clerk's Office - Part 1

Pictures from the Oakland County Clerk's office - Part 2

Pictures from the Oakland County Clerk's Office - Part 3

Pictures from Washtenaw County

White Nationalist Group Files Brief Supporting AG's Appeal In Marriage Ruling

Discredited Witness Part Of Right-Wing Cabal

Schauer Celebrates Overturn Of Michigan Marriage Ban

Equality Michigan Circulating Petition to Drop Appeal

Why Are Governor Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette Wasting Michigan Taxpayer Dollars On A Costly Appeal?

Michigan Marriage Ban Co-Author Goes 'Moral'

BTL's Wedding Expo: Like Pride in April

Snyder Says Marriages Invalid

Elected Officials, Advocates Petition Schuette To Drop Marriage Appeal

Request To Remove Stay Based On Process And Substance

Schuette Lies To Satisfy Political Base

DOCUMENTS: The decision, the stay, and more

BREAKING: Holder Asked To Recognize Michigan Marriages

Michigan Marriage Ban Ruled Unconstitutional

BREAKING: Sixth Circuit Court Of Appeals Issues Temporary Stay On Michigan Case

BREAKING: Same-Sex Couples Across Michigan Get Hitched

BREAKING: Judge Friedman Declares Michigan's Same-Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

Judge Could Rule Late Today In Mich. Marriage Ban

Michigan Marriage Trial: And Now We Wait

Editor's Viewpoint: Our Long Journey To Justice

Federal Marriage Case Decisions Outside Michigan In Circuit Court of Appeals

Peers Distance Themselves As Regnerus Takes The Stand

Marriage Supporters, Protestors Brave Cold At Courthouse

Highlights From Michigan Same-Sex Marriage Hearing

Brown Says Schuette Instructed Clerks To Defy Court

Michigan Marriage Equality Trial Begins Second Week

Marriage Equality Trial Opens : Science v. Fear

Michigan Marriage Center Prepares State For The Possibility!

Michigan Marriage Case Begins

A Trial Full of Experts: Incredible and Not So Credible, In Hazel Park Case

like us on facebook follow us on twitter follow us on google+