Strutting onto stage in a sparkling white dress adorned with feathers and a blonde curly wig, Jesse “The Body” Ventura, hairy legs and all, added “drag queen” to his eclectic resume at last night’s Hasty Pudding show.
Earning hoots and a standing ovation, Ventura—the one-time professional wrestler and former Minnesota governor—took his role as an Institute of Politics (IOP) fellow to a whole new level.
Waltzing into the spotlight as only a 250-pound man can do, Ventura delighted audiences as “Cammy O. Appearance” in the second act of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals’ (HPT) 156th annual show, As the Word Turns.
Setting the farcical tone of his role, Ventura began with a bang: “I’ve seen bad actors. My ex-boyfriend was a professional wrestler.”
Though he never stumbled despite the high-heeled silver women’s shoes he was wearing, he was comedically less graceful when speaking. After stuttering over his words, he whipped out a piece of paper, pretending to review his lines.
But his last line seemed to make the biggest impression, as evidenced by the whistles and cheers.
“Bodybuilder. State governor. Harvard fellow. Cross-dresser. Eat your heart out, Arnold,” he exclaimed.
Ventura said he was delighted with his involvement in the show.
“I thought my legs looked great. The European look,” Ventura joked after the show.
And Nicholas H. Ma ’05, the show’s producer, said Ventura’s excitement was rivaled only by the cast’s.
Earlier on, only one problem worried the Pudding cast.
“Choosing a costume. That’s always a tricky part. It’s not everyday we have such a built man. Normally it’s just scrawny college students,” Ma said.
Ventura’s drag was taken from a kick-line costume from HPT’s 154th show, Snow Place Like Home.
Ma said he felt lucky they were able to outfit Ventura as he had desired.
“While we have a number of years of costumes to look through, we don’t exactly have a number of sizes,” Ma said.