I was one of about 90 or so people Whang flashed during the latest performance of ‘Taboo Tales,’ a monthly storytelling show in Hollywood featuring local writer-performers revealing their darkest, most intimate true life stories from a comic perspective.
Breasts might not be a “taboo” subject in Hollywood anymore, and Suzanne Whang probably isn’t the first actress to flash her boobs on Melrose Avenue on a Tuesday night (or even on that Tuesday night), but this topless revue was something a little more revolutionary than an inebriated industry hopeful showing off her latest foray into cosmetic surgery.
Suzanne Whang had her second breast cancer lumpectomy in 2009—and it was a big one.
“Don’t worry about me,” she announced at the beginning of her piece. “Because I’m making cancer my bitch. I am fisting cancer in the ass.”
Then, a gruesome image of the cancerous mass that had mushroomed out of her chest popped up on the screen behind her. “Yummy,” said a deadpan Whang.
All I could think was that it looked like she was being eaten alive from the inside out—like one of the chestbursters from ‘Aliens’ had poked it’s head through her breast like a hideous turtle and rested it there. Whang smiled at the photo with Ripley-esque “I’ll blast you the f**k into space” intensity. And she did.
The next photo showed a massive crater left behind but a post-surgery infection. The next photo showed the tissue mostly re-grown.
Then, before anyone in the audience had time to have the agonizing thought: “Oh my God. I wonder what they look like now,” Whang placed the papers she was reading from down on the music stand in front of her and said:
“This is what my tits look like now.”
She lifted her shirt up to expose her bare chest and then slowly walked the perimeter of the stage so that everyone got a good, long look.
It was awesome—and not just in a pink-ribbon-wearing-yogurt-lid-collecting-breast-cancer-awareness-month kind of way. It was more universal than that.
It was like someone opened a window in a filthy, fart-filled room and a big, fresh breeze rushed in to sweep the stink away.
Suzanne Whang was the host of ‘House Hunters’ for ten years. I remember coming across an episode of the show once and feeling very sorry for myself. “I’ll never be able to buy a house,” I remember pouting: “Thanks HGTV, for reminding how much my life sucks.”
And then, last week, there was the ‘House Hunters’ lady standing right in front of me, telling a very non-depressing story about how she was determined to make cancer her “bitch” and how she wakes up happy every day because she knows who she is now.
Suzanne Whang may not be the first comedian to wade into the mine field that is “cancer humor,” but she’s the first one I’ve ever seen get a laugh while a photo of her lumpectomy “crater” was projected up on the screen behind her.
“The crater was convenient, because it also doubled as a change purse,” she beamed at the audience.
Suck on that Denis Leary.