Ricki Lake

Episode 148 - Dec 19, 2017

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“It’s gotta be real, it’s gotta be Ricki.” As a movie star, an Emmy Award winning talk show host, and an acclaimed documentarian, Ricki Lake has built a career out of being real. In this episode, Ricki lets us in on how she got her first starring role in John Waters’ Hairspray, why The Business of Being Born is her proudest accomplishment, and why she’s glad she isn’t still a talk show host. Listen in to learn why this year has been the hardest one yet for Ricki, and how she shifts momentum to keep following her passions and make a positive impact.

 

Connect Ricki: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

 

Show Notes:

-Why Ricki dreamed of being a star

-The life advice Ricki got from John Waters right before Hairspray came out

-The best and worst moments of being a talk show host

-Why 9/11 was a turning point for Ricki

-How The Business of Being Born has changed the story of birth in the US

-Why Ricki doesn’t like being a role model

-How Ricki shifts momentum out of dark times

-The surprising story of Ricki’s Emmy Award

-Why Ricki is glad she doesn’t still host a talk show

-Ricki’s next big project

 

 

Links Mentioned:

-Check out The Business of Being Born

-Start 2018 off with Winning Weeks

-Get your Organifi Green Juice

 

Transcript:

 

Mark Shapiro: Ricky, how's it going?

 

Ricki Lake: It's going pretty well.

 

Mark Shapiro: What is pretty well?

 

Ricki Lake: I guess 1 out of 10... today. I feel maybe like like a 7.5, 8.

 

Mark Shapiro: That's pretty good, right?

 

Ricki Lake: I'll take it.

 

Mark Shapiro: What's the status quo for you?

 

Ricki Lake: Lately, I mean it's, it's really, I mean this year is kind of an unusual year because I'm dealing with a lot, but I'm normally, I'm a, I'm a real optimistic, pretty happy person and I mean my husband who passed, I'm sure you know, we're gonna get into that, but he struggled with mental illness. He struggled with depression and so we would joke literally like we would even have this job because I'd wake up, you know, like I can't wait to see what's going to happen today. Today's going to be such a good day. And he would wake up a lot of times I'd be like, fuck, I have to live through another day. I mean that's like, you know, the difference in our personalities a lot of the time. But I'm, I'm generally a pretty happy, upbeat person. But, um, that, this, this year has kicked my ass.

 

Mark Shapiro: Well, that's real.

 

Ricki Lake: Yeah...well, when we met, you know, you told me about what you do in this podcast. I was like, you know, the slogan for my show was Ricky, It's gotta be real, It's gotta be Ricky. I mean that was like our catch phrase for a number of years and uh, you know, I kind of pride myself on the fact that I have managed to stay really true to myself and authentic and grounded and throughout this crazy career, I've been in this business for 30 years. My first break was hairspray when I was 18 years old and it's this 30 year anniversary is next year in 1988 it came out.

 

Mark Shapiro: That is wild.

 

Ricki Lake: So yeah, and John Waters, I credit him for not only giving me my career but helping me to stay normal through this madness, that is Hollywood.

 

Mark Shapiro: That's amazing too because John Waters, like in terms of his films are the opposite of normal. Actually, they are so normal, but at the same time, not normal.

 

Ricki Lake: Exactly. He's such a walking dichotomy. He's been such a mentor and such a gift for me and he actually, I mean I've told this story before, but when I was, you know, 18 years old, I was so green, I was so naïve I didn't even process the movie was actually gonna open. When I made the film. It got me out of going back to college. So for me I was like, phew, you know, I have a summer job. And even making the movie I didn't really process like I'm the star of this movie. Like it just was like I was just going to summer camp every day and after we finished the film and I remember I made $20,000, which was more money than I had ever imagined making, which was scale plus 10 from Sag, you know? And he pulled me aside and he's like, he sat me down and he's like, I want to have a conversation with you. And I remember it really well. I mean, I've taken a lot of ambient in my day, so my memory has not really stayed with me, but this particular memory has really stuck with me. He sat me down and he was like, I want to let you know that your life is about to change and I want you to remember these three things: Always stay true to yourself. Always stay humble. And if you're gonna read and believe the good things people write about you, you're going to have to read and believe the bad. I mean, I almost remember it verbatim, I think.

 

Mark Shapiro: Wow, read and believe the bad!

 

Ricki Lake: He's like, you know, it's like basically don't take any of it too seriously and you know, like, like press and reviews and all the, you know, all the things. And now I think he was ahead of his time to think what existed back then and what it's like now with, with social media and, you know, I mean you really can't pay too much attention to that stuff, you know. But yeah, it was incredible advice for me as a young woman embarking on this crazy ride. And, yeah, I am pretty authentic. I mean, I don't know what you see is what you get.

 

Mark Shapiro: You've been in so many of John Waters' films and for anyone who hasn't seen, you know, Hairspray or some of the more "risqué" films that John has made. I mean there are some that are like super out there...

 

Ricki Lake: I wasn't really in the "risqué" ones, I was post those Pink Flamingos and Polyester, but I was in you know Hairspray was my first, then Cry Baby, which I played Johnny Depp, sister. I did Serial Mom, I played Kathleen Turner's daughter. Actually, she wanted to have me fired on that film, which was really, really funny because I was 24 when I did that film. I was playing like a 17 year old girl, which was totally believable. But to her I think I never actually heard the story from her, but I think she didn't like me because she thought I was too old to play her daughter. And little did she know that I was John Waters' muse. I mean I was like, you know, his baby, I wasn't going anywhere, you know? But yeah, she was, she was an interesting, interesting person to work with and Sam Waterston and Patty Hearst, I mean what an amazing kind of introduction to making movies, you know.

 

Mark Shapiro: Totally. So John Waters it's dark sense of comedy. Is that the type of comedy that really resonates with you, I'm curious to know...

 

Ricki Lake: As a fan? I mean I like all kinds of things.

 

Mark Shapiro: What do you find to be the funniest kind of stuff out there?

 

Ricki Lake: Oh my gosh, I love Christopher guest. I mean, his movies I can watch them over and over again. I don't know. I love to laugh. I love like Step Brothers and Jim Carrey movies. I mean I like, I like it all. I mean I'm a pretty easy audience.

 

Mark Shapiro: So I read on the Internet that the movie Annie is what inspired you to get into acting and singing.

 

Ricki Lake: Not movie. The broadway show. The movie is terrible compared to the original. Yeah, I saw the original cast of Annie. Now this is like when you were born probably in 1978. Is that when you're born you?

 

Mark Shapiro: '82.

 

Ricki Lake: Oh, it's before you were born. Oh my gosh. I think I sat in like 1970, it was like in the seventies, in the late seventies, I was like seven years old. It was one of the first... my grandmother used to take me all the Broadway musicals and I saw it, I saw girls that were around my age, a bit older than me, doing what I wanted to do. And it was life changing. I mean, it was just like, I immediately was like, I need to do that. And of course my mother at the time told me I wasn't the starving, orphaned type because I was a chubby girl. So she kind of tried to squash my dreams. But yeah, that was, that was the turning point for me in discovering what I wanted to do and it wasn't about what I did. I just wanted all eyes on me, like I wanted to be a performer. I wanted to win over an audience. I loved singing and dancing. I didn't know I'd be a talk show host, I didn't know I'd have the career I had, but I really love the idea of being a star, whatever that meant at the time.

 

Mark Shapiro: What's interesting is I think that most kids probably have that same dream. Maybe it wasn't from the stage production of Annie, but from something else where they were really inspired and we're like, that's the life that I want to live. But such few people actually become movie stars.

 

Ricki Lake: Particularly fat girls!

 

Mark Shapiro: What do you think was different about you or your approach that got you that break?

 

Ricki Lake: Well with Hairspray I happened to be in the right place at the right time and I really did embody that character. You know, it wasn't like playing a part, it was basiclly putting me in these clothes and the funny hair and basically me being me as Tracy Turnblad. So I just think it was like the most perfect kind of alignment, you know? But as far as like a kid I was very sort of likeable, you know, I was non threatening, I was a little bit, you know, charming. There was something about me... I had like a spark about me and a belief in myself that I think came from my grandmother, the one who brought me to see all the Broadway musicals. I mean she was the one who instilled in me that I was the best, I was the most talented. I was the cutest... and all of it. She just boosted my self esteem and she died when I was nine years old, which was such a, such a travesty. But like she really did leave her mark with me and I had a belief in myself that just stuck with me. You know, I think it really did. Maybe you're born with it. I mean, I don't know because, you know, I think my sister and I are very, very different people. We come from the same parents, same upbringing and we have very different kind of ways of thinking. So I think part of it is I was born with this innate kind of belief in myself, but I think she definitely helped to instill that I could do anything I set my mind to.

 

Mark Shapiro: That's amazing that you had such an incredible role model and also devastating that you lost her when you were nine.

 

Ricki Lake: Yes.

 

Mark Shapiro: You've worn so many different hats in your career and in your personal life, from being in movies to having a talk show to being a documentarian, to being a mom...

 

Ricki Lake: Want to know my Playa name?

 

Mark Shapiro: Yes.

 

Ricki Lake: Never boring.

 

Mark Shapiro: I'll say!

 

Ricki Lake: And I gave it to myself actually because my life has had such incredible twists and turns, incredible highs and the lowest of lows. You know, I've, I've done it all.

 

Mark Shapiro: Yeah. Talking about contrast, you've really experienced it all. I was curious, when do you feel most alive?

 

Ricki Lake: Wow, that's a really good question. I mean I go back to my birth experiences. I mean, that was... particularly my second birth, which, you know, I've talked about. I made a movie about birth, but being in control of my body and my choices and to see what my body could do, the miracle of carrying a child and nurturing a child, giving birth to a child on my own terms. I mean that, that was a day of feeling pretty alive and empowered. I don't know... I am just walking the walk. There's days where it's just like... I do feel like, you know... I'm not answering your question very well, but that would probably be the day I felt the most alive was having my baby I think. At home. In my bathtub. I felt like I could do anything after that experience.

 

Mark Shapiro: It's like one of life's real moments. It's not like any other day.

 

Ricki Lake: Oh my God, no. And I think it can be empowering for anyone. You know, you can have that kind of experience in any environment, but I think for a woman to be informed and to be educated about the options that are available to her and for her to be respected and her choices be respected. I mean I think it can be not only life changing becoming a mother, but also tapping into your power.

 

Mark Shapiro: You've been a trailblazer throughout your entire career. As you mentioned, overweight, star of a movie. You were the youngest talk show host, I believe at age 24. When your show premiered in... was it 94?

 

Ricki Lake: It premiered in 93. September 13th, 1993.

 

Mark Shapiro: Ok. It was on for 11 years.

 

Ricki Lake: And I ended the show. I finished my contract and I didn't go back.

 

Mark Shapiro: You touched so many people's lives and so many people tuned in and watched you.

 

Ricki Lake: Did you watch it?

 

Mark Shapiro: I did. This is actually really exciting for me to meet you and to interview you because you were just a legend. Like of course I knew who you were. Everybody did. And I'm curious when taking a look at the show, you had all sorts of moments I'm sure from very touching moments to super duper outrageous moments. So I was wondering if there's maybe one of each that comes to mind.

 

Ricki Lake: People always ask me that and it's really a blur because I did 2100 hours of that show. What I loved about it... I had a natural curiosity and I was a good listener and I was really, again, non-threatening, very relatable to people. Every day I did the show and it was very formulaic for me, the way in which we produced the show. It was something like... It's not an easy thing to teach to be a talk show host because many people have tried to do it and they fail. I mean when I was on the air it was something like over a hundred shows came and went. They were trying to sort of copy what we were doing, but there is a formula to it. We'd have the most dynamic story, couple, whatever in segment one. Then we'd change it up and have a black story or white story or a Hispanic story, we always wanted to change it up, um, with diversity. But um, you know, I, I had this knack to be able to tie it up in a bow, like get the, you know, get them to fight about what they're fighting about. Then have the surprise guests come out, ding dong, bring them out, you know, there was this formula, but every day I would do the show and something would surprise me. There would be something that would like, you know, someone, someone would say something outrageous, something like, you know, something would happen that would keep me on my toes were it wouldn't become too, you know, sort of repetitive for me. But as far as like the most memorable... I mean, my first season I was 24 years old. I remember having this guy named Fred Phelps on, you know, he's since died. He was Reverend Fred Phelps who was the head of that church that we'd go and pickit at funerals of AIDS patients. And I mean, he was the most, I mean it was just so awful and I was so green at doing my show. We had this guy on and I remember really feeling like, why are we even giving this guy airtime? You know, he's just so reprehensible. And he told me on the show, I'll never forget, he said, I worship my rectum. And I was like, excuse me, I'm brand new, the show is brand new. And the show was a huge hit. It was getting all this attention I was like, what, you know? And he's shouting these proverbs at me and he's, you know, a Bible thumper. And I don't know any of that stuff, and I was just like... I didn't know what to do. And I was looking over at my producers and I was like, you may be a reverend but this is still my show. Get Out. And I threw him off the stage and had him escorted off. And it was just one of those moments where I was terrified because here I was in this position of power and I was very much a kid. I didn't really have a sense of who I was, I didn't have a sense of what I believed in. I mean, it was really, in some ways I had very little business of like getting up and having this kind of platform, you know. So that was one that really stands out and it, it was the first time I was disrespected on my show because I was really, truly, truly, truly in every episode I've been, I was respected. Why? I don't know, but people would listen to me. They would, you know, but that was really, that was a real shocker for me.

 

Ricki Lake: That was like... it scared me to my core, you know, someone like that. As far as others... I mean, it would never cease to amaze me what people would say and do on national television. And our stuff was real, you know, your thing is real. Our show was real. We did not have actors. We did not, you know... we certainly wanted to bring out the most dynamic parts of stories, but it was real. It was real stuff. But to see where television has gone, reality television, I mean, our show... Andy Cohen's a very good friend of mine, I've known him for more than 20 years and he says his show is completely derivative from the Ricki Lake show. I'm so glad I don't do it anymore. I am, I am so glad. I have so much gratitude for the opportunities that have been given to me. But I'm not... 9:11 was really the turning point for me in my learning about myself and what I wanna to do with my days here. I think you probably read about it, but I'll tell you that I witnessed 9:11 from my apartment in downtown New York. So I watched the plane firsthand fly down the Hudson and hit the building... the second plane. And I just had my son, I had my home birth, this profound life changing... tapping into my goddess in this apartment, in this sacred space. And two months later, I thought it was the end of the world, you know, it was like the extremes of that and everyone suffered on that day and everyone had their own experience. But for me, I really did have like an epiphany. I mean, my husband at the time, my first husband and my four year old, we went to the roof of our building when the first plane hit, you know, and he had the camera and he's taking pictures of the tower on fire. And I said, there's another plane. Oh my God, there's another plane, there's another plane. What's he doing? What's he doing? What's he doing? Oh my God. My husband got all of it on his camera and I thought I was going to die. I mean, I remember feeling super pissed that I'm going to die with this man comforting me. I was very unhappy in the marriage and I was just. That was this overwhelming feeling. It's like, oh my God, this is how it's going to end.

 

Ricki Lake: And I was screaming and I was... It was so traumatizing and then I said to myself, if I live through this day, I'm leaving New York, I'm leaving my job and I'm leaving my husband. And it was clear as day. And I had to go back to work. I remember two days after the National Guard had moved into my neighborhood. I mean, I lost friends. I lost someone that worked for me, a firefighter. I lost... my son's best friend's father was killed. You know, and I'm going back to work and I'm doing like a Hoochie Mama, makeover with my baby daddy who had been treating me like... I'm like this, this is what I'm doing for living and this is what I'm putting out in the world and what the fuck, you know. And so it was during that time that I made these big life changing decisions and I also really soul searched on where I can make an impact, you know, where can I make a difference? Where am I needed? AIDS research, cancer... You know, all these things, but it's like they have all these foundations, what's not being tapped into? And I really looked at my birth experience and midwives and that was where I thought, OK, I can do something here because I was so impacted by my beautiful birth experience at home and not that it was actually promoting home birth, which I think in the beginning I was because I was so pro homebirth, but it really was about choice. It's about informed choice and that women need to know that they are being robbed of the opportunity to be empowered during this experience, this once in a lifetime or twice in a lifetime experience by this technocratic society that really, you know, that you think they're, they're looking out for your best interest. And in some cases they are, but a lot of times they're doing it for their own profit and benefit and protection from lawsuits or whatever. Whatever the case may be. So that was where I really I think found myself so that you really discover who I am and what I'm about and what matters to me.

 

Mark Shapiro: Wow, it seems like that's an ongoing trend in your life that through adversity you find purpose.

 

Ricki Lake: I really get off on reinventing myself, I love it. I love, like when I came out with his documentary, which it's now 10 years, we premiered at Tribeca film festival and I also had lost a lot of weight, I was like a hundred and 25 pounds. I was looking like the hottest I've ever been. And I went away for awhile. I purposely stayed away for awhile and came back in a big way and it just, I don't know... it's like I had this vision of what I wanted it to be and it surpassed what my expectation was. So in the case of this movie, premiering at Tribeca Film Festival and me showing up and I got three cover offers that that day to be on the cover of People, Us Weekly and it was because I had lost all this weight and I had this movie. So it just, I don't know, it's like I've been so fortuitous in this business where I have an idea and I think, oh, you know, this is interesting to me. I never saw it through, like the Business of Being Born, my film, I never thought it would have the impact that it had. Its really changed the birth industry in this country and it's... I wish I could say I premeditated that, I didn't, I just did it because it interests me, you know.

 

Mark Shapiro: Thank you for that. My friend Nicole Dabeau, shout out Nicole because I know you're listening to this. When I mentioned that I was having you on the show and she was like, oh, Ricky changed my life with the Business of Being Born. So that's incredible that, you know, you're standing for what you believe in and making a difference in other people's lives. I didn't even realize what was going on in the industry that, you know, hospitals, they want to get you in and out of there and they also want to... they're a business and want to make money so, you know, c sections allow them to make more money, I would imagine than just a natural birth.

 

Ricki Lake: They can do many more of them in a day as opposed to letting a woman labor on her own. Yeah, I mean, there's a lot of things, but it is changing because we are... we just did a little mini reunion from the 10 year... people that were in the film and we have this anthropologists that I love and she was so inspiring to me. Her name is Robbie Davis Floyd. She wrote a book that I loved called Birth as an American rite of passage. And so I saw her recently in Austin, Texas. We did a big screening and she told us that the home birth rate in the United States has doubled because of our film, so it's still really low. It's still like tiny, but it has doubled. And even a bigger statistic, she said this is huge, the c-section rate has flatlined for the first time in 20 years. Every year it has gone up, the c-section rate in this country, and for the last... since our film came out it has stayed the same at I believe 32 percent. I'm not exactly sure, it has not going up. And she said if you had asked her 10 years ago, she would, she would've thought that the c-section rate would have been 50 percent right now. So yeah, it really has done a lot for that world. And I think the outcomes are still kind of messed up in this country, you know, the maternal death rate is way, way higher than it should be, particularly with minorities. I mean, there's a lot of work that needs to be done, but there has been some, some major improvements made.

 

Mark Shapiro: Absolutely incredible.

 

Ricki Lake: It's so cool considering I didn't finish college and I am not a doctor, you know, I'm just curious. I'm curious and I give a shit, you know? And so yeah, it's a good example of me using my sort of persona or my name to do something that I think matters. It's just nice when it, when it does seem to matter to other people too.

 

Mark Shapiro: Yeah. When we met on the gratitude bus, you said that that was the most profound work that you've done out of everything that you've done in your career so...

 

Ricki Lake: Hands down.

 

Mark Shapiro: That says so much because you've done so much.

 

Ricki Lake: I felt like I could die after that. Like I felt like I had done. I, you know, honestly not I want it to die, but I really truly felt like OK, my work... like if this is all I contribute to the world, I'm OK with that. And I'm now at the point where I think there is more for me, there is more, particularly with the loss of my husband and what I've gone through in this last year. And what I've learned about mental health... so I do think that I am needed in that realm, in that arena as well. I don't know what, what I have to say. I'm actually speaking, I'm a keynote speaker at a mental health something or I mean I don't know what the foundation is. I agreed to do that. It's going to be basically the one year anniversary of my husband's death and I kind of took the opportunity to kind of challenge myself, you know, I'm hoping it's going to be a cathartic experience, but I'm not even sure what I'm going to say.

 

Mark Shapiro: That's so you, and that's the best, right?

 

Ricki Lake: I usually land on my feet. Usually.

 

Mark Shapiro: Before this interview, I said, well, here are the topics that I wanted to talk to you about, and you were like nope don't even tell me. It seems like that's an ongoing trend is that you trust yourself and you trust yourself in the moment. You're not like putting yourself far into the future. You're living.

 

Ricki Lake: I'm trying. Yeah. I really Christian my husband who had such an impact on me. Like, I mean, you know, he was, he is my greatest teacher, but he was always wanting me to stay in the moment, you know, to be in the present, to put down that... he's like Babe, put down the Apple product, put down the technology, you know, live in the moment. And for me, I'm glad I didn't listen to him a lot of the time because I have so much of our relationship documented. I'm so grateful I have that. But he was all about kind of, you know, being present. So I think it's a balance. But yeah, I do try to live very much with my feet on the ground in the now.

 

Mark Shapiro: What advice would you have for someone... Because I think there's a lot of people that they fast forward to the end of their life or at the end of their life, they haven't done so many things that they wanted to do in their life. And it seems like you've lived 10, maybe 20 lifetimes your young years. So I'm curious what advice would you give for somebody else?

 

Ricki Lake: I mean, I hate being in a position of giving advice. I haven't figured it out.

 

Mark Shapiro: That's why I asked you. I Read about that. Like you don't love the idea of being a role model.

 

Ricki Lake: I don't, I don't. I mean, I can acknowledge like, I think I'm a bad ass. Like I really like myself.

 

Mark Shapiro: I'll second that.

 

Ricki Lake: Thank you. I really do like who I am. And more and more and particularly since my husband died, my husband was the person I looked up to the most. I mean he was my favorite person in the world and I know the coolest people, you know, he was the best and he... the way he loved me I think is the way I see myself now, you know. I don't know what advice, I mean, I just think it's such a hard question to answer, but... I think we gotta like not listen to what people say about us, it's really like kind of tapping into what we want, who we are, not listening to the noise, you know? I really am working really hard at kind of being, staying true to myself, you know, and, and this has been the most challenging time. And I've had challenges. Shit, I lost my house, I've been homeless for a short period of time. I've lost my money, sexual abuse as a child and also the me too movement. I'm certainly a part of that. But losing the one thing I wanted in life, like literally I'm a manifestor, I always pretty much get what I want and to not be able to have the one thing I want is really... it's my biggest lesson. I'm still trying to figure it out, you know, like why the fuck did this happen to me? Why did this person who I chose, you know... and I had a very tumultuous divorce with my first husband, like a very difficult... went to trial. Like we had a full trial. So it was as bad as... without there being violence or a physical thing, you know. And we're now friends, by the way, ayahuasca, ayahuasca, that miracle plant, plants, healed, helped to heal my relationship with my first husband and Christian... I can thank my husband for that, Christian for that as well. I never would have, you know, anyone who knew me through my divorce would say she'd never get married again. So for me to marry again, this guy was special, you know, so... I forgot what your question was.

 

Mark Shapiro: No, that was great. We were talking about role models.

 

Ricki Lake: I'm not a role model. I don't think I'm a role model. I think I'm, you know, I'm just trying to please myself and to be true to myself and to be good to my friends. I mean I'm a really loyal person. I have a really good time. Like I have a really good time. When I met Christian I was like, just so you know, I'm a really good time and I am.

 

Mark Shapiro: I want to press into the thing about role models because something that I read online I thought was really interesting is you said that part of the reason why you don't like to see yourself as a role model is when you look at other people who've already accomplished what you want, that doesn't inspire you.

 

Ricki Lake: Did I say that? Is that real…

 

Mark Shapiro: It was something like that. That’s the way that I read it, I read about it. But I was just curious to lean further into that question…

 

Ricki Lake: About being a role model or about who I look up to as a role model? I don't know. I mean to me like a role model to me is when I was a little girl and seeing Annie onstage. Like that was like the role model to me it was like a dream. It's like seeing myself in some other person. I mean… I don't know how to answer that. I just, it makes me uncomfortable because I feel like we're all human. I am so far from perfect. I make mistakes. I contradict myself. So it's like I don't want to be held on this, this… and I'm bound to fall off of, you know, it just feels almost like too much pressure. But I do identify, I can recognize, doing Hairspray and playing that day character and having that character live on through generations and different incarnations. Like that was me. Like I, I take pride in the fact that like I was able for these little chubby girls that feel like outcasts and underdogs, the fact that they have a role model they can look up to. I love that that was me. But you know, it's like part of me can embrace it and part of me feels uncomfortable at the same time. Does that make sense?

 

Mark Shapiro: It does. And you know, it's that paradox, the contrast of life, the duality, the polarity of life. That's just what we all experience, even though it doesn't show up that way on social media for most of us. I'm curious in terms of like the personal struggles you've been through a lot of adversity and then we all are yearning for something better. Just as human beings, we are always looking for that next open dopamine hit. We're always wanting more. So when you are… when you do find yourself in the midst of a personal struggle, I'm just curious to know how have you been able to shift your momentum in order to, you know, whether it's like finding a new vision for yourself, your next project or shifting out of those dark days of personal struggle?

 

Ricki Lake: Christian's death… literally getting my dog to the beach every day was like healing. Getting to the gym every morning, you know, and just forcing myself, literally forcing one foot in front of the other. It was so hard for me, especially in the beginning, forcing myself to smile at the sun and be grateful, you know? It was like just these mantras in my head. I just think it was like life and death. I mean, it felt like life and death, you know. I mean, not that I was ever suicidal. I mean there were days I did not want to continue, but I'm not a suicidal person. I'm not a depressed person. I've never suffered from that. I lived with someone who suffered with that, but this is the closest thing to it, you know, just like total despair. I mean, there were months of complete despair. I did have a train of thought about what you asked about… how to get through adversity. Right. I lost my train of thought.

 

Mark Shapiro: It's all, it's all good. You're super real, you said it was the tagline for your show, I'm curious to know your take on the world today in terms of realness and where we're at.

 

Ricki Lake: I think I am a rarity. The rare breed in this town. I think there's so much, you know, just bullshit and fakeness and inauthenticity and it's part of what really turns me off about, you know… you can't really say what you think. Like that's part of why I'm really glad I don't have that platform anymore like that talk show anymore. We're so divisive, were so full of fear. We're so… we're idiots. I mean so much of us are not educated, you know, and the racism and the sexism and the… I mean it's just so ugly right now and I'm really glad like, particularly now going through my loss that I don't have to show up and go to work and be like…

 

Mark Shapiro: Have to fake it.

 

Ricki Lake: To be a public person. I can do whatever that fuck I want right now. And this year has been about going to festivals and healing. I have been going, you know… I'll tell you, psychedelics have really helped me with my… I was someone who was completely against all of that. I've had a huge turnaround with plant medicine. I'm making a movie, I just finished a film about cannabis and I'm just… The older I get the more open I am, the more I'm just, the more crunchy and Granola I am. I mean, I'm such a Bohemian and I'm such like a, you know, I just got back from Esalen for God's sakes. I mean it's so funny. But the older I get, I think the cooler I get, you know. And so yeah, to answer your question, I mean, there's certain things or certain… yeah, I go to a lot of healing things and women's circles and like all this stuff to kind of make myself feel better.

 

Mark Shapiro: You said you feel like you're cooler than you've ever been. Is that due to the openness?

 

Ricki Lake: Yeah, I think so. I mean I think I am finding myself, my true self through my greatest loss. Like really this year I had been cracked wide open. I don't know what I'm going to be like in a relationship. I know what I was like in that relationship and a lot of it was very co-dependent, I think there’s patterns I'm going to break this next time around if I'm lucky enough to find love, which I will because I mean I'm pretty lovable, but I think I want to… I'm not signing up to be a caretaker ever again.

 

Mark Shapiro: So challenging. Sometimes we don't choose that though. That’s the tough part.

 

Ricki Lake: Yeah. No, but I have a pattern of… I think a part of it is, you know, I'm a control freak. I mean there's a lot of things, I’ve done a lot of therapy, but I'm no longer in the market for someone who needs to be fixed. I know I'm not a fixer and I certainly couldn't fix him...

 

Mark Shapiro: It’s an impossible task to take on. But you clearly have a big liven heart.

 

Ricki Lake: Yeah, I do. That’s what Christian said.

 

Mark Shapiro: I wanted to ask you a question. You are, you've been in this really interesting position where you've been, you know, a global star, recognizable star, your own TV show, the star of a movie. And to me that's a really extreme example I think of what a lot of people experience in their life in terms of the great highs. I'm just curious to know about your ego in those moments, like when you're starring in a movie and like the story you're telling yourself when you're like on top versus the story that you're telling yourself when you're going through a lot of adversity.

 

Ricki Lake: I mean, I think I don't take it very seriously. And maybe that goes back to the John Waters thing. It feels like I'm living a movie a lot of the times, you know. I’m sort of… anyone who knows me, like my friend Robin Roseanne, she's known me for like 30 years. So I've been around for 30 years. You know, I'm sort of the unfamous famous person. She said I'm lacking the gene that a lot of her friends have, which is like their, their famous… I’m not going to name their names, but their friends of mine too peripherally, but they have this weird kind of aloofness to them and they're a little paranoid. They're distrustful. I’m… I don't have that gene. I forget I'm famous a lot of the time, you know, and more time has gone on and I don't get recognized that much anymore. And when I do I usually, I hope it's because of The Business Being Born that’s what I always like the most. But like, I don't know, I don't think my ego has gotten… I mean I think I take it all with a grain of salt, you know? I really, I mean I'm so grateful I've had the career I've had. I’ve done the coolest things. Like a fricking won an Emmy for a show, my show… Because I went back into the talk show again, like I did the show for 11 years and I went back like five years ago and signed back up to do it again and it was a disaster. It was literally a disaster because I consciously came back on the air with thinking I now have a real point of view, you know, because I think it was in my early forties and I went and signed up with a company that I thought shared my vision. So I really, you know, I was like, OK… And it was a very big deal for me to sign back up for this. I did it for 11 years. I thought I was done after The Business of Being Born and the impact it made. I thought, OK, you know what? I think I am ready for this platform again. And I wanted to do something… I was very clear, I wanted to do something more along the lines of Phil Donahue, which maybe you're too young for, but Phil Donahue had a show. It went on the air, you know, very thought provoking, like elevated content. It was, you know, it was about something. So that was the prototype, it was me doing more like that kind of show, a smarter kind of show. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Well they didn't want to do that. They like suddenly… and granted I was distracted because I was madly in love. So I was giving maybe the time that I should've given as a producer of this, creator of the show. So that's my part in it, but they… suddenly I came back from my honeymoon and they're wanting to do like, is your dog smarter than you? We’re going to find out.

 

Mark Shapiro: Mama’s pretty smart, she’s taking nap over there.

 

Ricki Lake: She is, she is smarter than me. But like it was just like, oh my God, this is not what I want. And then I'm suddenly having to do endorsements, like I'm having to hold a product up, like the segment of this show is brought to you by this curling iron. And I'm like, this is not, this is not what I want, you know, and I wasn't making, it wasn't about money, I really wanted to do something that was going to have an impact in a good way. So anyway, it was a total fiasco. The show, I was praying for it to be canceled. I was praying and it got cancelled, which I was so happy. I wasn't happy for the people that were out of work, but for me personally for my name value. And then I got nominated for the Emmy. So then that happened. I was like, what? Because I was the show that was cancelled and it was me, Anderson Cooper, Steve Harvey. Oh God. Dr Oz. Like a couple of other people. OK. And Steve Harvey was the darling, the hit show the year. I was planning my vacation to Ibiza. I go to Ibiza every year. That's my favorite place. My husband and I, it's our favorite place. So they're like, you got nominated, it's televised. You have to, you have to cancel your vacation. I'm like, I'm not canceling my vacation, I'm not going to win. I went to Ibiza. I was in bed at four in the morning and my phone starts blowing up and they're like… my husband answered the phone and he was like, you won! And I didn't even know what he was talking about. Won what? What did I win? You won the Emmy, you won the Emmy. So it was just one of those things…it was just so… it’s just my life, it's my life. It's like I go and do the show. It was a huge disappointment. I was so devastated. I move on, I go on vacation as planned and I win this, the award from my work. The show didn't win. I won as best talk show host and it was just, it was hilarious. So what’s my point? My point is it didn’t… I still didn't like let it go to my head. It was just, we were laughing our asses off.

 

Mark Shapiro: Do you ever get star struck?

 

Ricki Lake: Yes. Well, it's few and far between now. I used to get extremely… I was obsessed with… I mean my 21st birthday I like had as many celebrities come to my party as possible and I had a karaoke party. I had all the Brady Bunch people. I had the cast of China beach and Marlee Matlin and Matthew Perry and Christian Slater, all these people that I was like, many of them I was actually friends with and some I just wanted to call my friend, you know. I don’t really… who do I get starstruck? Oh, I'll tell you, there's one, Mel Brooks.

 

Mark Shapiro: You just saw him!

 

Ricki Lake: We hung! Dude. That was one of the greatest nights of my life. Like, and I bee-lined it for him and I try to be very respectful of people. I was in London and I'm telling you my husband, my deceased husband made it happen for me because I was in London when my husband took his life on February 11th. So I was going back to London to kind of redo the memory because I was so traumatized the last time I was there. So I went back, I was on the plane, I was saying, Christian, please, if you can, make this a memorable trip to London. Well, meeting and hanging out two nights in a row with Mel Brooks! I actually brought John Waters over to meet Mel Brooks. OK. That's not like the coolest thing ever? I did a Mitzvah. It was insane. And then, Mel Brooks has an instagram account, he put a picture, I guess someone did it for him, but it was our picture of us, me kissing him and he put “it's good to be the king”. Do you know, when he says that tagline on History of the World? I mean like, so yes… that was the perfect example of me losing my shit over somebody.

 

Mark Shapiro: That's awesome. I just love… I feel your excitement right now.

 

Ricki Lake: And he is so amazing. I actually want to reach out to him and I want to take him to dinner because first of all, he's so lucid. He was telling me stories about Anne Bancroft, stories of his start. I mean, it was one of the most amazing experiences because you know, I held him in such high regard and to be able to exceed my expectations… He was so, so lovely. Yeah. He's wonderful.

 

Mark Shapiro: I wanted to ask you about another one of… someone you looked up to and that’s Oprah. I read that when you first had your show you were like what would Oprah do?

 

Ricki Lake: Well I actually was a guest on her show.

 

Mark Shapiro: Before or after that?

 

Ricki Lake: I was a guest for Hairspray. So Hairspray came out and they had me on and did this thing called Dancing in the movies. I was maybe 19 and so it was me and it was the cast of Dirty Dancing and I taught Oprah to do one of the dances from Hairspray and I said on the air, I want to be the white Oprah. And they actually censored me. They actually… when you watched it… I don't know I meant that as an ultimate compliment. And it was like a self-fulfilling prophecy. I mean, who knew. I never never actually thought I could be a talk show host. But yeah, I did. I was a huge fan of hers in a lot of ways. I think, you know, she was relatable. Back then. I'm not talking about… Oprah then became, she began telling everybody how to live their best life and you know, I have a different persona. Like my take, my thing is like, I don't have it figured out, I'm not going to tell anybody how to live their lives, you know, I'm in it with you kind of thing. But I have a lot of respect for her. I think she's a great listener. I mean, she's beyond an icon and a legend. I mean, I have a lot of respect for her. I don't know her.

 

Mark Shapiro: You do technically know her. You were on her show. What was it like though for you when you were on the stage, on Oprah’s show?

 

Ricki Lake: I was on Oprah’s show twice. So I was on when I was 18, 19 years old and that was on again when they did Legendary talk show hosts. And so this was not that long ago. This was when she did the last season of her show. So it was Phil Donahue, me, Montel, Geraldo, Sally Jessy… I think that was it. It was, I mean, it's like a pinch me moment. I mean, I definitely have a picture of me, an outtake of me like, Holy Shit, Holy Shit, you know. Because it really does feel like it's like a fantasy, you know, fantasy that I'm living. I mean I also can recognize like why our show was the phenomenon that it was, you know. It was young… the concept and I have to give credit to who was the executive that came up with the concept. He looked at the demographics of these shows, Phil Donahue, Oprah and Sally Jesse, and they were all skewing over age of 50. So the idea was to take that genre and scale it down to a younger audience. And that was the concept. The concept was finding a young woman to host the show. They picked me for whatever reason, and I happened to be really good at it and in the beginning I would just channel Oprah. I literally like, OK, what would she say? How would she act? You know? And then eventually I would have my own voice. But again, back then in my twenties, I didn't really know who I was. It’s only now…

 

Mark Shapiro: Well yeah, we learn who we are every single day. We're constantly growing. I watched a Ted x talk, I think that the guy's name is Julian Baggini. He said who we are is a function of four different things: it is our beliefs, it's our desires, it's our memories and it's our feelings and all those things are constantly evolving and changing.

 

Ricki Lake: So what are they?

 

Mark Shapiro: Beliefs, desires, memories and feelings.

 

Ricki Lake: So memories, trauma would fit into memories, right?

 

Mark Shapiro: Sure.

 

Ricki Lake: That's interesting.

 

Mark Shapiro: Yeah. So we're constantly experiencing new moments of our life that are shifting that formula of who we are. So I think that that's just really, really fascinating. So Ricky, we've talked about some like super high moments, we've talked about some low moments and since this show is all about being real, I wanted to ask you about some of those awkward, uncomfortable moments. What is like a situation that you find it to be really challenging to be authentic? Because we all experienced those as well. It's really easy to be authentic when the stakes are low and when you're just living and you're by yourself, except for when it's not easy to be authentic.

 

Ricki Lake: Just recently I went to Esalen and I was at a workshop, and I didn’t like the leader, it’s not that I didn't like him, I didn't like what he was doing. I didn't feel like he was really good. So that was a moment, you know, where I'm just trying to be polite, but that's just the first thing that comes to mind. It was awkward and you know, I'm not good at being phony. I'm really not. I mean I do, I can, I want to be… I don't want to hurt someone's feelings. I don’t really mince words and I don’t really like being fake. That's not a really good example. That's not a juicy example of me feeling awkward.

 

Mark Shapiro: I had one of those the other day though. I was at a dinner party and they were all excited about it and the food was... not good. I felt obligated to eat the whole plate of food and that's not authentic and like I didn't really know what to say so I just found myself allotting the things like the heart that was put into it because I could see that, but I didn't make any comments about...

 

Ricki Lake: But you were full of shit basically.

 

Mark Shapiro: It was one of those uncomfortable moments and like the experience overall was great. The food I was like, not so much.

 

Ricki Lake: Yeah. I mean I think I'm getting more discerning about my time and who I spend time with. Like I'm having and less of those awkward kinds of things because I won't subject myself to it, you know? I want to come up with a good juicy answer for you, but...

 

Mark Shapiro: Well, if it comes to mind, certainly you can let me know. So one more question before we get into the truth challenge here. I've got this eight week program called Winning Weeks. It's essentially accountability for bringing your ideas and dreams to life and for being the best human you can be. So that could be doing something that's like facing a fear, it could be calling up that business investor, it could be not sleeping with your cell phone, it could be meditating for 15 minutes a day or calling your grandma or whatever it may be. So my question for you is like, what would you say the criteria is for you to have a winning week where at the end of the week you're like, I lived this week.

 

Ricki Lake: Wow. I mean definitely like taking good care of my body and mind and spirit, like putting good food in my body, exercising every day. I mean, that really does go a long way for me. Yeah. Making good decisions in the cryptocurrency space, that's always feeling good for me. And connections with people like I really am into having like deep, real, new friendships... I mean it's like being open to kind of what's coming in, you know, and embracing these new relationships. I'm really, I'm in a phase of saying yes to things that even aren't... that I don't know about, or am uncomfortable about, you know.

 

Mark Shapiro: Is there a recent one where you were like in the past I definitely would have said no to that and I said yes?

 

Ricki Lake: Well getting myself… this is not recent, but this was last year I went to that festival in Mexico with Brock and Crystal…

 

Mark Shapiro: Yeah I had Brock on the show earlier this summer.

 

Ricki Lake: Oh you did. He’s so amazing. They’re amazing. Those unicorns are just incredible. But they literally kidnapped me and brought me down to that festival and it was life changing for me. My husband at the time, we had separated for the last time and he was in a psychiatric hospital at that time. So, I mean, it was one of those moments, I barely knew Brock and Crystal, I did not know this place in Mexico. They described it… it was Sunday afternoon and it was happening Thursday. I have children, you know, I have a life, you know, I'm a virgo too… I'm someone that plans things out. I'm pretty on top of it. So they said, what are you doing Thursday? I was like, I don't know. They said you need to come. We are kidnapping you, you need to come. I said what is it? They said, oh, it's a Ibiza meets Burning Man on a beach in Mexico.

 

Mark Shapiro: That sounds awful!

 

Ricki Lake: But it was a moment of like me not really knowing these people. I'm in a traumatic state because I'm going through a lot personally and not knowing their motto is yes please, I said yes. And I went and had this major, transformative life changing experience in front of the Mayan Warrior, which I'd never seen before. I’d never been to Burning Man with Sabo playing. And I basically, in front of that art car, I surrender and let go of my beloved and you know, I mean it was, it was a major thing that took place. So that was a perfect example of me stepping out of my comfort zone, trusting the universe, surrendering and benefiting, you know. Yeah. Did I answer your question?

 

Mark Shapiro: You did, yeah that was great. Alright Ricky it is time for the Truth Challenge. So I've got five questions that I've come up with specifically for you. You're going to have just 30 seconds to answer each and it's your job...

 

Ricki Lake: Can I plead the fifth?

 

Mark Shapiro: Yeah, you can. It's your job to answer them honestly and authentically. You accept the challenge?

 

Ricki Lake: Totally.

 

Mark Shapiro: Alright. The Truth Challenge with the one and only Ricky Lake. Question number one for you Ricky, we'll start out with our giving confessions question. What is something that you're embarrassed to admit or maybe even ashamed to admit, but you'll share anyways because it could help somebody else feel less alone?

 

Ricki Lake: Oh my God.... I don't know. Do I really have only 30 seconds I can't think...

 

Mark Shapiro: I'll let you think about it for a second.

 

Ricki Lake: I mean, I can't think of anything I'm embarrassed to admit.

 

Mark Shapiro: It could be like anything you're struggling with or... any unsupportive self-talk...

 

Ricki Lake: I mean there's so much but I'm trying to think of one.

 

Mark Shapiro: What is something that you are embarrassed to admit or maybe even kind of a little bit ashamed of, but you'll share anyways today because it could potentially help somebody else feel less alone?

 

Ricki Lake: I'm not embarrassed to admit... I mean there's days that I don't feel like getting out of bed like as much as I'd seem like I have my shit together and I do for the most part I think I, particularly this year struggle with, you know, my day to day life sometimes and I just... I'm not embarrassed to admit that, but it's just, it's real.

 

Mark Shapiro: Question number two for you. This show is called The One and Only, there's 7 billion people, but only one of each of us. What makes you one of a kind? What makes you the one and only?

 

Ricki Lake: Oh my gosh, I mean I have a lot of qualities to me that I think make me pretty unique. I definitely am someone who tries to make lemonade out of lemons and have been successful through much of my life and career. I'm just, I don't know. I'm pretty solid. I'm solid with... me as a friend, as a mother, as someone who's been successful. I've been able to reinvent myself. I've been able to kind of go against the grain. I think I'm the ultimate underdog. I think that's one of the reasons why I love the crypto-currency space. I think I'm really drawn to these nerds that are really... it's like the revenge of the nerds. So, I don't know. I think that's a few reasons why I'm... what makes me one in a billion.

 

Mark Shapiro: Question number three. Let's say you were to throw a reunion of nineties TV hosts, who would you want to be at a table with and what would you talk about?

 

Ricki Lake: I would love to talk to Phil Donahue. Oprah too. Oprah too. But I always get the sense I'm not going to get to really talk to her. Like she's not going to be completely authentic. Something tells me… I don't know, maybe that's not fair. But Phil Donahue, who was on the air for 26 years, back in the day and did so much to advance humanity as far as I'm concerned. I mean he’s just a brilliant, brilliant host, but I'd love to get his take on the state of the world right now and he’s just been pretty quiet. I really admire him.

 

Mark Shapiro: I was interested to hear what you said, and notable people left off, Montel and a Jerry Springer we're not on that list. You had 30 seconds!

 

Ricki Lake: I think Montell actually is really incredibly brave and outspoken. I have a lot of respect for him and Jerry Springer too, Jerry is super smart. He's very, he was in politics, you know... I mean, they all have their own place, even Sally Jessy, I like them all. Carnie Wilson had a talk show back in the day.

 

Mark Shapiro: What a club right there.

 

Ricki Lake: It is a funny club to have been a part of. And it's also that I'm so glad it's in my past. I'm so glad I'm not on the View. And Rosie O'Donnell, she's a good friend of mine.

 

Mark Shapiro: Question number four for you. What can we expect from you next?

 

Ricki Lake: That is a very good question. I don't know. I mean, I have a film that we just finished called Weed the people. It's about cannabis and the focus is children and cancer. So that is really my husband's legacy. His spirit is on every frame of the film and we dedicate it to him and to a little boy that died called AJ. So that's next. And again that’s the whole sort of premise of the film is about informed choice. And we're making another film, Abby, my partner and I are making another film about birth control, hormonal birth control. And that's our next one. So we're in production on that.

 

Mark Shapiro: Question number five, you've got 30 seconds: What is your dream for the world?

 

Ricki Lake: I would love to live in a world where all of us are embraced and accepted for who we are and obviously for no one to be suffering needlessly. For property to be eradicated and disease… I mean all of the above. I want my children to have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink and swimming in. So yeah, I guess I want a lot.

 

Mark Shapiro: That's a beautiful vision. The one and only Ricki Lake. Love what you said and you said something where you want to live in a world where... your dream is that we live in a world where everyone's accepted for who they are. Any idea how we can do that?

 

Ricki Lake: I mean, I think it starts with us. Me as a mother raising my young men to respect others, to love themselves. So much of it I think is about self love which is so hard, it's so hard, especially when we grow up. I grew up with a mother who was extremely self-loathing and full of fear, but yet against all odds I think I have come to a place of certainly self acceptance and for the most part self love, but I think I've come a long way.

 

Mark Shapiro: Yeah. That's amazing. I can certainly relate to that as well in my evolution. I feel more secure in my own skin. I feel freer than I've ever felt and there's moments every day where I'm not giving myself the self love. So it really is that polarity that I constantly experience and you know, every moment's a new moment.

 

Ricki Lake: It’s such a process. It's such an interesting… I mean, I try to like step back and look at my life, you know, sometimes it's like I wouldn't have it any other way. I wouldn't trade any of it. Even my loss. My husband taking his life. I would signed up for tomorrow knowing how it would end if I could have what I had for those six and a half years. Where do I sign?

 

Mark Shapiro: Your resilience and transparency and openness is so inspiring, Ricky. So, let's wrap this show up. What can we do to support you?

 

Ricki Lake: Oh, I don't know. Thank you for offering. I don't know. I guess just meeting, continuing to meet really inspiring people and sharing my story and feeling like I'm not alone in my grief and loss, you know, that helps.

 

Mark Shapiro: And Ricky, since the show is all about being real, I like to have conversations that aren't the normal conversation. So my question for you is I'd love to hear just your internal narrative over the last hour during this experience. Because all day, every day we're out and about being social. There's the external conversation and there's the internal conversation and oftentimes the internal conversation isn't aired externally. So on this show, it's one of my favorite questions to ask at the end of the interview. What's been your internal dialogue?

 

Ricki Lake: It's like what's he going to ask next? Is he going to go there? You know... Ricky, wrap it up, wrap it up you're too long winded. I mean, it's mostly me judging myself I guess.

 

Mark Shapiro: I can relate to that as well. My internal dialogue is that I feel honored to have this experience with you. You know, someone who I grew up watching on TV and having so much respect for, to have your trust to have you on the show means a lot to me.

 

Ricki Lake: It's really a pleasure. I mean I really connected with you and that bus that night. I wasn't in the mind space, you know, I wasn't in the same head space as every one, but I remember you saying what the crux of your show is and that's what I'm all about. I mean, I really pride myself on being true to myself and being authentic with people. I can't be any other way, it just doesn't work for me. So, if something isn't good for me, I removed myself.

 

Mark Shapiro: Yeah, Mama's loving her mama.

 

Ricki Lake: She's really medicine for me.

 

Mark Shapiro: Dogs are so therapeutic. Yeah. The four most common regrets that people have on their deathbed according to Bronnie Ware's famous memoir The Top five Regrets of the Dying is that people live the life that others expect of them, versus fully going after their dreams. They spend way too much time working, don't allow themselves to fully express themselves, which stifles creativity. Don't spend as much time as they'd like with the people that they love most and inspire them. And fifth, they don't allow themselves to be happier. And it's just a shame that those are the five most common regrets. I mean, I've pretty much dedicated my life's work to supporting people today so they don't end up at the end of their life wishing that they hadn't done it differently.

 

Ricki Lake: I don't think I'll ever be that person. I do feel like I am living a really pretty great life. You know, I have done, I mean I can't think of... I have very few regrets. I remember one regret that comes to mind is when I went and saw Hamilton, I did not go backstage.

 

Mark Shapiro: That's a big one.

 

Ricki Lake: I was performing the next night at Carnegie Hall with Alan Cumming, he’s a very good friend of mine. He’s amazing. He’s in such a beautiful man. And so I was going to meet them and I brought my friend Abby, my partner, to see Hamilton. I got the best house seats. We were blown away, it was fucking unbelievable and I get sometimes a little… I can't say shy because I'm not shy, but I get to where I don't want to bother them. That kind of feeling. It'll come up a little bit. Let's not bother them. Let's just, we'll meet up with Alan and I blew off going to meet Lin Manuel Miranda and the cast, which, that's my audience! Like they would've loved me, to meet me I think, and so I was like, damn, I'm kicking myself that I didn’t go back stage.

 

Mark Shapiro: It’s funny the stories we tell ourselves to justify or fears.

 

Ricki Lake: In that moment, I was like… whereas, it's funny why I felt that then, but when I saw Mel Brooks, I bee-lined and like tackled the guy.

 

Mark Shapiro: You were supposed to meet him in that moment. I got to go back to the question when I asked you about your internal dialogue and you're like, a wonder what he's going to ask me next or if he's going to go there. So my question is, what is there?

 

Ricki Lake: Oh no, I don't know. There's no... I mean, as you can tell, I'm an open book. There's not really anything won't answer. I mean, I try to be respectful of like my ex husband or whatever, you know?

 

Mark Shapiro: Yeah. You're super real, is there a boundary as to what you would or wouldn't share publicly?

 

Ricki Lake: I share pretty much everything publicly. But having said that, I did not voice what I think a lot on social media anymore because you’re gonna piss off somebody, you know. I just don't feel like it's worth the potential…

 

Mark Shapiro: The energy or whatever…

 

Ricki Lake: I’m much more quiet than I used to be. Once Christian got ill, before he died, when he got ill the first time with me and then we got back together and it was so hard to kind of explain to people… Then I became more private. It's funny, I had always considered myself to just, whatever, anybody can have access to me. It's the paradox, because I look at the Kardashians and I get really irritated that they want certain parts of their lives to just be private while they're profiting on them exposing themselves ad nauseum, you don't get to be private. I'm sorry, you know. But yet I was a public figure. I was considered like a very open book and very honest and authentic about my hardships and my successes. When Christian got ill, I saw a reason to kind of shut it down, because it wasn't my job to kind of share what I was going through, you know what I mean? So it goes back to I'm just really glad I'm not doing this as a day job anymore. I'm so glad. I made the money. I made enough money, you don't have Oprah money or any of that. I have enough, you know. And now there's crypto.

 

Mark Shapiro: You are incredible. What final words of wisdom and inspiration do you have for listeners of the show?

 

Ricki Lake: I would start looking into blockchain and crypto currency. I would.

 

Mark Shapiro: There you have it.

 

Ricki Lake: Because it is the future. It is super exciting and it is going to help the world at large I believe. It is absolutely going to level the playing field, it is going to help the third world. People are gonna... it's very altruistic I'm finding, that world, they're all up for helping everyone which is so rare when you think of a business, you know? I think everybody wins. So that's something I think everyone should be getting educated on and I'm still learning so much, but that's my one piece of advice.

 

Mark Shapiro: Ricki Lake. I was trying to think of a funny joke to end it with and I started thinking about the musical Annie and I'm like what song do I sing? It's a Hard Knock Life or The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow… Ricky it's been such a pleasure.

 

Ricki Lake: Such a pleasure, thank you Mark.

Episode Quotes

"The older I get, the cooler I get."

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"I’m curious, and I give a shit."

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“I am so far from perfect.”

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“I am finding my true self through my greatest loss.”

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“I forget I’m famous a lot of the time.”

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