“We get zippo,” says the quintessential performer. whose stage show hits the Herbst Theatre on Friday.
“If there was ever an unfair case, it’s [the actors’] case,” she says. “Mickey Rooney, myself, others … we should be crossing picket lines. I wish them all well. I hope they get what they want, but think about us: We don’t get anything in residuals. Nobody’s fighting for us.”
Not yet, anyway. But Reynolds’ energy is at an all-time high. Her show, which lands in Las Vegas later this month, blends song and dance sequences, film clips and tosses in a bevy of vaudeville shtick.
“Paris [Hilton] is the niece of Zsa Zsa Gabor,” Reynolds muses of one of her comedy routines. “A lot of people don’t know that, and I didn’t know that, and suddenly one day, I thought, ‘You know, Zsa Zsa’s niece is little Paris, and wouldn’t it be funny in the show if Zsa Zsa would advise Paris and they both screw up.’”
Reynolds, who will be 75 in April, says the new tour continues to fuel her desire to perform.
“I love the liveness of it,” she says. “I like the fact that people are sitting there and they either love you or they don’t like you at all, but you know the truth.
“I’ve been very lucky to have a good fan base for 60 years and they still come and see me,” she adds. “They hold me up. They give me the courage to keep going on. They laugh. I laugh. It’s my happiest time when I am onstage.”
Still, she doesn’t mind kudos from other gigs. She nabbed an Emmy nomination for playing Grace’s gregarious mother, Bobbi Adler, on NBC’s “Will & Grace,” which kept her celebrity afloat in an era obsessed with coveting younger celebs.
Part of Reynolds’ charm stems from the fact that she managed to cement herself in the pop culture database after the hit movies “Singing in the Rain” and “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.”
But she admits that times have changed.
“There are just more paparazzi and more newspapers and more magazines and more cable channels,” she says. “It’s just more exposure. We had a radio. Now you have 14,000 cable channels. You know, people are running around like chickens trying to suck all the strength out of the huge stars. It’s really too much. And they’re too tough on the young people.”
One of the things she’s learned over the years is that she’ll never learn “patience.”
“As much as I try, I still get too upset over things,” she says. “I am still tenderhearted. I still get upset over things that are done to me that are unfair. I should just ignore it. But if they start in about my children …
“It’s all about my children,” she says. “I am the typical mother bear. Ask Carrie [Fisher], she’ll tell you. She’d say, ‘Oh, mother got upset. It’s OK. She’ll be all right.’”
Fisher’s one-woman show is rumored to arrive in The City sometime after the first of the year.
“I’m very proud of her,” Reynolds says of her daughter. “She is extremely gifted and funny. Every gay man in L.A. saw her show and I know the gay men in San Francisco will back her more than anybody else.”
IF YOU GO
Where: Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Tickets: $47.50 to $77.50
Contact: (415) 392-4400 or www.cityboxoffice.com