Sitting still is not in Sherri Shepherd’s nature. Even during the pandemic, the vivacious comedian and actress found a way to perform her stand-up act for a live audience with social distancing.
“They came to watch me in a parking lot. They sat in their cars and listened to me through the radio and they had these little hand clappers. You knew the joke worked if you could hear the clappers. They would also flash their headlights on and off,” she exclusively explains to Closer. “Just to get on that stage, it felt like I was home — where I am supposed to be.”
Over the past three decades, Sherri, 53, has made a name for herself throughout the entertainment world. “I love being an actor and playing pretend,” says the star, who currently can be seen on Netflix’ Mr. Iglesias and ABC’s Call Your Mother. But the former co-host of The View and celebrity spokesperson for HealthyWage.com, doesn’t rule out doing more talk show gigs or celebrity competitions. “I love being myself too,” says Sherri, who survived to week six on the second season of The Masked Singer in 2019. “I feel like, wow, I get to do it all. How many people can say that?”
Keep scrolling below for Closer‘s exclusive Q&A interview with Sherri Shepherd!
So what else have you been up to during the pandemic?
I’m watching shows I hadn’t watched before. I never saw Game of Thrones, so I binged that. I’m also doing things that scare me, like writing. I write stand-up, but I never considered myself a writer. I’m working on projects I can bring to networks and the big screen. I’ve also been walking a few miles about three times a week. I’ve never walked this much in my life!
Sounds like you’re focused on your health.
I gained 25 pounds during the quarantine because there was just nothing to do. So I started the weight-loss journey with HealthyWage.com. I love it because they give you an incentive to lose weight by winning money.
HealthyWage actually pays people to lose weight?
Yes, but it’s a six-month commitment. Six months goes far towards creating a healthy lifestyle, which is what I love. They don’t tie you down to one certain type of diet. It’s like you are betting on yourself to lose the amount of weight over six months. My personal goal is to lose 15 pounds.
What else motivates you to get healthy?
My motivation is my 15-year-old son, Jeffrey. I want to be around for him. I want to be able to run and live life and have him know that mom is there.
Growing up, did you always want to be a comedian?
Yeah, I used to do talent shows with my family. I was always dancing and entertaining. I think it’s kind of natural. I always wanted to make everybody laugh, so being a stand-up is kind of following my purpose and my passion. Not one person in my family was surprised.
Did you go through any tough times before your career took off?
When I first started, I got evicted all the time. My stuff was always in the street or in my car. I was living on people’s couches and taking the bus when my car was repossessed. It was hard. But I loved [comedy] so much. It felt like if I was not able to get on stage, I would die.
Of course, a lot of people remember you from your eight years on The View. What do you remember most about that time?
The genuine connection we all had. We loved each other so much. It was Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Lizzy Hasselbeck, Barbara Walters and Jenny McCarthy. It was one of the best experiences of my life because of the family we created. I talk to them to this day.
Do you have any regrets about your time on the show?
No, because even my failures were moments for me to get back up and learn something. At one point, I didn’t know if the Earth was round or flat. That was horrible. But it taught me to learn about the world beyond my religion. So my biggest failures were actually stepping stones to being better.
You’ve been on a lot of competition shows including Dancing With the Stars and The Masked Singer. Which was the most fun to do?
Both were things I was scared about doing. But my mantra for life is that if there’s something that you fear, you should run towards it. The Masked Singer was especially scary because I can’t sing. Dancing was more fun. I love to dance.
Has it been hard to balance motherhood with your work?
I think you have to make the kids be a priority. Everything revolves around Jeffrey. I’ve turned down filming in Italy because I can’t be away from my son that long. I know that if I can be there for him, everything else will fall into place.
What’s the best thing about being a mom?
Oh, I just love my child so much. I see him thinking on his own and accomplishing things on his own. It makes me proud. My son has this amazing dry sense of humor — maybe he got that from me. And he’s a hustler like his mama. I don’t know what I would do if I wasn’t a mother.
What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned?
I’ve learned that this too shall pass. When you get older, you realize that the thing that caused so much drama and gave you so much angst, in a year it will be like the dust in the wind.
What are you proudest of in your career?
My longevity. I’m so thankful and grateful that I’m still relevant. I’ve worked hard to be relevant. You have to be open to accepting new things and new challenges. I’m real thankful that it’s not, “Hey, whatever happened to Sherri Shepherd?”
— Reporting by Lexi Ciccone