It’s true — the iconic actor and comedian was born Caryn Elaine Johnson, and when she started performing, she went by Whoopi Goldberg. But why?
Well, Whoopi’s granddaughter, Amara Skye Dean, appears on tonight’s episode of the ABC game show Claim to Fame, and during the episode (via Entertainment Weekly), she reveals the truth behind what makes Whoopi, well, Whoopi.
So, during the episode, Amara tells an anecdote involving her grandmother and legendary comedians Robin Williams and Billy Crystal — specifically, about how all three of them got into a fart-off in an elevator. Yes, really.
“I guess they were Dutch Oven-ing each other, just basking in the ambience of farts,” Amara recounted, after saying that “Robin Williams was just farting his life away.”
“My grandma got her name because she likes to fart a lot,” Amara said. “So, whoopee cushions, farts. That’s how Caryn Johnson became Whoopi Goldberg.”
What a revelation! Although, to be clear, this isn’t the first time we’ve gotten a whiff — sorry — of how Whoopi’s love of flatulence inspired her stage name.
“When you’re performing on stage, you never really have time to go into the bathroom and close the door,” she explained to the New York Times in 2006. “So if you get a little gassy, you’ve got to let it go. So people used to say to me, ‘You’re like a whoopee cushion.’ And that’s where the name came from.”
Hey, let’s face it — farts are funny, and so is Whoopi Goldberg. It’s a match made in flatulent heaven.
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