Chuck Knipp

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F. Charles "Chuck" Knipp
Chuck Knipp, performs in blackface as Shirley Q. Liquor in New Orleans at the "Good Friends" bar. 2001
Born1961 (age 58–59)
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
OccupationActor, comedian, registered nurse

Chuck Knipp (born 1961) is an American Canadian (dual citizenship) comedian best known for his controversial vocal characterisations heard on radio – the "Mammy Welfare Queen", Shirley Q. Liquor; histrionic North Dakota Marge; Orangefield resident Delbert Peveto; and the tragic searcher for any kind of spirituality, Betty Butterfield.

Knipp also does radio vocal impersonations of Madalyn Murray O'Hair, Al Gore, Barbara Jordan, H. Ross Perot, U.S. Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, George Bush and Bill Clinton as well as Canadian Prime Ministers Brian Mulroney and Jean Chrétien. He is known for radio advertisements in Southeast Texas as well as widespread protests against his performances.

Lesser-known works are his assortment of characters in an imaginary transsexual drag show, a continuing web-based series,[1] featuring characters Sissy St James, Mrs. Valerie Valingtimes, Mavis McDougall, Wanda Melon, Lindsey the Mediator, "Placidia the Robot Transy" and the "Bitter Comic". Valerie Valingtimes was recently featured as the voice of a flight attendant in a remix on RuPaul's Drag Race. (Season 7, Episode 2).

Knipp is a member of the Libertarian Party and was nominated as their candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000 for Texas, District 2. He is a member of The Quaker Universalist Fellowship and Silent Unity.


  • The entertainer RuPaul has long been a fan and supporter of Knipp. "Critics who think that Shirley Q. Liquor is offensive are idiots. Listen, I've been discriminated against by everybody in the world: gay people, black people, whatever. I know discrimination, I know racism, I know it very intimately. She's not racist, and if she were, she wouldn't be on my new CD."[2] In his blog, RuPaul adds: "I am very sensitive to issues of racism, sexism and discrimination. I am a gay black man, who started my career as a professional transvestite in Georgia, twenty years ago."[3]
  • The Boston Phoenix journalist Dan Kennedy awarded Boston government official Jerome Smith the dubious Muzzle Award for his part in the cancellation of Knipp's scheduled performance in Boston in 2004.[4]
  • The writer David Holthouse, the anti-racist investigator for the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Report, stated that "Knipp is in no way a white supremacist" and that Knipp "invites the audience to sympathize with a single Black mother". An in-depth article was printed in the June, 2007, edition of Rolling Stone magazine.
  • The New York Blade criticized GLAAD for condemning Knipp, stating, "We commend GLAAD for condemning racism, but we question whether the organization's goal is best attained by joining this particular fight."[5]
  • John Strausbaugh, the author of Blackface, Whiteface, Insult & Imitation in American Popular Culture, explores Liquor's act in his book.
  • Syndicated radio host Michael Berry, a native of Orange, Texas, plays frequent clips and often live phone interviews with Knipp's characters.
  • Louisville, KY radio and television personality Terry Meiners, a long time presence on the local airwaves, frequently features clips and recorded skits with Shirley Q. Liquor as she visits some of our local businesses with Terry's own character "Trouble Man" on iHeartRadio's local radio station WHAS AM.[6]

Knipp concedes that his performances should make people uncomfortable because "we all are used to treating African Americans as if their skin colour is a disease" and that black people are "more than intelligent enough to discern the nuance" of his performances. He has also said that "many people thought that Harriet Beecher-Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin was and still is perceived as racist, despite being the probable artistic genesis of emotional support against slavery in the 19th century."


There have been a number of articles in the media that have taken issue with Knipp and the character.

  • To Knipp's declaration that Liquor "was created in celebration of, not to downgrade, black women",[7] Jasmyne Cannick countered in her blog: " is not possible for Charles Knipp, a white man, to help heal years of mistreatment and racism at the hands of his people by putting on a wig, speaking Ebonics, and in blackface...There is nothing remotely uplifting about Knipp's act and I wish people would stop defending his character with the tired argument that he's trying to heal the nation. The only thing Knipp is trying to heal is the hole in his pocket by filling it with all of the money he makes off of degrading Black people."[8]
  • The writer Jennifer Daniels of Rwanda wrote, "I have [no] intention of slinking off into some corner while some PSEUDO-bigot paints his face black and gets rich off spewing hurtful and embarrassing stereotypes about Black women...Knipp is free to celebrate Black women his way. That is certainly his right. But I have a right to publicly critique said celebration and encourage others not to participate."[9] Daniels offered Knipp an interview with a BET online site "to set the record straight" about his Shirley Q. Liquor character, but Knipp declined to participate, preferring to do an in-depth article by Rolling Stone magazine.


  1. ^ Transy Radio -{""} Archived 2014-11-10 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^
  3. ^ RuPaul. "These Folks Is Just Plain Ignunt!" (blog entry) Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine 3 November 2002
  4. ^ Kennedy, Dan. "The sixth annual Muzzle Awards", The Boston Phoenix, 10 July 2003
  5. ^ GLAAD’s New Act, The New York Blade Online, 23 February 2007
  6. ^ The Terry Meiners Show Website
  7. ^ "Shirley Q. Liquor Does Southern Decadence" Archived 2019-12-25 at the Wayback Machine, Southern Decadence
  8. ^ Cannick, Jasmyne. "Shirley Q. Liquor Update: A Response to the Blade Editorial "GLAAD's New Act" (blog entry Archived 2015-09-19 at the Wayback Machine), 23 February 2007
  9. ^ Daniels, Jennifer. "The Racist Sting of Shirley Q.", Black Entertainment Television, 22 January 2007

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