Watch: Cher Tells Colbert Why 'Happiness is a Thing Called Joe'

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday November 3, 2020

Cher on 'The Late Show with Stephen Colbert'
Cher on 'The Late Show with Stephen Colbert'  (Source:Screencap / CBS / YouTube)

Cher appeared on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" on Nov. 2 to share how she's handling stress, talk about her admiration for Joe Biden, and promote her new single, "Happiness is Just a Thing Called Joe."

The new single is a rewrite of the Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg song "Happiness is a Thing Called Joe," which was originally composed for the 1943 movie "Cabin in the Sky," a movie musical directed by Vincent Minelli that was based on the 1941 Broadway musical of the same name. The film featured an all-Black cast.

"When I thought about him, I remembered the song," Cher recalled. "I rewrote the lyrics, and I just thought it's just so perfect and it's the way I feel about him and the way I'd like everyone to feel about him."

The lyrics, as rewritten by Cher, read: "He's got a way that makes the angels heave a sigh / When they know President Joe's passing by."

The superstar, a longtime LGBTQ equality ally, spoke about her activities in support of Biden in the days leading up to the election. "What's been keeping me energized is I've been talking to phone banks, I've been talking to volunteers. I've been in Arizona, I've been in Nevada... and I try not to watch the news," Cher said.

She discussed the pep talk she gives to phone bank volunteers. "There's lots of me explaining why I'm doing this and how proud I am of everybody," Cher recounted. "And how I support them, and I know the job is hard... but they've just got to keep going. And they're so willing; they're so ready."

The superstar recalled first meeting Biden in 2006. "He thinks that he invited me to see him, but I crashed his office," she cracked. Initially, skeptical of Biden, Cher asked him a question that, she said, other politicians might have tried to duck or evade. But not Biden: "I found out how straight he was" in his willingness to give an honest answer, she told Colbert. "I cannot tell you how impressed I am with him. I mean, we all know he's got compassion, and that's a big thing - I mean, it's a huge thing now, but he has more than compassion. He's so smart and he's so dedicated, and he wants us to become the country that we should have become."

After playing a clip of Cher performing the new single, Colbert wondered how Cher manages stress and anxiety before the election. "Now, I know you don't drink and you don't smoke," the host said. "What's your vice?... Do you, like, hit the ice cream hard?"

"Sometimes, but that doesn't really help!" Cher laughed. "I think I might start drinking tomorrow night!" Turning serious, the superstar showed off a thumb ring a friend had given her. "It says 'Fear not,' " the singer shared. "I just twirl it and when I'm really, really nervous, I just look down at it and when it says 'Fear not,' I just stop myself" from fretting.

Watch Colbert's chat with Cher below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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