John Waters puts his spin on Christmas

“A John Waters Christmas” features music before the show, and the movie director discusses Christmas caroling. But don’t expect any Waters warbling.

“It’s not like I come out and sing. Believe me, if I could have exploited that, I would have,” said the 72-year-old Waters.

His favorite Christmas songs?

“The most obnoxious ones, the barking dogs singing ‘Jingle Bells.’ That one is maybe the most obnoxious one of all,” Waters said before barking the tune with vigor.

Here’s hoping you hear that rendition when Waters plays the Plaza Live on Monday, Dec. 17.

Waters is one of the sly, subversive masters of American film. His credits include “Pink Flamingos,” “Polyester,” “Cry-Baby,” “Serial Mom,” “Cecil B. Demented” and the original 1988 version of “Hairspray.”

The Baltimore filmmaker has delivered his Christmas show more than 200 times.

“I rewrite it every year,” he said. “Put in new stuff, so it’s pretty much all new every year.”

Does the audience expect the outrageous from him?

“I think they expect me to make ’em laugh,” he said. “If they come to see me, they want some material that makes them nervous. I’m never mean. I make fun of things I love. I’m always amazed by human behavior that I can’t understand. I think I’m just like the audience.”

He said it’s never hard to perform if he’s prepared.

“It’s hard to memorize 70 minutes’ worth of new stuff every year, but I do it,” he said. “I get paid well. The audience pays for it. I’m surprised they don’t want a lap dance at the meet and greet. “

He doesn’t discuss his movies, but talks Christmas themes.

“I’m not going to tell you all my new jokes. So why come? It won’t be new anymore,” he said. “It’s about crime, fashion, the worst presents you can give people, the best, what I think about all kinds of gift cards, lazy people at Christmas, the Easter Bunny and the enemy of Santa Claus. I go into lots of detail.”

He weighs in on politics and acknowledges he’s no fan of President Donald Trump.

“I make Democrat jokes, too,” he said.

Other topics include dangerous toys and what Waters likes and dislikes about the holidays.

“I hate email Christmas cards. I just delete,” he said. “’Cause I happen to like the postman, and he walks around all day with nothing to deliver now. I feel bad for the postman. What are stamp collectors supposed to do? What I love about it: Well, it’s a good time for criminals, certainly. They have a big list, too. They have to buy presents. I’m always been fascinated by Christmas crime.”

He offers succinct Christmas advice.

“Be prepared. It’s coming like a tsunami wave. You can’t do anything about it.”

Christmas presents aren’t about how much money is spent, he said, but about how much time you spend finding the perfect gift.

“If someone spends too much money on a Christmas present, it’s kind of vulgar,” he added.

Each year, he gives about one hundred presents and throws a big Christmas party.

“It’s all traditional but with a spin,” he said. “We don’t decorate a tree. We decorate the electric chair from ‘Female Trouble.’”

For gifts, he prefers books to films. Yet he’s thrilled that his “Female Trouble” and “Multiple Maniacs” have received loving releases by the Criterion Collection.

Waters has bemoaned “the rules of the tyranny of good taste.”

“I was raised on good taste,” he told me. “That was the only way I could make a living, making fun of it. You have to know the rules to break ’em. I think I actually have good taste.”

There’s always been bad taste, Waters said. “The worst taste is people that brag about being rich,” he said. “That’s the lowest you can be”

John Waters

What: The film director presents ‘A John Waters Christmas’

When: 7:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17

Where:The Plaza Live, 425 N. Bumby Ave., Orlando

Cost: Tickets start at $28

Online: ticketfly.com

Email Hal at hboedeker@orlandosentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter: @tvguyhal. Instagram: TVGuyHal

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