Funny gal Tracey Ullman takes on all of U.S. in her 'State of the Union'
Posted by Dave Walker, TV columnist, The Times-Picayune January 15, 2009 9:27AM
Courtesy of Showtime
Tracey Ullman will appear in a new Showtime special "Tracey Ullman's State of the Union" on April 12.

HOLLYWOOD -- The new season premier is months away, but celebrating the April 12 return to Showtime of "Tracey Ullman's State of the Union" seems like a patriotic thing to do.

Meeting here with television critics assembled for the January TV Tour, Ullman, a Brit by birth, said that achieving American citizenship helped set the direction for the series, which is a characters-rich (some invented, some real people) TV travelogue round the fruited plain.

"After being here for 25 years ... I wanted to vote, and I wanted to be a part of it," she said. "And I went through the whole procedure of becoming an American. And I felt a psychological barrier was gone. I felt I could really say stuff that we all say, that Jon Stewart says, that Stephen Colbert says, and I wasn't going to end up in Guantanamo Bay."

One character Ullman takes on in the series is Celine Dion, specifically Dion's emotional appearance on "Larry King Live" during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Another is the return from season one of political commentator-turned-news-website queen Arianna Huffington, who fancies Ullman's version of her.

"I have known her for a little while, actually," Ullman said. "I always used to hear her on the radio saying things like, 'Warren, it's a real litmus test,' and I thought, 'Oh, my goodness, she sounds like Eva Gabor in "Green Acres."'

"And then I met her, and she's glorious and bold and curious and educated.

"She loves the fact I'm impersonating her -- is thrilled about it. I did go and
show her the tape before it went out on television. I took her a lot of soaps and nice stuff from Barneys, a big basket, like a peace offering. I took that in, and then I showed her the tape.

"She's taken it very well."