In her current Showtime special, Medusa: Dare to Be Truthful, Julie Brown proves that imitation is the sincerest form of savagery. Brown’s scorched-earth parody of Madonna leaves no quirk unscorned. In an hour that takes its cues from the rockumentary Truth or Dare, Madonna — make that Medusa — visits her hometown (”There’s the phone booth where I lost my virginity!”), presents herself as a fount of original ideas (”Imitating Marilyn Monroe…grabbing my crotch…”), and does to an entire watermelon what Madonna did to a Vichy bottle. ”Made me a star!” she chirps, triumphantly discarding the drained rind.
It’s a crowning moment for Brown, whose comic videos and MTV series Just Say Julie have made her a virtual on-site critic of music-video style. ”I always loved Spinal Tap and the Rutles,” she says, ”and I had been working on a Medusa-like character for a while.” But it was the quasi-uncensored Madonna of Truth or Dare that spurred Brown to cowrite (with Charles Coffey), produce, and star in Dare to Be Truthful. The special has won critical raves, but one particular reviewer hasn’t weighed in yet. ”CAA (Madonna’s agency) just called and asked for the tape,” says Brown. ”In my fantasy, she’s like the toughest chick in high school who throws you up against a locker and says, ‘I’m gonna beat you up!’ And I say, ‘Oh no, Madonna, don’t hurt me!’ But I don’t think she’ll be mad. I mean, the camera has covered every square inch of her life already. What could she object to?”