Chuck Knipp is an American and Canadian (dual citizenship) drag comedian best known for his controversial alter egos, the black-face character "Shirley Q. Liquor" and "Betty Butterfield." His other characters are also what he calls "absurdist" - "Dr. Williams," a Valium-over-prescribing Texas family doctor, and "Narth Dakota Marge" who tends to run over "fat babies" in her Cadillac.
Knipp is a citizen of both the United States and Canada, active in the ACLU and Libertarian Party and was nominated as their candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000. (Texas, District 2). He is a commissioned notary public at large for the State of Kentucky.
Knipp is a 1979 graduate of West Orange-Stark High School in Orange, Texas, where he served as drum major of the high school band.
Knipp's best known character is Shirley Q. Liquor, a cariacature of a black southern woman. Knipp performs the character -- an Ebonics speaking, welfare-collecting mother of 19 children -- in blackface. Knipp speaks in a dialect when he is performing as Shirley. Her conversations are often riddled with malapropisms, as when she suggests that her cat needs to get "sprayed", or when she goes shopping at "K-Mark" or 'Wal-Mark". The character attends Mount Holy Olive Second Baptist Zion Church of God in Christ of Resurrected Latter-Day Saints AME Hallelujah Jesus (a reference to historically African-American churches). She also references the Macademia Jubilation Congregation and the Reese's Peanut Butter Choir. On a few skits, she refers to herself as The Reverend Doctor Shirley Q. Liquor.
Liquor's best friend is the seven-foot-tall, 400 pound Watutsi Jenkins, who struggles with mental illness and needs to get "her head shocked" on a regular basis. Jenkins and Liquor are fans of Barry White as well as soap operas, which they refer to as "stories". Both are also fans of Schlitz and Colt 45 malt liquor and menthol cigarettes. Jenkins usually appears in "Happy Hour" skits which mimic a radio broadcast. In addition to live performances, Knipp has produced several spoken-word CDs. Knipp's "Daily Ignunce" morning radio routine, usually 90 seconds long, is syndicated and heard on radio stations throughout the United States. Most recently, the character of Shirley Q. Liquor made an appearance in cartoon form on the pilot episode of Laugh Out, the first interactive, gay-themed comedy show. Shirley often addresses people by saying, "How you durrin'?"
Knipp's routines were consistently among the top downloaded comedy category mp3 files on mp3.com prior to its shutdown in 2003.
Mount Holy Olive Second Baptist Zion Church of God in Christ - The church which is frequented by Shirley, Watusi, Mrs. Dupree and the rest of her friends and family. The church is located at 3rd and John.
Shirley's Children - Cheeto, Limbo, Cracker-Jack, Orangejello, K Martina, Salmonella, Velveeta, Genetalea, Catfish, Leroy, Coco-Puffs, Pluto, Penelope, Jack Daniels, Buford and Lemonjello. Aloe Vera, Maybelline, Gingivitis, Brillecreme, Cruex, Niquille, Gangsta Q, Daffodil, Ryan Bacardi, Captain Morgan, DeMaktorious, Delorian, Gynoloptrum, Fellatia, Chlamydia, Champagne. Nova-Scotia, Bubalicious, Cuponetta, Gnorrhia, Ice, Bucket, Batuglia, Visine, Margarita, Perklator, Terminator, Velcro, Taekwondo, Vericelli, Chromosona, Stetri and shithead.
Ebonics Airways - Airline in which Shirley once served as Head Flight Attendant.
Mrs. Jones - Shirley's overweight next door neighbor that has been stuck in her Cadillac on more than one occasion.
Shenelda Jenkins - Shirley's overweight neighbor that lives upstairs from Shirley. It was said that Shenelda weighs 500 or more pounds. Shenelda also works at the local Middle School cafeteria, serving items such as Mustard Greens and Chitlins.
Reverend Viceroy Champlain - Pastor of Mount Holy Olive 2nd Baptist Zion Church of God in Christ.
Revered Clee Otis Jefferson - Pastor of Macademia Jubilation Congregation - also Captain of the McDonnell Boeing MD40-40 aircraft for Ebonics Airways.
Deacon Earl Clovits - Deacon to Macademia Jubilation Congregation - also serves as First Officer on board the McDonnell Boeing MD-4040 aircraft for Ebonics Airways.
Mrs. Dupree - Member of Mount Holy Olive 2nd Baptist Zion Church of God in Christ who frequently stands up and shouts. She is also known for "seeing how many loud colors can go together" and Shirley often has to tell her to "sit 'yo butt down".
Fenelope and Arythmia - Twins who like to celebrate their birthdays by visiting the local McDonalds for Happy Meals.
Dr. Livingston - Snout nose, beady eyed man with "the biggest nostrils I've ever seen". Shirley met Mr. Livingston in the chat rooms on AOL. Dr. Livingston lied to Shirley about what he looked like, but in person he admits that he is not the most attractive man but insists women still likes him because of his huge wallet.
Shirley is well known for filling in for the pastor at Mount Holy Olive 2nd Baptist Zion Church of God. She fills in primarily when things such as the reverend going on trial or when the reverend visits the gambling boat and passes out. Shirley always speaks what is on her mind. In one instance, there was a "mystery perfume". Shirley asked that all women "should come to church smelling right". Shirley also has accused that "the offering plate has came back with less than it started with", she then claimed "you know that's not right, that breaks five or six commandments right there".
Shirley also has many skits which involve one or a few of her children. In one skit, Demaktorious, who is 14 years old, comes home with a BMW. When asked where he got the car, he replied "down there". In another skit, Shirley's older daughter Eldorado, allows a woman claiming to be Shirley's sister to "crash" on Shirley's bed, later to find out Shirley had never seen this woman before in her life. Two of Shirley's daughters are also known to get into "drive by cursing matches at 3 o'clock in the morning" with women who claim they are with the Mount Olive 2nd Baptist Zion Church of Section 8 authority.
Shirley has also been known to frequent the chat rooms on America Online, referring to them as "chat mens".
On one occasion, Shirley mentions that she has nineteen children and only one bathroom. To avoid conflict, she went to the local PigglyWiggly and took their take a number machine. Her oldest son would then get his Mr. Microphone and call out things such as "Shirley, Shirley Q, seating for one...".
This greeting would become the trademark of Butterfield's routine. Unlike most Liquor skits, which are audio, virtually all of the Butterfield skits are in the Quicktime video format. Betty Butterfield is most likely to be found discussing her never-ending search for a church she can fit into. She has visited Mormon, Catholic, Pentcostal, Episcopal, Buddhist, and even Scientology churches, none of which were to her liking. Chain smoking throughout, Betty is likely to burst into tears at any moment as she discusses her church escapades, need for better prescriptions, and her abusive double-amputee, Vietnam veteran husband, Jerry. Knipp frequently performs his live shows first as Betty Butterfield, then as Shirley Q. Liquor.
Since the 2007 boycott, there have been a number of articles in media that have taken issue with Knipp and the character.
Knipp concedes that his performances as Shirley can make people uncomfortable. Knipp has said his show is about "lancing the boil of institutionized racism" and that "treating African Americans as if they have a disease is the real racism" because black people are "more than intelligent enough to discern the nuance" of his performances. He's 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."