Thea Vidale
Thea Vidale


(1956-11-20) November 20, 1956 (age 62)


Washington, D.C., U.S.


Comedian, Actress

Years active


Guest appearances on The Wayans Bros.

as "Big Mama" in Marlon Goes On The Road and Marlon's Return

Wayans Bros Long script logo-1062px

Comedian/actress [1] Thea Vidale (born November 20, 1956, in Washington, D.C.), appeared as "Big Mama" in the episodes Marlon Goes On The Road and Marlon's Return

She began her career doing stand-up comedy in comic clubs in Washington, D.C., New York City, and Los Angeles. She appeared in the cable comedy special "Rodney Dangerfield: Opening Night at Rodney's Place" HBO(1989) On the same special were such notables as Tim Allen, Jeff Foxworthy & Sam Kinison. As an actress, she has made numerous guest appearances on sitcoms, including Ellen, The Wayans Bros., The Drew Carey Show, and My Wife and Kids. She may be best known for her portrayal of "Thea" on the short-lived ABC-TV sitcom Thea for which she was nominated for a People's Choice Award as Favorite Female in a New Series. She has also starred in the Master P comedy Repos.

In 1999, promoted by Scott Sherman of Atlantic Entertainment Group, Vidale appeared at the Philadelphia GLBT Pride Fest, her first GLBT event, with comic Etta May. Both were honored by the city's mayor, who officially named the day simultaneously "Thea Vidale Day" & "Etta May Day".

World Wrestling Entertainment careerEdit

Thea Vidale made her début on World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in January 2006. She appeared as the mother to wrestler Shelton Benjamin, who had been going through difficulties in the preceding weeks. Her first appearance was on the January 2 episode of WWE Raw,[2] where she surprised Benjamin by showing up and yelled at him that he wasn't acting the way Benjamins act. Over the next several weeks, "Momma Benjamin", as she came to be known, was involved in several backstage skits resulting in her challenging wrestlers to matches in Shelton's behalf. Unlike in his streak before her arrival, however, Shelton won the majority of these matches.[3][4][5]

On the February 6, episode of RAW Momma Benjamin attempted to interfere in Shelton's match with the Big Show, only to have the Big Show turn to her and scream in her face. After he turned back to finish the match (which he won), Momma Benjamin fainted to the ground, prompting EMTs to rush to her side and wheel her backstage.[6] The official WWE website later announced that she was resting at home after suffering from a heart arrhythmia, which was what caused her to pass out. Momma Benjamin returned to Raw the next week,[7] but with an oxygen tank attached to her wheelchair that started being used as a weapon, especially on the February 20 episode when she led Shelton to winning the WWE Intercontinental Championship, in the process turning them both heel.[8] Momma Benjamin was mentioned for the final time on WWE television on March 13, with Shelton announcing to the crowd that she was having heart surgery, and had no plans to return to WWE.[9]

Video GamesEdit

In 1994, Vidale voiced the Zinna-zu-bird's wife (in Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose) and the goldfish (saying, "That's me!" in In a People House) in Storybook Weaver.

Later in 2004, she voiced her two roles in Storybook Weaver Deluxe.

Back on TVEdit

In 2007 Thea Vidale made a guest appearance on the television series Ugly Betty playing a hairdresser in the episode "Queens for a Day". That same year, she played the part of Helen's grandmother on the Drake & Josh episode "Really Big Shrimp".

Later in 2007 she tried out for the reality television show Last Comic Standing, making it to the second round.[10]

Vidale was announced as co-host for the 2009 AVN Awards, with Belladonna and Jenna Haze, on Saturday, January 10 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.[11]

She has also provided the voice of Mammy Two Shoes in redubbed versions of Tom and Jerry, replacing Lillian Randolph.

In 2009, Vidale was part of the "Hot Tamales Live! presented by Kiki Melendez" comedy tour. The show was also filmed for Showtime in which Vidale was listed in the credits as Thea Vidal - without the 'e' at the end of her last name. This difference in her last name has also been reported in the news media.[12]


On March 26, 2009, Vidale was a guest on The Howard Stern Show on Sirius XM channel Howard 100, where she revealed that she has been with both men and women sexually due to being in a highly abusive relationship with her kids' father. She appeared again on October 21, 2010, when she announced she had decided to have gastric bypass surgery because she had developed complications resulting from type 2 diabetes. She stated, "I have four children. This is not about vanity...I want it to be like a rebirth. A new me. A healthier me." [13]


  1. New York Times
  2. "RAW results - January 2, 2006". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2007-06-21. 
  3. "RAW results - January 9, 2006". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2007-06-21. 
  4. "RAW results - January 16, 2006". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2007-06-21. 
  5. PWI Staff (May 2006). "Pro Wrestling Illustrated, May 2006". Arena Reports (Kappa Publishing): p. 130. "Shelton Benjamin pinned Goldust" 
  6. "RAW results - February 6, 2006". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2007-06-21. 
  7. "RAW results - February 13, 2006". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2007-06-21. 
  8. "RAW results - February 20, 2006". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2007-06-21. 
  9. "RAW results - March 13, 2006". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2007-06-21. 
  10. "Last Comic Standing: 32 minutes in". Punchline Magazine blog. Retrieved 2007-06-21. "And the LA winners are: Thea Vidale," 
  12. San Antonio Express-News: 'Hot Tamales Live': Comedy with a twist

External linksEdit