Whoopi Goldberg Graham Norton Show

Whoopi Goldberg reveals the hilarious reason she got her name

Emmy Griffiths

Whoopi Goldberg joined Denzel Washington, Jamie Dornan and Keanu Reeves on The Graham Norton Show's red sofa and revealed the hilarious reason behind the origins of her unusual name. The star, whose name is actually Karen, admitted that she earned the nickname by acting like a 'whoopee cushion' while performing in theatres at the beginning of her career.

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Amid laughter, she joked: "No one christened me that. I am Karen but I was a bit of a farter! The theatres I was performing in were very small so if you were gassy you had to walk away farting and people would say I was like a Whoopee cushion. I was sometimes quite noisy, never offensive!" Keanu also spoke about his unusual name, revealing that his first manager forced him to use his initials at the beginning of his career. "No one liked my name," he said. "On the day I arrived my manager said, 'Welcome, we want to change your name.' They were like, 'What's a Keanu?' So I became K.C. Reeves, which is awful and I would be late for auditions because I didn't recognise K.C. Reeves as me. It was just horrible. It lasted a couple of months and then I became me again."

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Whoopi joked about her unusual name

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Whoopi, who is currently due to perform stand up at the London Palladium, also gave an insight into her upcoming show. "My stand up show is about getting older," the 61-year-old explained. "I went to see Steely Dan the other day and I thought to myself, 'There are a lot of old people at this concert.' Then I passed a mirror and thought, 'Me too! I’m not the youngest one in the room any more.'"

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