Charles Knipp is a self-described forty-five-year-old, fat, gay white man who believes he's on a mission from God. A mission that involves mimicking Black women as his alter ego character Shirley Q. Liquor. The character is favorite among his core audience whom Knipp describes as being “gay men, their moms, and rednecks.”
Knipp is a registered nurse with extensive background in emergency, intensive care and psychiatric nursing. After attending the University of Texas and the University of Mississippi, he graduated from Lamar University in 1984. He is currently employed in pastoral hospice and chemical dependency nursing.
Knipp’s told Rolling Stone Magazine that he was raised a Presbyterian, and is now an ordained Quaker deacon.
In the same article it was reported that Knipp routinely sells out venues in the South, and Shirley Q. is a huge draw at Southern Decadence, the annual "Gay Mardi Gras" bacchanalia in New Orleans. "My core audience is gay men, their moms and rednecks," he says.
Knipp’s is known for mocking the Black American holiday Kwanzaa and uses black faces to make fun of stereotypical Black names in a music video entitled, “Who Is My Baby’s Daddy.”
Knipp’s white character, a woman named Betty Butterfield describes Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a “colored preacher” during a video segment on the Lutheran Church.
In Knipp’s store on his website he sells among other things, an ornament for a Christmas tree for Kwanzaa that says, “Happy Kwanzaa to Your Mammanems.”
There’s an entire section of baby bibs with racially offensive and insensitive messages like “INMATE,” this is in rainbow colors, which as you know is often attributed to gays.
Shirley Q. Liquor
Knipp's best known character is Shirley Q. Liquor, "the Queen of Ignunce," who is based on his experiences with and interpretation of black southern women. Knipp performs the character -- an illiterate, welfare-collecting mother of 19 children-- in blackface. Knipp speaks in a dialect of stereotypical broken English 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-Days AME CME (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 Watusi 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 cold malt liquor and menthol cigarettes. Jenkins usually appears in "Happy Hour" skits which mimic a radio broadcast.