While Lea DeLaria has been a well known figure in the comedy scene for decades, her work as the hilarious and kind Big Boo on Orange Is the New Black earned her wider acclaim and fame in the general TV watching audience.

So for new fans looking to learn a little more about Lea, we've rounded up five fun and interesting facts about her life.

1. She was the first openly gay comic to break the "late night talk show barrier." Lea, who has been doing standup for over 25 years, appeared on The Arsenio Hall Show in 1993, making her the first openly gay comedian to appear on a late night talk show. In the same year she also hosted Comedy Central's Out There, the first all-gay stand up comedy special.

2. She's a singer. Lea's a true triple threat: comedian, actress, and singer. She has appeared on Broadway and has recorded four Jazz albums (Jazz runs in the family — her dad was a Jazz pianist). How about we get Big Boo singing some more, huh show?

3. She didn't originally audition for Big Boo. Lea was originally brought in for the mean guard Piper meets on the way into prison, but the showrunners loved her so much they wanted her in a bigger role. They actually created the part of Big Boo for her!

4. She has a crush on Natasha Lyonne. "I’ve had a crush on her since Slums of Beverly Hills," Lea told Vulture. "I told her that, too, because I’m such an asshole."

5. She thinks of Boo as like herself. "It's just so me. That's what's great about it. They're just writing for me. They're completely writing for me," she told Autostraddle.

Sources: IMDB, New Now Next, Vulture, Autostraddle

Rebecca Martin is an Associate Editor at Wetpaint Entertainment and our resident Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, and genre TV expert. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!


Credit: Celebified Photo: Singer Ashlee Keating Talks Ice Kingdom, Helluva Ride, And Working With Coca Cola