The Ricki Lake Show’s Most Controversial Guests, Then And Now

The Ricki Lake Show was one of the best talk shows of the 90s. Ricki Lake was so congenial and was genuine, unlike the scripted Jerry Springer. There was nothing better than sitting on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and watching the drama unfold. Check out some of the most memorable people from the show and where they are now.

Ricki Lake

Ricki Lake

Ricki Lake got her start on the talk show circuit when she was just 24 years old, which was the youngest ever at the time. The show ran from 1993 to 2004 and Ricki hosted a variety of guests and eventually took home an Emmy Award for the show. When she first signed on to the show, she agreed to do the pilot for $5,000 because she couldn’t pay her rent. After the first year, she received a six-figure bonus because the ratings were so good. Although she claims she didn’t know what she was doing, she said “I simply pretended to be Oprah.” So what did she do after the show?

Ricki Lake After The Show

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Ricki Lake took on other projects after her show was ended in August of 2004. She said she ended it so she could focus more on her family. Since the show, Ricki Lake has had many cameos in shows and in movies. She had a cameo in Matters of Life and Dating, which is a Lifetime Movie. She was also in the 2007 film Hairspray, where she made an appearance as a talent agent. During the credits of the film, Ricki Lake, Marissa Jaret Winokur, and Nikki Blonsky sang “Mama I’m a Big Girl Now.” The Business of Being Born was Ricki Lake’s own documentary about midwifery and home birth. So where is she today?

Ricki Lake Today

Some television studios were interested bringing back the show, which had a brief stint on television during 2013. Ricki Lake was on Dancing with the Stars during the 13th season. She lost 20 pounds while doing the show and came in third place.

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In 2014, Ricki Lake worked on a documentary called Sweetening the Pill. The documentary was a look into alternative options of family planning and how birth control is making women sick. Ricki Lake made an appearance on Hairspray Live! in 2016, which aired on television as a live performance.

Chris Wark

Chris Wark was on the revival of The Ricki Lake Show in 2013, shortly before it was cancelled. When he was 26 years old, he was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer.

Chris Wark

He decided against chemotherapy because of how it destroys the body and opted for a vegan lifestyle instead. He also worked with a holistic nutritionist and an integrative oncologist for natural therapies and guidance. He ended up beating his cancer, which is what ended him up on The Ricki Lake Show. He is now a speaker, writer, health coach, and blogger to share is story with other people. So how did he beat cancer?

Chris Wark and Cancer

Chris’ primary symptoms were abdominal pain, a little anemic, low energy, dark stools, and slight rectal bleeding. He had one tumor removed from his rectum and they found cancer in his lymph nodes. After these findings, he removed all the toxins from a typical diet and started making his body inhospitable to cancer.

Chris Wark and Cancer

Before he had cancer, Chris said he ate a lot of junk food and fast food, however; he did not smoke or drink. He has two phases of his diet which include eating right and taking supplements. He started with a raw vegan diet and eventually started eating cooked food after 90 days.

In 2016, he posted to his personal blog: “By the grace of God, I’m cancer free, healthy and strong, and in the best shape of my life.” He and his wife now have two children, daughters named Mackenzie and Marin.

What do doctors say about his cancer-fighting methods?

David Gorski on Chris Wark

David Gorski is a proponent of science based medicine and has criticized Chris Wark’s work. Dr. Gorski is a surgical oncologist at the Barbara Ann karmanos Cancer Institute. He is also the Medical Director of the Alexander J. Walk Comprehensive Breast Center, an Associate Professor of Surgery at Wayne State University School of Medicine, and faculty of the Graduate Program in Cancer Biology.

David Gorski on Chris Wark

His research includes the role of glutamate receptors in increasing growth of breast cancer. He says his blog is a way to educate patients on the types of treatment that are available to them and educate patients in general.

Rachel Pendergraft

Rachel Pendergraft was another controversial guest on The Ricki Lake Show. She appeared on the episode named “I’m proud to be a woman in the KKK.” When she was 25 years old, she was the highest-ranking woman in the Knights of the KKK.

Rachel Pendergraft

She has continued on this path and is a spokeswoman for The Knights Party. Rachel also runs a blog where she talks about, well, white supremacy. Going through her blog is pretty disturbing. She has a lot of extreme opinions that are against pretty much everyone who doesn’t think like her.

Darienne Lake

Darienne Lake appeared on The Ricki Lake Show episode named “Get a grip doll…you’re too fat to be a drag queen.” While on the show, Darienne talked about being a successful plus size drag queen and what it’s like having curves in all the right places.

Darienne Lake

She also talked to friends, family members, and guests who said she was too large to be a drag queen. Darienne Lake is still an active drag queen and is all over social media. Darienne goes on tours, tweets hilarious sayings, performs, and always has something to say. Darienne is definitely one of Ricki Lake’s more memorable guests. So how did Darienne get her start?

How Darienne Lake Got Her Name

Darienne Lake was born when drag queen dressed a boy up in heels in 1990. According to the blog, the queen said, “You look like Tracy Turnbald/Ricki Lake! That should be your drag name.” The boy replied, “No. I’d rather be something unique.”

How Darienne Lake Got Her Name

The queens said “Ok then, be Darien Lake. Ricki Lake’s love child with the amusement park outside Buffalo, NY.” That is a very creative way to come up with a name! It stuck and Darienne Lake was born. Darienne Lake did not stop with the name or The Ricki Lake Show. They went on to do bigger and better things.

RuPaul’s Drag Race

Darienne Lake was on Season 6 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. This is a reality show to find “America’s next drag superstar.” The show premiered on February 2, 2009 and has been on for eight seasons.

RuPaul’s Drag Race

Darienne was considered to be the villain on the show and received lots of criticism from fans of the show. However, Darienne went on to be the Drag Mother to Pandora Boxx, who was a Season 2 contestant on the show. Pandora Boxx considers Darienne Lake to be her adoptive mother because she doesn’t really have a mother.

Thomas Robb

Thomas Robb is the father of Rachel Pendergraft and he is also the national director of The Knights Party, or the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Thomas is a pastor of a church called the Christian Revival Center. He is vehemently oppose to evolution and he calls it “an attack upon our faith.” He publishes “The Crusader,” which is a newspaper that says they are “The Political Voice of White Christian America – The Premier Voice of the White Resistance.”

Thomas Robb

In one of the publications, he endorsed Donald Trump for president. It seems that Rachel Pendergraft grew up around this type of thinking so it is no surprise she continued in her father’s footsteps.

Laura Pasqualoni

Laura Pasqualoni was brought on The Ricki Lake Show for being a Mariah Carey look-alike, and she looks like she can be her twin. After she appeared on The Ricki Lake Show, she went on other personalities’ talk shows such as Queen Latifa, Debra Dunking, and Maury Povich.

Laura Pasqualoni

For the last 20 years, she has capitalized off of her appearance on Ricki Lake and being a Mariah Carey look alike. She makes appearances all over the United States and has even performed in Japan. So how much will a performance by Laura cost you?

A Big Chunk of Change

According to an interview with the Daily Mail, Laura can charge up to $70,000 for a single appearance for impersonating Mariah Carey. She does this all year round and lip-synchs Mariah Carey’s biggest hits. During the Christmas season, “All I Want for Christmas” is constantly on demand, according to Laura.

A Big Chunk of Change

At one point, Laura was offered free plastic surgery to complete her Mariah Carey transformation. Laura turned it down and instead focuses on makeup and mannerisms to impersonate the singer. Laura says she loves her job and “I am very lucky that my career as a lookalike has been so successful and profitable.”

House Arrest Girl

During the Ricki Lake revival in 2013, Meli Cady appeared on The Ricki Lake Show. She is also known as The House Arrest Girl. She was arrested for smuggling about 500 pounds of marijuana to Columbus, Ohio in 2010 along with Lisette Lee.

House Arrest Girl

Meli lived in L.A. because she wanted to become and actress, which is where she became friends with Lisette. The two partied, worked, and traveled together. Eventually, they were smuggling drugs, were caught, and arrested. Meli was on house arrest when she started her blog and got the attention of The Ricki Lake Show. What has she done since then?

Meli Cady

Since starting her blog and going on the show, Meli Cady got a book deal. Her book named Smoke, was released in 2015 through HarperCollins Publishers. The book is a memoir and details her relationship with Lisette Lee, who was known as the Pot Princess of Beverly Hills.

Meli Cady

The book has decent reviews on Goodreads, with three and a half stars out of five. Some reviewers questions the legitimacy of Meli’s side of the story because of how naïve she seems throughout the book. But most say it is a good story and a quick read. Might be worth a look to judge yourself.

Fred Phelps

One of the most controversial guests ever on The Ricki Lake Show was Fred Phelps. Fred Phelps was associated with the Westboro Baptist Church, which pickets funerals of soldiers and homosexuals. He was on the show in the first season and said that “anyone who carries the AIDS virus deserved to die,” along with all homosexuals.

Fred Phelps

Ricki Lake actually kicked him off the show. She said, “So we had him on and he said something that was just rude to me, something like, I worship my rectum. Literally, just, ‘You worship your rectum’…and I didn’t know what to say to that and he’s shouting proverbs to me.” That was when she told him to leave. There’s more to Fred Phelps than just The Ricki Lake Show appearance, though.

Westboro Baptist Church

The Westboro Baptist Church lives on, even though Fred Phelps died in 2014. They are mostly known for their hate speech against politicians, soldiers, Jews, Muslims, Orthodox Christians, Catholics, and LGBT people. Because of the Westboro Baptist Church and its controversial protest practices, there have been new laws enacted.

Westboro Baptist Church

In Indiana, it is a felony to protest within 500 feet of a funeral. For those who violate the law, it is up to three years in prison and $10,000. Illinois has a similar law called “Let Them Rest in Peace Act.” President George W. Bush signed a law called Respect for America’s Fallen Heroes Act, which says you cannot protest within 300 feet of a cemetery that is controlled by the National Cemetery Administration. Is anything else being done?

People Still Fighting Back

Obviously, laws can only do so much because the Westboro Baptist Church members can still protest funerals as long as they stay a certain distance away. People are now counter-protesting the Westboro Baptist and their members. In 2010, a group called Line of Love had about 200 protestors blocking the 10 Westboro Baptist members at a funeral for Elizabeth Edwards

People Still Fighting Back

Anonymous, the hacktivist group, took the Westboro Baptist website down for a while. After the Orlando nightclub shooting, 200 people blocked the way so picketers could not get through to the funeral for those who were killed. People are fighting back and the membership numbers of Westboro Baptist Church seem to be dwindling.