Whoopi Goldberg, who is preparing to take over the lead role of Pseudolus in the Broadway revival of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum in February, told an interviewer that she indeed named herself after a whoopee cushion. Goldberg, an Oscar-winner whose real name is Caryn Johnson, was quoted by the Reuters news service as saying, ``The true story is that my family is Jewish, Buddhist, Baptist and Catholic -- none of which I subscribe to, by the way, as I don't belive in man-made religions. . . So I took the last name from a Jewish ancestor. And I happen to be gaseous, which explains the first name, short for whoopee cushion.''
The name of her character in Forum -- Pseudolus -- means, roughly, "Faker." All the characters' names in the musical -- Hero, Hysterium, Domina, Philia, et al -- are Latin words more or less describing the character.