Mark's Media Spotlight

Mark's views on what's happening in the media.

Backlash of the Gay Male Comedians

Part 2 in my unintentional series on Gay backlash…

Jeanine Garofalo Inadvertently Starts Twitter War

My last blog regarding LOGO-TV’s change of direction seemed to inadvertently touch upon another important issue for the Gay community that turned into a bit of a Twitter war.  It all started when “sarcastic Mark” came out to respond to LOGO’s twitter advertisement for their latest Jeanine Garofolo comedy special. 

I basically stated that it was a good idea to air the Jeanine Garofolo special and promote the heck out of it, because we all know that gay comedians aren’t funny (hence, the sarcasm).  Somehow, this touched a real bad nerve with one gay comedian I never heard of named Shawn Hollenbach, but not in a way I was expecting.  Here’s how it all went down (remember it’s Twitter and we are limited on letters so no grammar police – thank you):

Shawn: Tell the gay world to stop buying Kathy Griffin tickets and support gay comedians.

Mark:  Thank god Wanda Sykes came out. I just got tickets & wouldn’t want to piss u off.

Shawn:  Of course you don’t support gay male comics. Why would a gay man do that?

Mark:  Wow now I can’t even c a lesbian w/out getting yur rath? Any more conditions Hitler?

Shawn: Yes, condition is don’t ask a network to play something you wouldn’t watch. 

Mark: cool – I won’t request you then. -:)

Shawn: I’m retired.

Brad Loekle: Gay Male Comedians need more support from Gay males.

The conversation goes on but it doesn’t get any prettier.   So in between all this rigamarole,  I was corresponding with another comedian I actually have heard of (and follow on Twitter) named Brad Loekle.  He was fairly annoyed with me as well because he felt that I was making light of the fact that I was one of many gay men out there who Brad believed only supported females – whether it be comedians like Wanda and Kathy Griffin or singers like Cher, Lady Gaga and Madonna who get scores of gay men idolizing them.   Note: he has a point – I immediately flashed to my best friend who wore a Cher T-Shirt for good luck when he was a contestant on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire

Some gays believe a Cher T-Shirt will bring good luck.

So while Brad may have a point here given the bitterness of my ex-friend Shawn, who as Brad put it “HATES me” now,    (Damn Shawn, our friendship was so short-lived and I was hoping we could do a sale at Barney’s together), but the truth is, I would happily support any comedian, male or female, gay or straight, that I can relate to.  We laugh at truth and sometimes this truth might be gay related, but often times it’s another aspect of our lives that hits our funny bone.

And like in dating or friendship, just because you are gay, doesn’t mean I’m going to like you or you are going to like me.

People, gay or straight, naturally tend to gravitate to people that we can relate to and also, are exposed to.  I stumbled upon my love for Wanda Sykes because she was in a really awful Chris Rock movie (pick one, any one) and I remember hating the movie but loving her. So from that point on, I’ve always kept an eye out for her.  I didn’t know or care at the time if she was gay or straight, but when she actually did come out, I was thrilled.

Gay male comedians such as Shawn Hollenbach have a point that we may have not supported their career, but is it fair for them to ask us to seek them out so that their living can be supported?    I remember my first exposure to Brad Loekle years ago from Out Q, a station for the LGBT community on Satellite Radio, as a regular weekly guest on Larry Flicks morning show, but I honestly hadn’t heard from or about him much except for an occasional Outfest special back when LOGO-TV actually featured gay comedians.

TRU TV Presents The World’s Dumbest Criminals every Thursday Night

Since then, I hadn’t heard anything new about Brad, but his career managed to survive without my knowledge thanks to the TRU cable channel, who hired him to host the popular World’s Dumbest Criminals show on Thursdays nights.  (Ironically, it’s now on against and has more viewers than Kathy Griffin’s highly promoted talk show.)  I also explained that I’m new to Twitter and now I that I am a resident in Twitter country, I can follow my favorite comedians and support them easier by knowing when they are in Chicago.

Kathy Griffin: Helping or hurting our cause through her humor

As for Kathy, I always have had mixed feelings for her.  I have gone to her shows and have been a loyal viewer.  But here is where the “mixed” part comes in.  Kathy continuously refers to us has her “gays” and jokes around that every one of us has perfect taste in how to dress, hates sports and a “fierce” attitude.  Do I know that she is just throwing a “wink” at us and knows that we know that she knows we really aren’t all the same?  Of course I do and it’s fun to say we are all this slightly different variation of Carson Kressley and throw out some jokes about it to one another.  But with Kathy throwing out the “one size fits all” gay jokes she does,  I laugh and I get it, but does the Tennessee mom with 3 kids who is  afraid they will learn about homosexuality in school get it?

Everyone knows that all gays are not just a variation of Carson Kressley. Or do they?

Or will she go out and sign a petition to keep her state free of Gay marriage? Again, feelings are mixed.  I don’t have the answer – maybe you do.  Is it possible to for us to educate the general public without losing our sense of humor?

So back to Brad Loekle.  Brad, thank you for reaching out and taking the time to explain your concerns.  It is evident that he has a passion about this as I’m sure other gay male comedians do so I don’t want to make light of it.  I want to also note that Brad mentioned that he no way harbors any resentment to the female comedians out there and as stated in his final tweet to me:

“I ADORE all the “ladies”… but we can still love them while we put our money & love behind ourselves too”

Dave Rubin: Helping the cause to promote the Hot Gay Comics out there.

And for what it’s worth, I have several male comedians out there who I’d love to see in action on stage based on my experiences with seeing them on TV, Brad, Alec Mapa, and Andre Kelley immediately come to mind.  Alec, probably the most successful in terms of recognition, has been a favorite of mine since the very short-lived and under appreciated CBS flop, Some Of My Best Friends.

You also have Dave Rubin, who probably has done the most to promote other gay comedians as he used to have a fantastic podcast that I subscribed to and listened to religiously called Hot Gay Comics. (Which was also a series on the “hard to find anywhere” HERE TV network).   I guess he ran out of Hot Gay Comics and had to move on to something different.  So now he’s the host of The Six Pack on Sirius/XM, which is also a podcast you can subscribe to at http://sixpackradio.com/.   I highly recommend following him on Twitter @therubinreport as his tweets can be highly entertaining.

Frank DeCaro and Jeanine Garofalo Doria Biddle from Sirius Out Q radio

As for other gay comedians, I listen to former Daily Show comedian Frank DeCaro on Sirius Out Q radio and believe him to have a great following of gays, but perhaps not as much for his humor as for his lesbian sidekick, Doria Biddle, who manages to keep the show balanced from becoming a 3 hour discussion on classic TV. She also looks eerily like Jeanine Garofalo. And one of Frank’s fans, who has his own fan base thanks to his heckling style of sarcasm with Frank on the phone, “Paul From Massachusetts”, continually promotes male comedian Adam Sank on his blog and on Facebook.   The Derek and Romaine show on Sirius Out Q also has featured a plethora of gay comedians.  I assume these people also go to their shows so we can eliminate that there is no support from the Gay males out there, but is there enough?

I don’t make any excuses though as to whom I like or don’t like and don’t feel the need to support people who don’t warrant it.  But there is support out there for “the gays” as Kathy would say.  Maybe there is enough support for male comedians out there, or maybe there is not enough ….. or maybe you just aren’t funny.  Incidentally, Shawn Hollenbach, has since retired from Standup at the age of 31.

However, if any of the above mentioned are ever in town (except for my ex-friend Shawn), please let me know and I’ll even try to bring a few more gay males with me.  I hope you don’t mind if one of them is wearing a Cher T-Shirt.

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July 2, 2012 Posted by | LGBT, LOGO, TV, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Backlash Of The Gay Stereotypes

Gay People Come in All Shapes and Sizes – One Representation Does Not Fit All

Well based on the response from my “Open Letter To LOGO” post, one thing 99.2% of the responders agreed on ….. LOGO is on the road to bankruptcy.  But it seemed that a few took exception to my views and at the same time, gave me insight into all of the self-loathing gay stereotypes out there that must have had some horrific experiences reading through the gay want-ads that said “NO FATS, NO FEMMS”.  One guy actually asked me if I wanted him to commit suicide.  Based on what?  My yearning for some non-stereotypical gay programming for the LOGO Channel?  Aren’t we being a bit of a drama queen?

And thanks to Michael Musto’s Village Voice posting, I viewed other responses from “Ick” (how appropriate) – “Some of the guy’s statements are illiterate and some of his suggestions for shows would get no ratings. does he not realize Logo is a business, not a charity operation?”  And Jessica answered brilliantly “Only someone with a narrow and illiterate mind would think the only way to attract an audience would be to find flashy flamboyant drag queens.”  But in actuality, I would have to take more exception with someone posting I have illiterate thoughts without an explanation.  Are you too illiterate to ellaborate?

Tabitha Coffey Takes Over Ripples Gay Bar in Long Beach

As for the shows I suggested that would get no ratings, well, I can tell you that the Bar Takeover idea did quite well as a stand alone episode on Bravo on a little show called “Tabitha Takes Over”.  While Tabitha typically takes over hair salons, here, she stepped out of her comfort zone to take over a gay bar in Long Beach, CA., renovate it and put it back on the map.  And the show attracted over a million viewers, which is quite good for Bravo and I’m sure 10 times what LOGO’s kiddie pageant series “Eden’s World” drew.

My favorite comment was from Slimjim, who said “What next–BET will show white shows because they’ll say we found out that’s what black people want???”  Exactly Slimjim (except for the grammar issue I had).  BET actually is quite popular with their niche audience and a show that failed on the CW called The Game drew over 5 million viewers on BET because they know their audience.  Some of you out there would have suggested the LOGO-TV type approach of putting on reruns of Spin City on the channel because there was a black character on there.  (Shhh, I forgot, the character was gay too, don’t give LOGO any ideas.)

BET’s The Game has drawn over 5 million viewers per episode.

This also answers JDolphy’s question posed earlier “How does one cater to a community that has no identity?”

Great discussions out there people, but what I found frightful was JDolphy’s later comment that said:

“No one was watching and this forced Logo to rethink how they would reach out to our community.  You know what they found out?  Gay men, in particular, care more about straight artists with a strong and independent persona than they do about gay ones.  So if Logo wants to make a 24-hour Madonna/GaGa/Kathy Griffin/Campy movies/Circuit Party Music-type channel, I would have to agree that it might actually get more people to care.  Look at Drag Race.  It’s about the only thing on the channel that actually gets good viewership.” 

This sounds like someone working inside the LOGO network.  Yikes!

JDolphy’s Vision of What Gay Men Want To See on LOGO

So in response.. First of all, I disagree – get new researchers.  The A List also had good viewership, but LOGO wanted to “go in a different direction” as per one of the stars of the show, Reichen Lehmkul’s tweet.

Derek Hartley – Denounced LOGO’s “A-List” series as heinous

Others however, such as Sirius Out Q’s Derek Hartley, publicly denounced the A- List show as heinous in its poor portrayal of the gay community.  At the same time, this doesn’t mean we don’t have an interest in watching men being men.

Gale Harold didn’t have to camp-it-up to play gay on Queer As Folk.

I remember there was also outcry over one of my favorite shows Queer As Folk (the US version).  Say what you want about the sexual storylines, but they hit home with the gay world I witnessed and the variety of gay people that touched most aspects of the gay community during its run.  And yet please take note JDolphy,  people watched!  Go figure.  And without everyone dressing up in their best boa and shouting for Kathy Griffin.

I think Michael Musto’s Village Voice synopsis showed he was the most spot-on when it came to understanding the message I conveyed.  And despite his discomfort with my remarks about LOGO-TV just catering to the Drag side of the gay community, I was pretty clear in stating that I enjoyed the Drag Race series and have no issues with TV shows that highlight the flamboyant side of our community, however, isn’t it about time we showed that we can be funny without being flamboyant?

Eric Stonestreet – Straight Actor Camping it up To Play Gay

OK, maybe because I’m partnered with a very funny gay cop who doesn’t exude any of the stereotypical traits found in Modern Family’s Cameron character, I’m a bit biased, but again, speak from experience.  I’m also not like some of my militant gay com-padre’s who won’t watch anything gay that has a hint of effeminate mannerisms.  I don’t care, I want to be entertained and there are a lot of “Cameron’s” out there who possess them in real life so yeah, I watch and laugh with the rest of America.  BUT, I’d like someone to convey the side of gay life seldom scene.  Interesting gay people doing interesting things without camping it up. LOGO-TV has the power to do something about this and create quite a niche for themselves, but they choose not to.

June 30, 2012 Posted by | LGBT, LOGO, TV | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments