Part 2 in my unintentional series on Gay backlash…
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.
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…
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.
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.
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?
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”
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.
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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