Friday, October 12, 2007

Playlist: Lesbionic laff-a-thon

Ten years ago, Ellen Degeneres came out as a lesbian. Has any TV star done anything gutsier since? (Not that it should’ve been a career-risking move.)

Anyway, it might be coincidental, but since 1997 a lot of lesbian comics have put out albums. Some funnier than others, of course.

Here are a few samples from this golden age of lesbionic standup. Click the track titles to hear ’em streaming on my Vox audio stash.

1. “The Homo Depot” – Suzanne Westenhoefer

My choice for the best of the lesbian standups is Westenhoefer (pictured left). I remember one of her jokes from the early ’90s on the subject of super-absorbent tampons. (Punch line: “I’m thirsty.”)

I like her polished delivery, I like her stage personality, I like her observations of life. This bit is from her 1999 CD “I’m Not Cindy Brady.”

2. “WNBA” – Georgia Ragsdale

A lesbian who enjoys watching women’s pro basketball? Unbelievable.

Ragsdale doesn’t impress me as a comic, but this routine does provide a peek into the secret world of hot lesbian sex. (And no, I did not type the words “hot lesbian sex” just to attract Google hits.) From her 1997 CD “Always Forward, Never Straight.”

3. “Lesbian Sex Workshops” – Karen Williams

Williams (pictured center) has a rather harsh voice and a hard-sell comedic approach. But she tells some truth in this bit about being over 40. Actually, she had me at “butt plugs.” (And no, I did not type “butt plugs” just to attract Google hits.) From the 1998 CD “Human Beings: What a Concept.”

4. “Coming Out and Kung Pao” – Robin Greenspan

Coming-out-to-family stories tend to be bittersweet... if not plain bitter. There is hurt in Greenspan’s coming-out-to-mom story, but her gentle sense of humor morphs the pain into a pretty decent punch line. From the 2000 CD “Totally Naked.”

5. “Yak Yak in the Sack” – Marga Gomez

She started performing in gay clubs in the mid-’80s, while Ellen Degeneres was still in the closet. But Gomez (pictured right) didn’t release a comedy CD (“Hung Like a Fly”) till 1997... the year Ellen made lesbian comedians trendy.

Marga also acts and writes plays. And this “Yak Yak” routine illustrates her style, which feels a little more like theatrical monologue than pure standup. I kinda like her tough-talking New York Latin thing.


Bay Radical said...

Bring on the love for lesbos! It's funny for me to rad this post today, because I tried to watch a Kate Clinton comedy special just last night. Unfortunately, I couldn't make it past the first five minutes. But right on for repping for the lezzies!

(Of course there's also Rosie, but sadly she's not that funny either.)

Bay Radical said...

rad this post today? I mean 'read'.

Undercover Black Man said...

Thanks, BR. Kate Clinton's the king of 'em all, isn't she? I've never seen her.

Hard to take, huh?

Ellen Degeneres, meanwhile, has done some great HBO specials.

Did Paula Poundstone ever come out??

jena6 said...

Did Paula Poundstone ever come out??

Ever since that that child molestation charge, you really don't hear too much about her. The child she molested was a girl, so maybe she's come out since then.

Bay Radical said...

I don't know if Kate Clinton used to be funnier or if I used to be dumber. Whatever the cause, I once liked her, but last night she didn't evoke a single chuckle.

As for Paula, I wondered the same thing and all I came up with on google were accusations (charges actually) that she had sexually molested some girls. Ug. On the other hand, those charges were dropped and there's a long, ugly history of queers being falsely accused of abusing kids, so who knows.

Bay Radical said...

Jena6 - we must have been typing at the same time. JINX!

jena6 said...

Same page, bay radical! :-)

re: On the other hand, those charges were dropped and there's a long, ugly history of queers being falsely accused of abusing kids, so who knows.

Good call! Unfortunately, I didn't take that into consideration.

Andrew said...

Judy Gold's another pretty good lesbian comic. I'd find something to link to, but I'm tired.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Yep, Andrew. And she came out after she had already established herself as a mainstream standup. I remember her well from the early days of Comedy Central. Haven't heard any of her gay stuff.