2013-08-21 10:31:31   Tag:




When I finished school, I was completely lost. And by school, I mean middle school, but I went ahead and finished high school anyway. And I - I really, I had no ambition, I didn't know what I wanted to do. I did everything from - I shucked oysters, I was a hostess, I was a bartender, I was a waitress, I painted houses, I sold vaccuum cleaners, I had no idea. And I thought I'd just finally settle in some job, and I would make enough money to pay my rent, maybe have basic cable, maybe not, I didn't really have a plan, my point is that, by the time I was your age, I really thought I knew who I was, but I had no idea. Like for example, when I was your age, I was dating men. So what I'm saying is, when you're older, most of you will be gay. Anyone writing this stuff down? Parents?

Anyway, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and the way I ended up on this path was from a very tragic event. I was maybe 19, and my girlfriend at the time was killed in a car accident. And I passed the accident, and I didn't know it was her and I kept going, and I found out shortly after that, it was her. And I was living in a basement apartment, I had no money, I had no heat, no air, I had a mattress on the floor and the apartment was infested with fleas. And I was soul-searching, I was like, why is she suddenly gone, and there are fleas here? I don't understand, there must be a purpose, and wouldn't it be so convenient if we could pick up the phone and call God, and ask these questions.


And I started writing and what poured out of me was an imaginary conversation with God, which was one-sided, and I finished writing it and I looked at it and I said to myself, and I hadn't even been doing stand-up, ever, there was no club in town. I said, "I'm gonna do this on the Tonight Show With Johnny Carson"- at the time he was the king - "and I'm gonna be the first woman in the history of the show to be called over to sit down." And several years later, I was the first woman in the history of the show, and only woman in the history of the show to sit down, because of that phone conversation with God that I wrote.


And I started this path of stand-up and it was successful and it was great, but it was hard, because I was trying to please everybody and I had this secret that I was keeping, that I was gay. And I thought if people found out they wouldn't like me, they wouldn't laugh at me.

Then my career turned into - I got my own sitcom, and that was very successful, another level of success. And I thought, what if they find out I'm gay, then they'll never watch, and this was a long time ago, this was when we just had white presidents - this was back, many years ago - and I finally decided that I was living with so much shame, and so much fear, that I just couldn't live that way anymore, and I decided to come out and make it creative. And my character would come out at the same time, and it wasn't to make a political statement, it wasn't to do anything other than to free myself up from this heaviness that I was carrying around, and I just wanted to be honest. And I thought, "What's the worst that could happen? I can lose my career". I did. I lost my career. The show was cancelled after six years, without even telling me, I read it in the paper. The phone didn't ring for three years. I had no offers. Nobody wanted to touch me at all.

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