BY David Michael Conner
September 03 2009 12:00 PM ET
So yeah, it was a really great episode to work on. I got to meet interesting people and I got to hear answers I didn’t like…and then you kind of go forward from there. I watched it along with everyone else -- I didn’t see a rough-cut episode -- and I heard from [Matthew Shepard’s mother] Judy Shepard.
My only regret is that I would have liked Matthew Shepard to have been featured a little bit more in the episode, because even though you could say there’s not really a connection between Matthew Shepard and gay marriage, I still think that gay marriage being illegal in California [is] absolutely discrimination, [and] I don’t think it’s that big of a jump to say that people who think that gay people shouldn’t have the same civil rights are a couple of clicks away from people who think that it would be OK to treat a gay person differently.
Well, I wasn’t going to get into this, but just on a personal note…
I know! I feel like I should get to the funny stuff…
I have a friend who married another man in a church in Atlanta…
Well, now, that’s a niche market.
[Laughs] Yeah, well, of course, although he could get married in a church in Georgia, he can’t get married legally, and he was moved to tears by the Prop. 8 episode. I think a lot of people were blindsided by “Norma Gay,” to see your consistently hilarious show delve into serious subject matter in such an effective way. And since you brought up Judy Shepard…did you know her book is coming out within days of yours?
No, but I’m going to get it! I admire her so much. She’s a warrior. One thing that really, really shocked me and I was determined to change was that, when I asked the LGBT Learning Center about Matthew Shepard, and not one of those kids had ever heard of him, or had even heard his name, I was on a mission. I was like, yeah, I know it’s the Prop. 8 episode and I know it’s about gay marriage, but you know what? I think that these kids are going to identify more with [Shepard]. So I was very glad that we could include Matthew in the episode. I would have liked to include him a little more. There was one version where Judy’s foundation actually gave us the clip package that we put on the show. Someone Twittered me -- or, as I say, twatted me -- about it asking where they can see that Matthew Shepard clip package. I’m pretty sure that it’s on YouTube.
So is Official Book Club Selection more of a serious memoir or a humor book?
It truly is both. It definitely has some serious moments, and I absolutely peppered it with as many jokes as I could fit in. It is not a straight-up humor book, and it’s also not a really, really serious "I-was-abused-as-a-child" book, but it definitely has both of those elements.
Hopefully you’ll get a good chuckle out of it. But there are a few bombs in there. There are some things that I’ve never revealed before. Which is funny because people say, "My God, you talk about your life and your acting, you’ve got this reality show, there are cameras in your house -- how can there possibly be anything we don’t already know?" And I’ve been saying, "Well, you know, someday I’m going to write a book." And it’s out September 8.
Can we get an exclusive on something really juicy from the book?
Oh God, I’ll tell you one thing that’s in there! It’s so horrific that I had to put it in there. All right, so, I had a lot of liposuction in two thousand and…fuck! I can’t even remember. But I decided to -- oh, this is so disgusting -- I’ve printed in the book four of my post-op plastic surgery pictures. They’re from the neck down and they are horrible. They are absolutely horrifying. It’s like the most bruised, horrible, you know, beyond-Rihanna thing you’ve ever seen in your life. They’re so heinous that I thought that, You know what, they’re so horrible that now it’s funny to me. So I put them in the book.
You know Barbara Walters is going to sink her teeth into that. You know Barbara’s going to give me shit about it, but I just couldn’t resist. I used to actually show [the photos] in my act. When I used to do shows at the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center, I used to talk about my liposuction, which, by the way, was botched, and I used to show the pictures and the poor gays were hurling in the aisles. I guarantee you have never seen pictures like this. Except for, like, crime scene photos. They’re disgusting.