Joan Rivers Better Work
BY Brandon Voss
June 24 2010 7:25 PM ET
Like Betty White, who sort of outed Cary Grant on The Joy Behar Show last week, you’ve surely encountered some closeted celebrities through the years.
But it’s a business. If everyone had known that Cary Grant was gay, he
wouldn’t have been the great romantic idol, and that would’ve been the
end of his career. Same with Rock Hudson, who was a very good friend of
mine. He had a partner named Tom for years, and when you invited Rock,
you invited Tom — there was no question. But if the world had known,
maybe they wouldn’t have wanted to see him make out with Jane Wyman. It
makes sense, in a way. If you’re looking at someone who’s your idol,
thinking that maybe one day they’ll come ring your doorbell, you don’t
want to hear, “There’s no chance in hell, honey, but still buy a ticket
to the movie.”
Should young gay performers still keep their sexuality a secret?
It’s part of the game. If you’re going to be a romantic idol and try to get every teenage girl to love you, then you’d be an ass to come out and say you’re gay. That’s why Ricky Martin was so smart — he did what he did, he made his millions, and then he said, “Guess what, everybody? I’m gay, I’m having this life, and here are my children.” It didn’t matter anymore because he didn’t have to bring in 16-year-old girls.
Since we’re getting into Newsweek territory here, did you buy Sean Hayes as a romantic lead in Promises, Promises?
I thought he was adorable. What’s there to buy? It’s a musical, for God’s sake. We already know the plot, we know they get together in the end, and there’s singing and dancing. What, we’re looking for reality here? It’s so stupid.
What do you make of the cadre of female comics who have come out as lesbians later in their careers?
Well, with comedians it doesn’t mean a damn thing, because there’s not the same romantic thing involved there. No single guy ever had Ellen DeGeneres’s or Rosie O’Donnell’s picture up on the wall and thought, Maybe one day I’ll meet her and she’ll marry me. No one cares what a comedian is. All you’re thinking about is if they’re going to make you laugh.
It’s not too late in life for you to come out, Joan.
I’ll probably do it right before my new show comes out. You should only come out when you need the publicity.
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