The Jason of All Trades
BY Jeffrey Hartinger
August 10 2011 4:44 PM ET
As a comedian, what is your opinion on the Tracy Morgan scandal? Did he go too far, or do you think people overreacted?
I feel that Tracy, as a fellow comic, has the right to say whatever he wants onstage, but when he does, it affects many other people and he will have to live with the consequences. When I started doing stand-up in the ’80s, I was teased and badgered by other comics, bookers, and the audience. This was part of the job, and I understood this coming into the business. I cannot tell you how many times I was rudely introduced or made fun of for being gay. Sometimes it was very funny and other times incredibly offensive and uncomfortable — to both the audience and myself.
Being bullied was a large part of my childhood. So, when I became a comic and an actor, I came upon this kind of prejudice all the time in many different forms. I learned that it was a part of the job, and my plight as an artist to move gracefully through the wreckage of my past and onto the front lines of advocacy for openly gay performers. I am actually a huge fan of Tracy’s. I know Tracy meant us no harm, but when you are given the gift of talent and the ability to make people laugh, and have such success and popularity, one must know that all of us are listening. Ten years ago this would not have gotten into the press, however — now the year is 2011 and the times they are changing, thank God.
Many comedians draw their comedy from a “dark place.” Would you agree?
Yes, for sure. My comedy comes from a place of pain. It was a way to get my feelings out. Now that I am in recovery in my life, my comedy comes from what makes me laugh. But it also comes from things that make me mad, like not having equal rights in this country.
Gay marriage just became legal in New York. If you could fly there and get married, what gay celebrity would it be to, and why?
Ricky Martin. for sure. I am obsessed with him. Why? Because he's perfect for me. So. Ricky — if you are reading this call me, email me, text me! I would even help raise your twins. I don’t have kids myself because I have nice furniture. For Ricky, I would change all of that!