The Other Clinton
BY Jeffrey Hartinger
August 15 2011 4:00 AM ET
You’re a native of Buffalo, NY.; how does it feel to have gay marriage passed in your home state?
I’m very proud of New York. It’s really incredible and it's certainly a lot of work behind the scenes. Also, we have to support those four or five individuals that really stuck their neck out — we need to make sure they get reelected. But it’s very exciting, and our governor, Andrew Cuomo, was completely committed to it and he wasn’t looking back. It’s that kind of leadership at the state level that’s so critical to get something done.
Did your career as a teacher help you prepare for a career in comedy?
Absolutely! I taught 11th and 12th graders. They are such a tough crowd and they come back every day. If you can keep a class interested in a late spring day in upstate New York — when it’s green and the lawn mower guy is going by — you’re good. When I first started out in comedy, people would say to me, “Where did you get started?” I would tell them that I taught high school English and people would just say, “Oh, OK.” They understood. I think it really prepares you. In those moments where you think that nobody is listening, nobody is getting this, that is just like high school teaching. You just have to think that something is going in and you know not to leave in a blind, murderous panic.
Your partner, Urvashi Vaid, is also very political and involved in the LGBT movement. Do you two ever butt heads on issues?
She had the best line the other day. She said, “We are Marxist Lennons. You are Karl Marx and I am John Lennon.” You know, we have different styles, but we both share the same principles of social justice, which is a great thing. We say we are the marriage of comedy and tragedy, but I’m never saying which one is which.