A New Documentary Examines Queer Comedians’ Painful Rise — And Lasting Legacy – The Boston Courier


Over the course of her decades-long profession, queer comic Judy Gold has gained acclaim on the stand-up circuit and carved out a distinct segment for herself in movie, tv and the theatrical stage. Alongside the best way, she’s picked up two Emmys for her work as a author and producer on “The Rosie O’Donnell Show,” written two books and launched a podcast.

Within the new documentary “Outstanding: A Comedy Revolution,” Gold is granted a uncommon alternative to reassess her personal skilled trajectory alongside that of her contemporaries, together with Sandra Bernhard, Margaret Cho, Wanda Sykes and Rosie O’Donnell herself. She additionally will get to share her ideas on comedy’s oft-overlooked function in advancing LGBTQ+ visibility.

“Great comedians make you laugh, but they can also make you think. They can make you change your mind,” Gold advised HuffPost. “When kids come up to me and say, ‘I ran to my basement to watch you, and I couldn’t believe this big, loud lesbian was screaming about her family. You made me realize that, oh, I can have a family, too’ ― that makes it all worth it.”

Comic Judy Gold seems within the Netflix documentary “Outstanding: A Comedy Revolution.”

She went on to notice: “The power of comedy is that it makes you feel better, but it’s also a weapon. And all of the comedians you see in this documentary use that weapon wisely.”

Gold is featured prominently in “Outstanding,” which hit Netflix final week after kicking off the Provincetown Movie Pageant in Massachusetts and making a well-received world premiere at New York’s Tribeca Movie Pageant. Directed by Web page Hurwitz, the movie chronicles “Stand Out: An LGBTQ+ Celebration,” a 2022 dwell comedy occasion staged in Los Angeles by Netflix and hosted by Billy Eichner.

One after the other, the night’s lineup of 19 queer stars ― which embody the aforementioned ladies in addition to Joel Kim Booster, Fortune Feimster and Tig Notaro ― share humorous and considerate anecdotes about their early years and respective rises to fame in intimate interviews. Sadly, if not surprisingly, every comic recollects a good variety of cringe-inducing brushes with anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment alongside the best way.

As seen within the movie, Gold first publicly addressed her sexuality whereas performing onstage in 1996, shortly after the eldest of her two sons was born. That was a yr earlier than Ellen DeGeneres set a precedent by popping out as a lesbian on an episode of her ABC sitcom, “Ellen.”

Watch the trailer for “Outstanding: A Comedy Revolution” under.

“We are social commentators, and when you watch a comedian, you get to see the world through their eyes. So I never thought I was being dangerous or brave,” Gold recalled. “And frankly, I couldn’t live with myself if I hadn’t. What kind of message is that to send to your kids ― that you love them, but that you’ll talk about everyone else in your act but them?”

“I was defiant,” she continued, “and I don’t think I would’ve done anything different as far as when I came out, how I came out or putting my family first.”

Some of the compelling figures to look in “Outstanding” is comic Robin Tyler, who in 1978 turned the primary overtly lesbian lady on American TV when she appeared in a Showtime particular hosted by Phyllis Diller. Now 82, Tyler was extensively shunned by the mainstream after her popping out.

Sandra Bernhard, Tig Notaro, Roz Hernandez, Joel Kim Booster, Todd Glass, Margaret Cho, Judy Gold, Page Hurwitz, Robin Tyler, Guy Branum and Solomon Georgio attend the Tribeca Film Festival premiere of "Outstanding: A Comedy Revolution."
Sandra Bernhard, Tig Notaro, Roz Hernandez, Joel Kim Booster, Todd Glass, Margaret Cho, Judy Gold, Web page Hurwitz, Robin Tyler, Man Branum and Solomon Georgio attend the Tribeca Movie Pageant premiere of “Outstanding: A Comedy Revolution.”

Justin Bettman through Getty Photographs

From there, “Outstanding” explores the devastating influence that the HIV and AIDS disaster had on a complete technology of LGBTQ+ comedians. It additionally addresses the current controversies involving comedians, reminiscent of Dave Chappelle and Ricky Gervais, who’ve taken purpose on the transgender neighborhood of their stand-up acts.

Although the movie doesn’t supply a tidy resolution for the still-rampant transphobia that exists within the comedy house, Gold is hopeful it can revive curiosity in Tyler in addition to different queer comedians who had been denied their flowers alongside the best way.

“I want to help make life easier for LGBTQ+ people and other marginalized communities, but I also want to make people smarter,” she mentioned. “I think [Hurwitz] does a great job of intimately telling these stories. You have to know what it was like before and how we got to this point, because otherwise history will repeat itself.”

"Outstanding: A Comedy Revolution" was released June 18 on Netflix.
“Outstanding: A Comedy Revolution” was launched June 18 on Netflix.

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