David Bruce: The Coolest People in Comedy — Gays and Lesbians, Good Deeds

Gays and Lesbians

• Lesbian comedian Kate Clinton usually does not believe in outing homosexuals who don’t want to be outed, but sometimes more important things — such as politics — make her want to out some of her fellow homosexuals. For example, after singer Ricky Martin was seen being chummy with George W. Bush at his first Presidential Inauguration, Ms. Clinton says that she started going into record stores, hanging around big advertisements for Ricky Martin’s newest album, and telling passersby, “Did you know he’s a big fag?” (Later, Mr. Martin outed himself.)

• Gay comedian Bob Smith sometimes attends the Gay Pride festivities of Juneau, Alaska, where straight people celebrate alongside gays and lesbians. He once saw a hot man sitting at a bar during the Pride festivities and asked a friend who the hot guy was. This reply came back: “Oh, he’s a fisherman. He’s straight, but he doesn’t care. A party’s a party to him.” By the way, at Juneau Mr. Smith saw a Yukon lesbian folksinging group, and as you might expect, they were called the Klondykes.

• When homophobic people tell lesbian comedian Judy Carter that she just hasn’t slept with the right person yet, she replies, “You’re right. Do you know any cute homos who would be right for me?”

Good Deeds

• When Billy Crystal was attending Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, he hosted a jazz show on the campus radio station, but he ran into a problem: a severe lack of jazz records. According to Mr. Crystal, in West Virginia Roy Clark is considered a jazz musician. (Keep in mind that Mr. Crystal is a professional comedian.) To solve his problem, he wrote a letter to John Hammond, the head of Columbia Records, a music company that has recorded many great jazz records. In the letter, Mr. Crystal mentioned his father and uncle, who had both been involved in a major way in jazz. (He says that he also mentioned Roy Clark and what West Virginians thought of him.) In response, Mr. Hammond sent Mr. Crystal 50 classic Columbia jazz albums along with a catalog and an offer for Mr. Crystal to buy more jazz albums at the low price of $1 each.

• Bill Cosby sometimes does favors for friends. One of the kids he grew up with is Bootsie Barnes, who became a professional saxophone player. He played mostly in small clubs for little money, but Mr. Cosby invited him to open for him at the Jones Beach Theater on Open Island, where Bootsie was able to play for 10,000 appreciative people. In Reno, Nevada, one of Bill Cosby’s friends from before he became really famous opened up a McDonald’s. To help make the opening a success, Mr. Cosby showed up, wearing a red jogging outfit, and signed autographs. One little girl saw his red jogging outfit and asked, “Is that Santa Claus?” Her mother replied, “No, dear, that’s Bill Cosby. He’s better than Santa Claus.”

• When comedian Margaret Cho was just starting out, she often was too timid to go into the green room (the place where entertainers hang out as they wait to perform — and after their performances); therefore, she would hang around outside the door. One day, the green room was empty, so Ms. Cho and some of the other newby entertainers she had met standing outside the door went in and had a seat. When she became a star, Ms. Cho invited into the green room any newby entertainers she saw timidly hanging around the door.

• While entertaining the Desert Storm troops, comedian Jay Leno used to eat military food in mess halls and tease the troops by exclaiming, “Boy! This stuff is delicious! What is this — Thanksgiving dinner? I can’t believeyou guys are complaining!” The soldiers responded by throwing spoons at him. They also gave him a list of people — spouses, parents, other family members, boyfriends or girlfriends — to call when he returned to the United States. Mr. Leno personally made all the calls they requested.

• As a child actor, Hector Gray had a chance to work with comedian Stan Laurel, of Laurel and Hardy fame, in England. He remembers that Mr. Laurel was very kind to the children, and he often took them — a few at a time — on trips to see sights. He was also very generous and bought them many children’s books as gifts.

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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