As a fat kid who grew up in the 1970s, John Belushi was my comedy hero. He was one of the original “Not Ready For Primetime Players” (aka the cast of Saturday Night Live) back when the show was actually live—and actually funny. His anything-for-a-laugh characters like The Samurai and a zaftig, choking-on-chicken Liz Taylor had me and the rest of America in stitches. And his energy on the small screen was nothing compared to when he stole the movie Animal House by smashing an annoying folksinger’s acoustic guitar to bits and spewing mashed potatoes across the cafeteria. Little did I know that John’s dangerous, on-the-edge comedy actually came from a painful place and was often fueled by copious amounts of drugs. I just thought he was funny. Needless to say, when he overdosed at the Chateau Marmont, I was devastated.
But then I saw an interview with his SNL castmate Jane Curtin. She revealed that John was, in fact, a misogynist who didn’t think women could be funny. In fact, he would reportedly sabotage sketches written by female writers by giving absolutely nothing at table reads, mumbling the dialogue and essentially “phoning it in.” Learning this about him was, in many ways, even more devastating than his untimely death.
I thought about this because I am in the dressing room of my friend Kate Flannery right now. Kate, best known as the lovable drunk Meredith on NBC’s The Office, is hosting a show for TV Guide Channel called Stand-Up in Stilettos. The show features performances by amazing female comics like Carol Leifer, Wendy Liebman, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Maria Bamford, Frangela, Tammy Pescatelli, Arden Myrin, Rachel Feinstein, Erin Foley, Jessica Kirson and more.
Having toured with the rule-shattering Roseanne Barr, written for the legendary Joan Rivers and helped punch-up special material for the likes of Rosie O’Donnell, Jennifer Coolidge and my pal Kate, I know firsthand that women can be f*cking funny. Anyone who could make an ignorant blanket statement such as “women aren’t funny” can bite my fat ass—an ass that, need I remind you, is quite frequently packed into an old-fashioned all-in-one girdle beneath women’s clothing because I love women so much!
It reminds me of the time some tacky twink in his 20s posted the following travesty on Twitter: “Um, I’m gay, OK? NO WOMEN!” Huh? Listen, I get that you may not want to have sex with women, but even typing the words “no women” is simply unacceptable in my book. I mean, we’re talking about half the world’s population for chrissakes! I mean, get your shit together, faggot!
I cannot imagine my life without the amazing women in it—my hilarious and talented friends like Muffy Bolding, Nadya Ginsburg, Selene Luna, Margaret Cho, Lindsey Alley, Wendy Ho, Calpernia Addams, Kate Flannery, Joan Rivers, Roseanne and the ones who don’t even step onstage but can crack me up on the phone or at brunch. And don’t even get me started with all my hysterical drag queen friends like Lady Bunny, Sherry Vine, Jimmy James, Coco Peru, Varla Jean Merman, Ryan Landry and so many other ‘sisters’ who channel female energy to make the world a better and more glamorous place.
OK, I have to wrap this up. Maria Bamford is about to do her set and there is no way I’m going to miss it. That is one funny woman!