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by Bryan Safi, writer for infoMania and host of “That’s Gay.”

On Thursday, October 7th, I’m debuting a That’s Gay Live show at the Out Loud Comedy Festival in San Francisco! But enough about me and how you should buy tickets to come see me here.

Another performer at the festival is none other than RuPaul’s Drag U. star and world-famous drag artiste Lady Bunny! Lady Bunny and I had a very intimate conversation via email about a makeover-crazed America, why Martin Lawrence is scary, and, of course, “no homo.”

Q: Lady Bunny! What are you planning to do at the Out Loud Comedy Festival? And what else are you working on right now?
A: With the Castro Theater’s giant film screen as a back-drop, I’m premiering a song parody of Katy Perry’s “California.” It’s the first time I’ve ever produced a video project and thanks to my co-stars and fab crew, I am thrilled at how rotten (in a good way) it turned out. I’ve always admired queens like Varla who incorporate video into their act–I’ve just never gotten it together until now. I’ve also been working on some stand-up comedy and will throw in a little of that.

Q: I loved watching you as a judge on Drag U. Is RuPaul every bit as amazing as I hope?
A: Ru is my drag mother and roommate from Atlanta, Georgia in the early 1980s. We also lived together in NYC for several years. So while we’re close and can always pick up where we left off, it wasn’t until we appeared together in Starrbooty and Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild that we reconnected since he’s mainly been living in LA. We share a demented sense of humor.

Q: Did you have a favorite guest judge?
A: I truly liked all of them but really connected with Mia Tyler and Kelly Osbourne. But I was in total awe of Chaka Khan. Rags To Rufus was the first album I ever bought! She’s one of the world’s greatest singers in my book.

Q: I’ve talked before about the “gay best friend” and how oftentimes, women see gay men as accessories and go to them for help. Now, Drag U was about transforming ordinary women into extraordinary drag queens. Are you afraid that women on the streets may attack you for guidance now?
A: America is make-over crazy. And especially since Queer Eye [for the Straight Guy], there is a perception that gay men or drag queens can transform anyone with their helpful hints. And do you know why we have such a knack for correcting figure flaws, hairstyles, flattering clothing, and body language? Because straights can be evil and if we don’t learn how not to swish and what not to wear, straights may beat us up or even kill us. So the message I’d like to send to these makeover crazy women is that if you value us and our tips, then value our lives and teach your sons and husbands not to beat and murder us. Because you bitches can’t get any more tips from a dead gay.

Q: Who are you loving in the media right now? Who are you hating?
A: I am loving Michael Moore, Senator Alan Grayson, Rachel Maddow, and Keith Olbermann for having the balls to keep the truth out there. I’m hating all of the housewives from all the Bravo shows. Last time I checked, housewives cooked, did laundry, and raised their kids. Not like these horrors.

Q: It seems like the only images we get about female impersonation are from RuPaul’s Drag Race and Drag U. Who or what inspired you to get into this line of work?
A: I was enthralled by drag queens I saw at a young age in bars in Chattanooga, Tennessee where I grew up. Except for TV and film, I’d never seen women–much less men–wearing sequinned gowns, huge hair and false eyelashes before. My mom was attractive, but no definitely no glamorpuss.

Q: Rate these queens on a scale of 1-10. Tyler Perry’s Madea —
A: Zero. I’ve never seen it or had any desire to.

Q: Two — Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie?
A: I thought it was pitiful that they worked in a love scene with Dustin and Jessica Lange. Totally unbelievable that they’d be in bed and she wouldn’t notice his stubble.

Q: Three — Martin Lawrence in Big Momma’s House?
A: Zero. Wouldn’t see it. I find Martin Lawrence very scary for some reason, although he was funny when he did that drag character with the very long nails.

Q: Four — Nathan Lane in The Birdcage?
A: Zero. He ruined the role by playing it as a clown. In the original film, the queen may have been older and not so attractive, but she was still regal so you feared her tantrums and catered to your whims. Nathan killed all of that with his slapstick take on the character.

Q: Is there anything on TV or in film that you feel really gets it right when it comes to portrayals of gays and gayness?
A: The maid in The Birdcage was a riot–and he was straight! But drag is often misrepresented, as is transsexualism. I still can’t get over how absurd it was to have Terence Stamp, with a full beard visible, play a post-op transsexual in Priscilla. News flash! You get electrolysis before the chop! However, I did think Felicity Huffman did a great job as an awkward pre-op in Transamerica.

Q: My show at Out Loud is about the State of the (Super Gay) Union – a look at how we’ve been portrayed in the past year. What’s something you’d want to change about the state of gays right now?
A: While I support equal rights for all, I can’t understand why gays would want to serve in the military now. We should never have gone to Iraq and Afghanistan is a never-ending, mismanaged quagmire. How does anyone look at that and think “Where do I sign up?” As an oppressed people, gays shouldn’t want to join a military force which oppresses others. I agree that they should have the right to serve if they want it, I just can’t see why they do.

Q: How often do you use the phrase “no homo?”
A: Never.

Get tickets to the first ever live version of Bryan’s segment on Thursday, October 7 and tickets to see The Drag Queens of Comedy on Saturday, October 9th at San Francisco’s Out Loud Comedy Festival.

Bryan Safi interviews Sandra Bernhard

By Bryan Safi, writer for infoMania and host of “That’s Gay.”

This Thursday, I’m debuting a That’s Gay live show at the Out Loud Comedy Festival in San Francisco! But enough about me and how you should buy tickets to see me here — and on to someone far more interesting.

I had the chance to chat with the brilliant and hilarious Sandra Bernhard, who is headlining the Out Loud Comedy Festival in San Francisco Saturday, October 9th at the Castro.

We talked about her time on Roseanne, those unforgettable Letterman interviews, the nutty Christine O’Donnell, and why I would absolutely watch her reality show.

Q: You were kind of a big part of my household when I was younger. I told my Mom I was interviewing you and she goes, “Is that the one like Courtney Love?”
A: Really?! Oh my God. That’s hysterical.

Q: I told her you’ve both sung songs by Hole but that’s where it ended.
A: For sure. Oh my God. For sure.

Q: So what are you planning to do at Out Loud?
A: Just 45 minutes of my music and my comedy. It’ll cover everything from contemporary pop culture to my personal life to politics and everything in between.

Q: I saw you perform in Los Angeles once. And I remember that Michelle Lee from Knots Landing was in the audience. She was tipsy and you made some snarky remark to her.
A: Tipsy Lee! I’m gonna see Michelle tonight. We’re going to see Liza Minnelli.

Q: My segment “That’s Gay” talks about gay issues and stereotypes and the way the media looks at them. So I want to know who you’re loving in the media right now.
A: I love Rachel Maddow, I really like Amy Poehler. I’m a big fan of that show Mad Men. I don’t like all the hype around it, but I think it’s a very engaging show. I don’t watch much TV in general. Friday Night Lights is another one of my favorite shows.

Q: I’ve still never seen it.
A: You have to get it on DVD! And I love Damages. I don’t understand why all these great shows get overlooked. It doesn’t make any sense to me. I’ve been Twittering a lot too. I Twitter with Rosanne Cash, I’m going to tea over there this afternoon. I’ll tell you who I love – Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart. Especially Stephen Colbert. I think he’s fearless. I love how he plays it.

Q: Is reality TV something you’ve ever been interested in doing? I imagine you’ve been approached.
A: It’s interesting. Fifteen years ago, my friend Jhoni Marchinko – who ended up becoming the show runner for Will & Grace – pitched to HBO [the show concept] A Day in the Life of Sandra Bernhard.

A: The people at HBO said, “We don’t get it.” It was right before it all kind of exploded. And so it never happened. And then of course, y’know, Curb Your Enthusiasm and all these shows [came on]. But no, I would never wanna do a show that’s strictly maudlin and invaded my personal life and my home. I would never do that.

Q: What about on Bravo?
A: No, no, no, no. That’s not for Sandy. I don’t see the reality thing happening now. I don’t think there’s any room left to do anything inventive. They don’t want inventive. They wanna be hit over the head with this stuff. And, you know that’s not where I come from.

Q: When you came out on Roseanne, my parents wanted us to stop watching it. That must have been a huge moment – being one of the first recurring lesbian characters on a hit show.
A: Don’t forget I started out married to Tom Arnold. That’s what was sort of really funny about it. That was kind of the whole point, that he had driven me to it. So it wasn’t kind of like you were getting hit over the head with it – like, “We gotta throw a gay character on the show.” It was much more subtle.

Q: I remember the controversy over that kiss with Morgan Fairchild so well.
A: That kiss wasn’t consummated. ABC wouldn’t let us have the kiss. Just as we were starting to kiss, the camera cuts.

Q: I just remember being excited about it.
A: Yeah, it’s an interesting story. But nobody took [the lesbian thing] seriously on that show. Roseanne just shoots from the hip. She just goes for it. Nothing was ever serious on that show. Nobody was like, “Oh my god this is the most incredible thing.” She came up with funny ideas and things that hadn’t been talked about and she did it. That’s why to me it was so much more effective.

Q: Have you ever been proud of offending a particular person?
A: Before the last election, I spoke out a lot about Sarah Palin. I got harassed about that a lot. I’m glad I did. I’m glad I stood up. I can’t believe she’s still in the eye of the storm. I find that shocking. Most of what I’ve done over the years is take apart pop culture. I’m never out to get anybody. But that was a specific time. We’re still in a specific time of people being incredibly hateful and stupid and totally not in touch with what reality is. I just think we’re in a very weird place.

Q: This is a really strange time. Kind of terrifying. People are pissed.
A: Yes. There’s a lot of people who don’t work and have a lot of time on their hands. They’re frustrated. They don’t like that there’s a black president. They’re freaked out by the idea of gay people getting married. It’s too much for them. So they’re just freaking out.

Q: And people take comfort in that, too – in freaking out.
A: Yes. And then having other people to freak out with.

Q: I’m doing a show at Out Loud called the “State of the (Super Gay) Union.” I’m going to rattle off some current events and I’d love your thoughts on them. Ground Zero Mosque.
A: It’s absurd. Of course they should be allowed to build it.

Q: Christine O’Donnell.
A: She’s a fool. She’s like a total nut. [Laughs] My daughter’s home from school. She doesn’t feel well, and when you said Christine O’Donnell, she started laughing. That’s all I need to say – my daughter’s laughing. She just said, “a devotee of witchcraft.” It’s a hoot and a holler.

Q: The Real Housewives.
A: I put blinders on around those chicks. They drive me crazy.

Q: “No Homo.”
A: What’s that?

Q: It’s used a fair amount in hip-hop. An example would be, “Suck a dick. No homo.” Meaning, don’t take that in a gay way.
A: Like a disclaimer? Exactly. God. I don’t know about that. I guess I missed that one.

Q: My two favorite things are watching all of your old Letterman videos on YouTube and also watching Paris Is Burning. What does that mean?
A: They’re both pretty outrageous and unedited and uncensored. When I used to do Letterman, it was a different time. You could do stuff you can’t do now.

Q: Are you friendly with Letterman?
A: No! He wasn’t friendly with me. He totally turned off to me and didn’t have me on anymore. I don’t know. I have no idea why. Nothing happened. He moved to another network, and times changed. Maybe that was part of it. Maybe they didn’t want people to come on and use the place as an entertainment medium. It doesn’t make sense at all.

Q: What I loved about guests like you on those shows is you were just there to be interesting and funny and have a point of view and not to promote some shitty movie that nobody wants to see.
A: That’s right. Exactly. And that’s what television should be. It’s a total bummer now.

Get tickets to the first ever live version of Bryan’s segment on Thursday, October 7, at San Francisco’s Out Loud Comedy Festival.

Watch Bryan breakdown the Eddie Long scandal in this week’s episode of “That’s Gay.”

Punchline Magazine Interviews Sandra Bernhard

by Emma Kat Richardson, Punchline Magazine

Comedy icon Sandra Bernhard headlines Rooftop Comedy’s Out Loud Comedy and Arts Festival — running Oct. 7 – 10 — in San Francisco. In in an interview with Punchline Magazine, the versatile force of nature tells all!

Sandra Bernhard – actress, comedian, musician, pusher of societal buttons – has been a major league hitter in the entertainment game since the late ‘70s. Her career has spanned the administrations of presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and… well, you get the idea. Some would even say that her multi-range talents have included a trip into the much-traveled panties of the Material Girl, but it all depends on who you ask, and how drunk they are. (Bernhard herself has since refuted this long-nourished tale.)

Regardless, controversy and the endlessly churning celebrity rumor mill have always taken a backseat to the intricate craft of Bernhard’s comedy, and her staying power speaks as an undeniable testament to the driving force that is Ms. Sandra B.

And with appearances in more than 60 movies and TV shows, coupled with the kind of stand-up stamina that would send a million wannabe open mic stars weeping into their cheap beers, who’s going to successfully argue that her eventual tombstone should make any reference at all to Madonna?

Performing at Rooftop Comedy’s Out Loud Comedy Festival Oct. 7–10 in San Francisco, our favorite Roseanne guest star caught up with Punchline Magazine to rap about the gay community, Richard Pryor, and why she loves to sing the blues.

Punchline Mag: You’ve been performing since the late ‘70s. When you first started out, did you ever expect your career to maintain this level of longevity? Did you set out for that?

Sandra Bernhard: Oh, well, I thought I’d be a much bigger star than I am. [Laughs]. But I think I’ve been able to maintain my integrity and do my work and really enjoy it. I was just kidding about being a bigger star. Everything kind of comes in a wave. You do a project, and you get a lot of attention, or you can keep doing what you’re doing and sometimes people won’t notice it. Being a perennial, that’s the most rewarding part – being able to do my career the way I’ve done it.

Punchline Mag: Do you feel like it gives you a lot of creative leeway, because you’re not, as you said, living under a certain set of expectations?

Sandra Bernhard: Yeah. I don’t care for that. It’s just too much. You can end up saying the wrong thing, and people will ask you to backtrack and explain it. It’s like, that happens once in a while; I’ll say things that are controversial, and people will want to know if I meant it, but in general, when I perform, I get to do what I want to do and say it the way I want to say it. That makes me happy.

Punchline Mag: That’s interesting that they’d ask you if you really meant it. Would you say something you didn’t mean, as a comedian?

Read the rest of the interview at Punchline Magazine

Buy tickets to see Sandra.

“That’s Gay” Presents: The State of the (Super Gay) Union

We’re very excited to announce a new addition to the Out Loud Comedy Festival:

“That’s Gay” presents: The State of the (Super Gay) Union with Bryan Safi!

Using some of the most outrageous and hilarious clips from this past year in media, Current TV’s Bryan Safi of “That’s Gay” presents The State of the Gay Union in the first live version of the show. From viral giants like that Old Spice dude to logic warriors like Bill O’Reilly and Focus on the Family, Bryan will enlighten, inform and tickle you in all the right places.

Hosted by fellow LGBT comic Natasha Muse, The State of the (Super Gay) Union goes down on October 7th at the LGBT Center in San Francisco.

$10 advance/$15 at the door. Buy tickets here.


I was just starting out as a comic in San Francisco when this week’s Guest Editor, Guy Branum, was packing his man bags and heading for Los Angeles. Since then, Guy has taken the LA comedy scene by storm, most notably, as the “Staff Homosexual” on E!’s late night talk show “Chelsea Lately”.

Guy has also written and appeared on Wildest TV Moments on E!, X-Play and Attack of the Show on G4, and the Comedians of Chelsea Comedy Tour.

Guy will be appearing at the Out Loud Comedy & Arts Festival in San Francisco, Ca on October 9th, 2010. Click here for schedule and ticket information.

Here are his celeb picks:

1) Alex Koll – Athlete’s Face

I had a devastating crush on Alex Koll in 2003. Clearly, it was not based on his body.

2) Moshe Kasher – What it’s like to be gay

I hate it when most straight guys have a hilarious joke about the gheys. Moshe’s stuff is thoughtful and honest. Also, I hate how he dresses.

3) W. Kamau Bell – Touching the Queen of England

One day I will figure out how to be funny like Kamau Bell, then I will be a happy boy.

4) Laurie Kilmartin – Put your baby back where it came from

I saw Laurie Kilmartin on a Lifetime comedy show years ago and thought she had the prettiest hair in the world.

5) Ali Wong and Chris Garcia – ClitorUs

Frida Kahlo is my favorite comic working today.

6) Nico Santos – I got with a straight guy

Even if Nico Santos were not my adopted daughter, I would still love him. Gay comics who talk honestly about actually being gay are nigh-on impossible to find.

Ian Harvie & Fortune Feimster OUTLOUD (VIDEO)

Comedians Ian Harvie and Fortune Feimster hook up to work out some new material for their upcoming shows at Rooftop Comedy’s Out Loud Comedy Festival, October 8 – 10, 2010. Get full line up and ticket information here.