I just got through reading an interview about Margaret Cho and was like, "damn, I need someone to do interview with me so I can keep up with that bitch" , haha.. but serioulsy, so instead of waiting for someone to approach me, I thought, why not interview myself?
What did you do today?
This morning I slept in. I had a really good time at the American Indian Film Festival Awards show last night in San Francisco, California. The AIFF in San Francisco is an annual event held at the Palace of Fine Arts. This is a really good community event where you get a chance to see a lot of local Natives and see celebrities. I really like the AIFF because they're committed to the betterment and postive representation of Native Americans in film.
I got to meet Bunky Echo Hawk last night. Bunky is a contemporary Native artist whose artwork was selected as the marguee image for this year's film festival. It was a special moment for me to meet Bunky because not only am I a big fan of his artwork but also because I wanted to personally thank him for all the support he gave me a couple of years ago when my first LOGO clip appeared on youtube in which he helped me pass around, that man really does have a huge following in the Native community. Bunky is a sweet person and he deserves all the success he's worked hard for.
Here's the picture of his painting that was used for the poster, it's actually quite fabulous. The painting is entitled, "Defending Our Way of Life Through Film" . If any of you have ever seen Bunky, you would know this piece also doubles as a self portrait.
Another highlight from the evening was when I got to meet this old lady from the Tule River Indian Tribe who went to Sherman Indian High School, she was class of 1947, wow. I asked her which dorm she stayed in and she said, "Minnehaha" , she also said, "I was there when they started importing Native students from AZ" . I guess the at the time the school was mostly comprised of the California Indian tribes. I love having moments with other Natives like that, it's time like that I really feel connected to so many other people and generations who I have never met.
What's on your plate these days?
I'm headlining the, "We are not a Costume" , exhibit and Richard Oakes celebration at SFSU this upcoming Friday. I'm really looking forward to that, I love playing college crowds because those audiences are usually a lot of fun and the college kids look at these comedy shows as a fun distraction from there final exams.
I'm also looking forward to telling a lot of really good dick jokes.
and oh, why is that?
My reputation as a raunchy, no holds barred, irrevant, shit talking comedian has finally come to fruition, so now, when I get booked, the people know what they're getting.
But that shouldn't suggest that dick jokes are all I go up there with, it's just a small apart of me that I enjoy performing, I mean c'mon, who doesn't love hearing jokes about small penis's?
Most of the comedians I admire have a pretty liberal use of the English language, so why should I be any different?
For me, it's been pretty tough being a gay comedian because it's not a politically correct time to be an out and open queer comedian and what I mean by that is there are a lot of really good professional gay comedians who don't get booked at comedy clubs because of the fact that they're gay.
And what's worse, there's a big double standard between gay and straight comedians. It's acceptable for straight comic's male or female to talk about their sexuality on stage but the minute we bring up our sexuality, it's frowned upon.
A few years back I went to a Sherman Alexie book reading in Oakland and he told a pussy finger banging joke in an orthodox church where his book reading was held. Sherman is a very famous Native American author so I was really surprised he did that. His justification for telling that pussy joke was that the church where his event was being held was non-denominational and not a real church whereas I would never, ever, dared tell a dick or pussy joke in a church, regardless of whose religion it is.
There's is a big reason why all the big gay comedians out right now such as Rosie, Wanda Sykes, and Ellen have been able to carve careers for themselves in the beginning, they all wrote acts avoiding sexuality whereas if they didn't, they would not be who they are today.
Do you know what I think is weird, there really isn't a big gay male identified queer comedian working the scene, the gay male audiences at large have always supported female comedians via Joan Rivers, Kathy Griffin, Caroline Rhea, Monique, Sarah Silverman, Margaret Cho, Judy Tenuta, Roseanne Barr, and the list goes on.
Personally I don't care which demographic comes to my show, just as long as they keep coming in droves, laugh out loud and leave my show knowing they had a good time.
Any other feelings on being booked as a gay comedian?
A while back on facebook, a friend approached me and asked if I could perform for at their wedding and requested that I not include any gay jokes.
Of course I declined to do the event because that would've been like sending me back in the closet. I don't like the feeling of anyone constricting my work. I do joke about sex in my act but there's more to me than just that. And plus I don't appreciate anyone pulling parts of my show that doesn't encompass everything about me.
So do you consider yourself a trailblazer?
On somedays I do but on my most days I consider myself a performer trying to make a living doing my art.
Any words for the future queer comics?
Be smart, know what you're getting yourself into. I remember a veteran comedian telling me early on, "if somebody would have told me all the bullshit I was going to go through in comedy, I never would've done it in the first place" . So really, you have to have a strong determination and will to succeed.
And really, that goes for any discipline.
I use to coach volleyball and saw one of my old students, I asked her how college was going and she said she quit because she knew people finishing with a college degree wasn't a guarantee to them finding a job after wards. I told her there's plenty of people out there with degree's and without and the people who make it are the ones with passion.