The first time we saw Julie Goldman’s stand-up was on the Rosie Cruise in July ’08 and we laughed so hard our faces ached. I mean it, our JAWS were throbbing.
When I remember her show I don’t just remember Julie’s jokes; I remember the faces of my LEZZZIEEEE friends laughing too, because it was one of those shows that was so wet-your-cargo-shorts-funny that you just couldn’t resist the head-swivel — “This is funny, right? Like possibly we’re having the funniest moment of our lives right now, right? Together?” — because as Julie’s alter-ego lesbian-folk rock singer Indigo Etheridge would agree, us estrogen-infused ladies should always have feelings together. That’s how you prevent alienation!
And Julie’s pretty much the Preventing Alienation expert (it’s a lot like forest fires), whether she’s touring with her Eve Ensler endorsed all-female comedy show Offensive Women, making drunk ladies laugh on boats/beaches or starring in her biggest gig yet as a cast member of Logo’s Big Gay Sketch Show.
Goldman had just wrapped up BGGS’s third season and was preparing to ship out to L.A. when Photoblogger Robin, Alex and I (Riese) popped in to her Park Slope apartment for a quick interview and photoshoot (there’s a video, too. Maybe you’ll get to see it soon!). We talked about so many things, including Obama, The L Word, cruise ships, the show, the screenplay she’s working on and her hopes & dreams.
We brought chips, index cards and a flip-cam. The Funny and the Cutest Pug Ever Russel had already been broughten by Julie. Check out Robin’s amazing photographs and the interview now!
Julie Goldman: Yes! Ready! Hello!
Seasons of Love: The Big Gay Sketch Show & Offensive Women
Riese: So, what are you most excited about for the 3rd season of The Big Gay Sketch Show? What’s different this year?
Julie: Well, they had a big meeting at the network about how they wanted the show to be more accessible to like, everybody?
Riese: As in like, straight people?
Julie: Mmm-hmm. At first we thought like, ugh really, but actually I think it made the show. It just opened it up more, we were able to do more sketches that were about like … everything. It’s still from our perspective, but some of the sketches don’t have a gay bent to it, but yet it’s still that perspective–
Riese: Like the queer sensibility…?
Julie: Yeah, totally. Totally. Like you know those Housewives shows? Real Housewives of Orange County and those, well we did a mormon one, and it was real funny.
Riese: Was it one guy with like 10,000 housewives?
Julie: Warren Jeffs, it was Warren Jeffs and his four wives, and it was … it was just like our perspective on that, and it was good. So it’s a lot of stuff like that.
Riese: Do you have any new characters that you’re introducing?
Julie: There aren’t that many characters that are like, recurring, where you’re– but there’s a ton of new stuff, so everyone got to do a lot of new stuff.
Riese: And what about Offensive Women?
Julie: For Offensive Women we had planned this big run at the Zipper theater. And the Zipper closed. So that was a huge blow.
Riese: You could do it outside in the parking lot, people would come.
Julie: Right? We’re looking for a new venue that’s like bigger and cooler. And also we need money. And a lot of stuff. In September, once we find the venue, and I think we’ll find it pretty quickly, we’re going to do a big DVD release and launch party, because we did a a weekend at the Zipper and we taped it and we want to use those tapes in one context or another.
Riese: So who are the comedians?
Riese: [shuffling index cards, trying to read my own handwriting] I have these cards– I learned that from you. Did you actually have things written on the cards for the Celesbian Interviews Special?
Julie: No. Or if i did, it was just retarded.
Riese: Did you do those all in one day? Because you were wearing the same outfit.
Julie: Sixteen interviews in one day.
I don’t like to fight, I don’t like any fights, I’m very non confrontational. But I can get real serious, oh yeah. Real dark.
Riese: We actually saw you on the Rosie cruise last year — your standup and the live “Big Gay Sketch Show” performance you did with Kate and other cast members. How does the writing process for The Big Gay Sketch show on Logo differ from the show you put together for the cruise?
Julie: Well, there’s a staff of writers for The Big Gay Sketch Show. The cast is not technically allowed to write. So we pitch to the writers our ideas and basically a wish list of things we want to do. And then the writers go and write whatever they want and they end up never doing the things that we want [jovial laughter] but …. ummmm, but they take what we ask for and try to make it work.
So Scott King, the head writer, went on the cruise and we thought okay, how can we specifically make stuff for the cruise? So it was just like tailoring some of the characters and whatever for the cruise.
Riese: Susan Powter was… [in it, being amazing]
Julie: Oh yeah! [smiles] Yeah! That show was fun, but it was hard ’cause we only had like four cast members there but it was hard. But we managed to pull it out of our ass.
Riese: What’s the big difference between the Rosie Cruise and the Olivia cruise [which Julie has also performed on]?
Julie: The guys are there [on the Rosie Cruise]. Which I think is more — well, not more — but fun.
Riese: How is the atmosphere different?
Julie: It’s the families and the kids… it’s still fun. On an all-lesbian cruise or vacation or whatever you tend to go reallll lezzie. I don’t know how to describe it, but the guys add a different flavor, and it’s fun.
Riese: And you got to go to Connecticut and Massachusetts! [Last year’s Rosie cruise mysteriously selected “New England” as its destination]
Julie: Oh yeah! That was really exciting, totally fun.
Riese: Are you always funny, even when you have fights, or do you ever get super serious?
Julie: I don’t like to fight, I don’t like any fights, I’m very non-confrontational. But I can get real serious, oh yeah. Real dark.
Julie Light and Dark:
Riese: You’ve often referenced [in interviews and stand-up] doing drugs in college — What is your favorite?
Riese: Cocaine. For what effects?
Julie: Currently or in the past?
Riese: In college.
Julie: Ohhhh — marijuana.
Riese: For what effects?
Julie: Oh, just for daily use.
(Door buzzer rings! It’s the potential subletters for Julie’s apartment!)
Julie [to us]: This is [redacted], he’s gonna look at my apartment to see about subletting it. So let’s talk to him real nicely, and talk about how nice this apartment is.
Riese: What are the selling points?
Alex: Run it by us.
Julie: It’s clean and freshly painted and [walks into other room, extending last syllable] …. very magical!
Robin: The only people who live in Park Slopes are lesbians and people with strollers.
Riese: Or lesbians with strollers. There are a shit-ton of strollers downstairs.
Julie: A shit-ton. There are a ton of families here [whispers loudly] that’s why I gotta get out.
[Interview pause for strangers to check out the apartment, probs love it instantly and are already living in it.]
Back to the Hard-Hitting Questions
Riese: Does anything offend you, as an offensive woman?
Julie: Um, not really, no. Offend me, no. There are things I don’t like, things I think are retarded…
Riese: Are there jokes that you think aren’t funny?
Julie: I generally think not much is funny, but ummmm … I don’t really get offended. But there’s definitely stuff that I don’t like, or stuff that makes me mad like, [does angry voice] what’s your problem, you know?
Riese: When you started out doing standup, because you started out pretty young, did you always talk about gay stuff?
Julie: No, no no. Not ’til I came out when I was 19, and then when I was 20 I started doing gay stuff.
Riese: So what did you talk about before that?
Julie: I was like “teachers are crazy!” “Homework is MWAHH!!”
Riese: Was it a novelty that you were so young?
Julie: Yes it was, totally.
Riese: And so you’ve always been gutsy and able to get on stage and just do it?
Julie: Apparently, yeah, I don’t know what my problem was.
The Underlying Magic
Riese: So do you have any tricks for getting out of a creative slump? Do you ever have creative slumps?
Julie: I’m in one right now. I dunno, it’s hard. For me I’ve just gotta wait it out until I get inspired.
Riese: Are there any people that inspire you?
Julie: People definitely do, situations do… I’m inspired by things that happen in my life. But if nothing is happening, then I don’t have anything to feel anything about.
Riese: Like you feel like there’s so much working happening that there’s not enough time to do the living that you need to have new material and do the work?
Julie: Yeah, totally. I think that’s what’s going on right now. But … I’m gonna move soooo I think I’m going to start developing some new material pretty soon!
Right, and a love story is a love story. And I don’t want to see any more gay movies where somebody dies of AIDS or is in a straight relationship and gets turned and then turns back, like fucking I’m over it, we’re beyond it, let’s go.
Riese: Probs on the plane.
Julie: It’s coming up, I can feel… I can feel it brewing [does brewing hand/finger gesture] you know what I mean?
Riese: Why are you going back to L.A.?
Julie: I’m going to try and find work, shake it up, mix it up a little bit, you know? Get out there, my manager is out there, and my agent is out there, and they think I can get more work so I’m gonna try it.
Riese: Do you feel like you’ve “made it”?
Riese: When will you feel like you’ve “made it”?
Julie: When I have a hundred millions dollars.
Riese: A hundred million dollars?
Julie: And like, many houses.
Julie: No, no, I don’t want many wives. Just houses.
Riese: Do you prefer L.A. to New York?
Julie: I don’t know yet. Right now I can definitely say that I’m looking forward to driving, to the nice weather, to not the humidity, to not walking up four flights of stairs…
Riese: Actually, for us, it was eight flights because we accidentally walked up the wrong side of your apartment building.
Julie: Yes, I know that you did, that’s right. I’m looking forward to a lot, the ease of life there.
Alex: It’s slower out there…
Riese: We’re all basically masochists to live here.
Julie: I’m tired, you know? I’m tired. And I feel like when I go to L.A. — to do standup or whatever — from this life I have in New York, I just feel like I have this New York chip. It’s like, ‘”Fuck you L.A., what are you gonna do?” [being L.A.:] I’m gonna drive my car, YEAH!.” Whatever! There’s nothing out there. No matter how plastic or beautiful or douchey I just feel like whatever. YEAH.
The Intern Army Has A Lot of Feelings Too,
Let’s Not Alienate Them
Riese: We have several interns and they all have questions for you.
Julie: Alright, I’m ready.
Riese: Okay. First intern question — Did you have a Bat Mitzvah?
Riese: What was the theme?
Julie: I had a lunch party because my parents took us to Disneyworld. I had a choice to have a night party like a wedding, or a day party, and I chose Disneyworld.
Riese: How tall are you?
Julie: I’m 5’6.
Julie: I’m 5’5 and a half.
Julie: I think my first joke was… I think it was, um… I think the very first act that I did included a re-dramatization of Julia Child cooking a turkey where she picked her nose and like stuffed it in her turkey. I was fifteen and I was like, (funny voice) “Oh I’m cooking a turkey, la la la…”
Riese: Did it sell well?
Julie: I was fifteen, they laughed at me ’cause I was 15. Or like, I had another one about being in the WAY back of the station wagon.
Riese: Oh, right right, how the backseat faced the other direction and you could put up signs that said like ‘help’ and then someone would pull over and be like, “What’s happening?“
Julie: Yup, yup.
Riese: Who is your favorite offensive woman in politics?
Julie: Hillary, I think. American woman?
Riese: It’s not specified, so if you wanna go with France or Russia…
Julie: I’m gonna say Hillary right now. That woman from Pakistan who got killed, but I don’t think I remember her name.
“It’s stupid. It’s f*cking retarded. It’s just stupid,
I want to set them all on fire.”
Riese: How do you feel about Obama so far?
Julie: He’s fine, I think he’s fine. He’s doing good.
Alex: He gets the ‘Julie Goldman Seal of Approval’…
Julie: I think… he’s not evil you know?
Riese: Unlike someone who was in there for eight years …
Julie: Yeah, I mean, he’s doing good.
Riese: What about the gay backlash that’s happening right now with people saying he hasn’t done what gay people wanted…?
I don’t think Obama’s against gay people — I just don’t think he’s for gay people.
Julie: You know, he never promised us anything, you know? He never did, not once. He basically said, “I don’t believe in gay marriage.” He can’t back gay marriage. I don’t know if internally he believes in it, you know?
Riese: I feel like he can’t possibly…
Julie: I believe that because he’s religious he could possibly be against gay marriage, but I don’t know. But I don’t think he’s for taking away people’s civil rights. Soooo I don’t think he’s against gay people I just don’t think he’s for gay people.
Alex: At least not for the next four years until he’s up for re-election …
Julie: [laughs] Right? But none of them were for gay marriage, and Hillary wasn’t either. Soooo I dunno. We’ll see.
Riese: It’s weird that it’s still such an controversial issue. It’s so bizarre.
Julie: It’s stupid. It’s fucking retarded. It’s just stupid, I want to set them all on fire. And especially from Obama! I’m sorry, that pisses me off more because he’s black and he should know better. Civil rights. Civil motherfuckin’ rights. Get on the civil train, Obams. Sorry.
Riese: The Train of Hope and Change…
Julie: And Beliefs and Change [pronounced “ch-ahhhhhnnge”]
The Cusp of Things
Riese: What was your favorite age?
Julie: I think this age right now so far is my favorite, but 30 was good too. No … I’m gonna go with “now.” The age of … 27!
Riese: At 27 you feel the youth… you’re on the cusp of things?
Julie: Yes, yeah. I am on the cusp of things, like… I’m so young, no menopause.
Riese: I’m also 27, so I also feel really full of hope, and change…
Julie: I think that uh, I was obsessed with Mel Brooks when I was a kid, and that completely shaped everything that I did. All of his movies. I can’t think of any TV shows.
Riese: The Big Gay Sketch Show…?
Julie: Right, the Big Gay Sketch Show is AMAZING. But yeah… Saturday Night Live? I’d watch that and be like, I wish I was Gilda Radner!
Riese: Would you ever wanna be on Saturday Night Live?
Julie: Not now. Now that we have The Big Gay Sketch Show, no. I mean, if they offered me a job, I wouldn’t reject it, but the desire to be on a sketch show has been fulfilled, and I get to be on one which I fit into instead of being the brunt of the jokes.
Autostraddle’s Favorite Topic:
Let’s Change the World! (And The L Word!)
Riese: I feel like that’s happening all over for lesbians in media, being able to tell their own stories, from their perspectives…
Julie: Right right, which is great. So for now it’s just the evolution of the next thing, like with Offensive Women. I also just wrote a movie which integrating a modern lesbian feminist-y whatever kind of perspective — a perspective that’s become like mainstream, or almost mainstream — into the mainstream —
Riese: That’s like, our whole mission at Autostraddle. We’re convinced that there must be some way to get our voices in the mainstream, in the same way that like, gay men have to a certain degree, and other minority groups.
Julie: And I think that we’ve come a long way — but also that there was a peak that was reached with The L Word and even the shows on Logo —
Riese: We feel like The L Word was moving us into mainstream and then it started to suck.
Julie: Yes, and also I feel like it was really… and I don’t want to take anything away from it…
Riese: Yeah, it definitely changed the world.
Julie: It’s a soap opera, and it’s as much reality as 90210. It’s the lesbian version, I think, of 90210. Like, so beautiful, which is fine, but what I’m attracted to is perspective, opinion, and things that are funny — even in movies! I love romantic comedies, but I’ve never seen one and thought well that’s, you know, I’m that person.
Riese: And that’s sort of what you’re doing with your screenplay, right?
Julie: Absolutely. Because as a lesbo how many times did you watch a movie and go, ‘Wellllll, I guess I’m Tom Hanks’? … You know what I mean? And I think that we can now, and I think that we can now have our…
Riese: ‘Cause we’re funny and we have good stories too.
Julie: Right, and a love story is a love story. And I don’t want to see any more gay movies where somebody dies of AIDS or is in a straight relationship and gets turned and then turns back, like fucking I’m over it, we’re beyond it, let’s go.
Riese: It’s the worst when the girl goes gay for one person and then they get back together with the guy and they’re like, ‘omg, i’m so sorry i love you, it’s just so much easier‘ and then they walk off and the gay one is like the well of loneliness.
Now for a Little Fingerblasting
Riese: Have you ever made out with Kate McKinnon?
Julie: We had to do that kiss for Lesbian Speed Dating, but we never made out, no.
Riese: Who was your favorite L word character?
(long pause, lots of thinking)
Julie: Cybill Shepard.
Julie: Absolutely. Phyllis all the way.
Riese: Not Papi?
Julie: Who’s Papi? OH YEAH! Papi! Oh GOD. Phyllis, then Bette, and then um, there was a prison scene and there was uh… Let me tell you my favorite scene of all The L Word shows. It’s what I like to call the masta-rape scene. Where Bette master-rapes Tina, she throws her on the floor, and you think she’s gonna, you see the sort of like fingerblasting that’s about to happen, but she does it to herself?
Riese: Didn’t that happen with Jodi?
Alex: Yeah, it was Jodi.
Julie: Oh, Jodi then. She was like, I’m gonna do it to you and then she was like, no I’m gonna masta-rape myself and I was like this is–
Riese: Really weird —
Julie: Very uncomfortable!
Riese: Tina loved the fingerblasting actually.
Julie: There was a lot of that going on. Amazing. And funny I thought.
Riese: It was funny without meaning to be.
Julie: And uncomfortable.
Riese: Like — “those aren’t my people.”
Julie: So weird.
Riese: How did it feel to win Funniest College Student?
Julie: Uh, that was a long time ago. It felt AMAZING. That was very vindicating because I was up against 700 people and most of them were boys.
Riese: Did any of them grow up to have the success and fame that you have?
Julie: Yeah, one of ’em, Eric Drysdale, is now an Emmy winning writer for The Daily Show, so I guess he really is the winner of that contest.
Riese: No, you won fair and square.
Julie: Yeah, yeah I did, and now I’m on The Big Gay Sketch Show, I’m an international super lesbian–
Julie: CELESBIAN. Who needs Emmys?
Riese: Well, you have the Logo NewNowNext Awards comin’ up so…
Julie: And I won one of those last year so, uh…
Riese: Yeah, we went, we were on the red carpet with cameras and fake microphones.
Julie: And I think there was a camera with fake microphones in the actual awards show.
Riese: We had to watch that from the party room.
Julie: You mean in the smaller room that was even smaller than the smaller room where they held the awards show?
Riese: There were a lot of people in the party room.
Julie: Well it probably fit about 10 or 12 people.
Riese: Well they had a lot of little foods on toothpicks, and a lot of drinks.
Julie: I got drunk.
Riese: We actually maybe arrived drunk.
Julie: I drank a lot of beer during the thing, and then when I won it I was drunk, and I got a big beer stain on my shirt and now every time I see the tape of that show I’m like, I have a beer stain. I am a MONSTER! Yeah!
Riese: Well, congratulations on that!
Julie: Thank you!
Keep up with Julie at Julie Goldman dot com. ANNDDDD if you haven’t already seen this, then you probably should see it right now!: