OUT, LOUD, AND LAUGHING by Charles Flowers


A Collection of Gay and Lesbian Humor
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 A collection of generally ephemeral comedy by gay and lesbian writers and performers. Most of the 15 selections are transcribed stand-up comedy routines covering an array of the expected social topics. Among those that recur are gays and lesbians in the military, ``lesbian chic,'' tabloid television's gay fixation, and the ways in which American culture conditions heterosexuals to be suspicious of and mystified by homosexuals. Marga Gomez and Suzanne Westenhoefer donate especially funny monologues: Gomez talks with acid irony about how her long-term relationship differs from a legally recognized marriage (``Nobody tied tin cans to the back of our car and painted JUST LESBIANS on our windshield''), while Westenhoefer pinpoints the ludicrousness of homophobia as she recalls a heartland challenge--`` `Oh, my God. Now that I know you're a lesbian, I can't get undressed in front of you.' I'm like, `Really, miss, just take my order'...Who are these McDonald's people?'' Several of the contributions are more coherent as text than the comedians' streams of one-liners. David Sedaris, famous for his National Public Radio memoir of working as an elf at Macy's Santaland, is represented here by the insidiously delightful ``Glen's Homophobia Newsletter, Volume 3, No. 2,'' in which an extremely bigotry-conscious editor tells his subscribers of his unrequited lust for a dim convenience-store clerk. The collection's high point is a pair of brilliant, surrealistic excerpts from Fierce Love, a theater piece created by the performance group Pomo Afro Homos that smashes stereotypes of black gay male identity and reconstitutes them as models of individuality and defiant community. Fierce Love's emotional power and dramatic ingenuity stand in high relief against the inherently artless, disposable quality of most of the material. (The book's net royalties will benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.) A few good laughs and a punch or two to the gut.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-385-47618-3
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Anchor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1995


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