• Bernie Fein was the co-creator of TV’s Hogan’s Heroes. He borrowed the name of the lead character, Colonel Robert Hogan, from an actor friend of his, whom he cast in the series’ 15th episode. In gratitude, Mr. Hogan shared a real “Hogan’s Hero” with Mr. Fein — a 5-foot hero sandwich filled with meats, cheeses, lettuce, tomato, and spices.
Gays and Lesbians
• The TV series Xena: Warrior Princess boasted not one, but two, lesbian icons. Lucy Lawless (Xena) and Renee O’Connor (Gabrielle) enjoyed a relationship with a serious lesbian subtext. Attending a convention of Xena fans, Ms. Lawless appeared and informed the crowd that Xena had recently been voted the number-two most-loved lesbian icon in the world. She then asked, “Would you like to meet number one?” No fools, the crowd — mostly composed of lesbians — screamed yes, and Ms. O’Connor walked on stage — to more screams. Of course, both Ms. Lawless and Ms. O’Connor have male fans. After Ms. O’Connor’s character was voted the number-one most-loved lesbian icon in the world, she posted a message on the WWW thanking all of her female fans for voting for her. A number of male fans wrote back, posting messages that said, “Wait a minute, we voted for you, too!”
• Air America Radio host Rachel Maddow decided to come out of the closet in a very public way when she was a student at Stanford. In every bathroom in her residence hall, she posted signs announcing that she is a lesbian — by the end of 24 hours everyone in her residence hall knew her sexual orientation. The school newspaper even published an article saying that she was one of the only two out lesbians in the freshman class. Ms. Maddow says, “Funnily enough, only one other person was out, and she was not one of the many girls I was sleeping with.”
• Quite a few gay men think that Ira Glass, host of radio’s and TV’s This American Life, is gay. Sometimes, he will mention on air that he has a wife, and a gay man will email him to say, “Please, stop pretending. Who is this ‘wife’ character you talk about?” Mr. Glass is certainly open to gays. Asked by an Advocate interviewer what it felt like to be included among other celebrities who are thought to be gay but who aren’t, Mr. Glass replied, “I always feel like it’s very flattering to be included in that club. It’s a group you’d like to be part of.”
• Black comedian Chris Rock had a notable skit on his HBO TV series. A black man and a white man meet each other on a dark street, and the two men are wary, expecting that the other man may do something violent. The men angrily ask each other what the other is doing that late in the neighborhood when suddenly … the white man grabs the black man and kisses him … then the black man grabs the white man and kisses him back. The announcer explains, “Gay sex. It’s colorblind.”
• On The Hollywood Squares, gay comedy writer Bruce Vilanch was asked, “You are the most popular fruit in America. What are you?” Bruce got a big laugh when he answered, “Humble.” (The other correct answer? “Banana.”) Another gay comedian, Paul Lynde, can often be seen on Nick at Nite guest-starring in old sitcoms. When he was on the game show The Hollywood Squares long ago, he was asked how long the typical affair lasts — he replied, “About 15 minutes.” (The correct answer was about two weeks.)
• During the summer between her junior and senior years of high school, Chastity Bono, the lesbian daughter of Sonny Bono and Cher, was riding her bike in New York City when she came across a Gay Pride parade. Never having heard of such a thing before, she was surprised — and exhilarated. She joined the parade and became one of hundreds of people celebrating their homosexuality.
• Roseanne Connor (a character on TV’s Roseanne) knows how to treat people. When Sandra Bernhard’s lesbian character worried about how the Connor family would have treated her if she had come out of the closet, Roseanne said, “We would have treated you like anyone else around here. We would have mocked you for a while — until we got tired of it — and then we would have dropped it.”
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
The Funniest People in Television and Radio: 250 Anecdotes — Buy