I have been a huge fan of strong female comedians since I can remember. My first memory is probably of Joan Rivers
on the Muppet Show
or in The Muppets Take Manhattan
. If you have not yet seen her recent documentary A Piece of Work
, you must do so right now. Amazing stuff.
I can't remember a time when I didn't love Bea Arthur
. I was too young to watch Maude,
but I was instantly in love with The Golden Girls
. I think I honestly just wanted them all to be my grandmothers. How awesome would it be to go to Miami for the weekend to stay with Blanche, Dorothy, Rose, and Sophia. I am sure this was not every kids dream. But it was mine. I didn't have some Harold and Maude type fantasy. I was gay after all. But I just wanted to hang out. Talk about current events. Make fun of celebrities or people in general. I loved that sarcastic and humorous outlook on life. And The Golden Girls
might have been the first show that I remember to feature gay characters. There were other shows of course. But not many.
Dorothy's old friend visits and turns out to be lesbian and falls in love with Rose. Blanche's brother visits and comes out to her in his golden years. And of course the very first episode features a gay housekeeper. My favorite character was of course Dorothy, played by the amazing Bea Arthur. If there is one celebrity I could go back in time to hang out with or have dinner with, It would probably be Bea Arthur. She was hilarious and sarcastic. But also brutally honest and warm and sincere. She loved her friends and her family more than anything. But she understood a good joke and could never be mad at anyone for too long. She was sort of my role model. And she also got me in love with the female comic. Gay guys have always flocked to the female comic. There just are not that many out gay male comedians. At least there weren't in the '80s and '90s. So these comics were all we had to relate too. And honestly, they were a whole lot better than any of the gay male comics that I had seen or heard about. Female comics were sort of outsiders just like the gays. Bea Arthur probably opened the doors for a lot of these women. At least the TV comic. There would probably be no Roseanne
without Bea Arthur. I seriously can't imagine my life with either one of them.