"I'd like to point out that it took five gay men to replace Martha Stewart," quips comedian Kate Clinton, one of four subjects featured in ImageOut's opening-night documentary, Laughing Matters (see review in this issue). She's talking, of course, about Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, the recent ratings juggernaut and water-cooler favorite. "I think we should keep it in the family, and it should be Queer Eye for the Lesbian Guy. Help the gals get the gals," Clinton says. "And they always pick somebody who's, like, totally gay-friendly. How hard is that? I think they should try to remake Michael Savage."
Clinton, born in Buffalo and raised in Syracuse, has been performing her own special brand of politically laced humor with an LBGT bent for over 20 years. "What I find is that people are quite relaxed during the gay and lesbian stuff but get very nervous during the political stuff," she says. "Sometimes I say things and people clap, and I call it the 'We're Fucked' clap," referring to a bit that postulates a Republican plan to declare martial law if it looks like a Democrat may win the presidency next year. "We can't have any democratic elections --- they're bad for homeland security."
Not so surprisingly, Clinton's political humor leans slightly to the left. "I just find Republicans to be hideous losers; sore losers who either steal an election, or redistrict, or recall, or try to impeach somebody," she says.
You'd think she would have plenty to say about the mess out in California, but when that situation is brought up, Clinton sounds rather resigned. "There's so much time and money being spent on it, when there are actual, real problems," she says. "Gray Davis just signed the domestic partnership law, which legitimately came up through the legislature. It wasn't a suit by a gay couple that wanted marriage in the state. It just makes it look so tawdry, like he's just signing everything now. It wasn't that, and it's unfortunate it's being portrayed that way."
Clinton, a former high school English teacher who spends about 60 to 70 days a year on the road, loves Diana Krall and has a rather unusual eating routine when she's away from home. "One of my favorite things to do is to go to Cinnabon and bring a hard-boiled egg," Clinton giggles. "There's this horrible smell while people are trying to put cinnamon buns in their mouths."
She's done The Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Vagina Monologues on stage, but Clinton isn't totally sold on a female version of Queer Eye: "Makeovers aren't our strong point. It's not what we're known for. It would be more like, 'We'll teach you how to play softball.'"
The Laughing Matters opening night screening and gala celebration is sold out, but a second screening has been added on Saturday, October 11. For ticket information, call 271-2640 or visit www.imageout.org.