Out comedienne talks Zanies, gay comics and more
by Out and About Nashville Staff Reports
Mar 12, 2013
You may recognize her from LOGO Television or from the film Laughing Matters with fellow comics Kate Clinton and Margo Gomez. Either way Suzanne Westenhoefer has been making audiences laugh since the early 1990s. Not only has she appeared everywhere from LOGO Television to the Late Show with David Letterman. Westenhoefer makes a Nashville stop on her national tour this Wednesday night at Zanie’s. In advance of her appearance Westenhoefer answered a few questions with O&AN.
You’ll be in Nashville on Wednesday, March 13 performing at Zanies, anything you like about this club and Nashville in general.
Zanies in Nashville is one of my favorite clubs. The people who work there take such good care of us lezzies and gay men when you come in to do shows (laughs).
With a career spanning over 20 years, what has changed in stand up? audiences? any old taboos broken, any new taboos introduced? are the people getting into comedy different? people who own the clubs / run the shows different?
Everything has changed. When I first started doing stand up, gay people and straight people alike told me not to be openly gay, back in the early 90’s. They said it would ruin my career and I am sure it did in some ways. I am sure there is an invisible pink ceiling somewhere that I hit. It was about activism back then, it was about being able to tell our truth as well.
Gay audiences has changed in that I used to not be able to talk about one single thing that was heterosexual. It was like, we had so few voices that even would I want to talk about, let’s say, my dog they wanted more about gay specific material not jokes they could get from a straight perspective.
What can audiences expect when they come to see Suzanne Westenhoefer?
I am a storyteller and my sets are unscripted and based on what is going on in my life as it is happening.
In your opinion, is there a Queer comedic sensibility based on our shared experience?
No, I don’t believe so. Everybody comes out differently. In different speeds and to different levels and I think that makes it unique enough that though it is a shared experience, the specifics vary from person to person.
If you could write a letter to your 13-year-old self, what would it say?
Hunny, you’re going to be a lesbian.
Do you have any advice to up and coming LGBT comedians?
Find a voice beyond your sexuality. Just being gay isn’t enough, there has to be more to your perspective to add to that.
Who is your celebrity crush?
Anything you would like to add?
Hey Nashville gay boys, come to my show. I promise I’ll make you laugh. A lezzie can make you laugh boys!
Suzanne Westenhoefer performs at Zanie’s this Wednesday March 13 at 7:30 p.m.. Get your tickets here
Interview Credit: Ian Aber