Judy Gold is a G-d damn smart, funny, and unapologetic woman, thank you very much–a loud and proud NYC Jew with two kids and two Emmys and no patience for your crap. She also just happens to be gayer than Ellen’s underwear drawer. Ask anyone. Famously so.
I called her at 12PM EST, her time. It was 9AM here in Seattle. We were scheduled to discuss her new stand-up show coming to Stroum Jewish Community Center on Mercer Island this weekend.
“Can you call me back in half an hour,” she asked. “I am just making breakfast!”
Judy talks exactly like a smart and strong American should talk–a woman with equal parts “Fuck you!” and Flatbush pumping through her veins. It’s the kind of brook-no-bullshit voice of reason that makes you feel like you can stand up and tell the world the truth to its face–and then order a nice whitefish schmear to go.
This voice is a voice that is the sound of music to musical-theater fags and stand-up refugees like me, who have every word of Funny Girl and Funny Lady and The Producers along with the most depressing songs from the entire Beaches soundtrack rushing through their heads on an eternal loop. It’s a voice I recognize, respond to, and trust. A voice that inspired me to ask the absolute lamest question of my entire life:
“So! Judy! Why are Jews so FUNNY?”
G-d, forgive me.
“I have many theories,” Judy explains kindly, indulging my clear and present gaff.
I can hear her still chewing the morning’s toast and eggs and farm-fresh berry scone or whatever: finishing up the breakfast she postponed our interview for. “I made Sun Basket”, she confesses. “Sun Basket is kind of like Blue Apron, but they don’t lie about the prep times.” Sun Basket also offers breakfast (not just silly old dinner, like silly Blue Apron!), delivers nationally (coast-to-coast!), is organic (GMOs just won’t cut it in this crowd, sister!), and even has paleo and gluten-free options (all the cool kids are doing it…). But most importantly, “I think you get like 20% off or something if you mention my podcast…” This is not a commercial announcement.
“When everyone hates your fucking guts, and they want you out of their country,” Judy finally explains, “you learn to roll with the punches. Comedy is a defense mechanism. My mother used to say, ‘If you aren’t laughing you’d be crying.’”
Judy is a Triple Threat–Proud Woman, Proud Gay, and Proud Jew (Phyllis Schlafly, shudder in your cold, cold grave). “I’d be on the road in the 80s and the 90s sharing these stupid condos with the comics and, after the show, all the guy comics? They could be wearing sweatpants and be NOT BATHED and they’d have girls all over them–and I’d be over here like: ‘Hello? Can someone drive me home, please?’”
I bring up her Emmys, because I have an unhealthy obsession with such things. “Oh yes, I am looking at them right now,” she says, killing me. “I had them in the hallway, but my therapist told me to display them, so now they are in the living room.“ Judy won those two Emmys fair-and-square, writing for Rosie O’Donnell’s talk show. “One of them is broken,” Judy confides, killing me again. “One of my kids…” Say no more. G-d damn kids!
Back in the early 2000s, when she achieved Emmy-winner status, there was an infamous internet feud between two terrible media juggernauts: current “presidential” candidate and fecal avalanche Donald Trump and former Betty Rubble, Rosie O’Donnell. It was a long time ago. Still, i asked her, “Is any of that garbage he said about her is true?”
“Oh God, no. No, no no no”, Judy lies a little bit. “Absolutely not.” I hear dry-heaves in her voice at the mention of that vile villain’s name (Donald, not Rosie, mostly). This is appropriate.
“I mean, do you want your president picking on Rosie O’Donnell? Is that what he does with his time? He’s disgusting.”
She has a point.
Since Judy wears a lot of hats–comedian, actress, producer, writer, yada, yada, yada–it’s always good to get some solid clarification on what exactly we can expect from her show.
“I will be doing the hilarious, subversive, and edgy comedy of Judy Gold!”
And who could ask for anything more?