Comedian Judy Gold usually works her stand-up schtick on a nightclub stage, or by dropping sarcastic comments on shows such as I Love the 90’s on VH1. Departing from her normal routine, Gold is currently in production with her one-woman show 25 Questions for the Jewish Mother through February 24 at Theatre J on 16th Street, NW.
Judy recently took some time to discuss her play and adventures in forensic gynecology while offering a critique of our interview skills.
Although your background includes guest roles on television (Well forgive you for Arli$$) as well as two Emmy’s for your writing, 25 Questions is a pivot from your best-known work as a comedian. What challenges do you find writing/performing a theater piece that you don’t find in stand-up?
Theatre is so much different than stand-up. Besides having to adhere to a script and not be able to go off on tangents, the audience is actually there ready to listen. You start with their attention and have to keep it rather than having to win their attention from the get-go. There are no checks being paid, blenders going of, besides the occasional candy wrapper and cell phone, the entire atomosphere is completely different. I love that the show is also funny and poignant – and that silence is welcome.
You really can’t get more Jew-ey than a Jewish comic performing a show about Jewish life at a Jewish theater. How do gentile audience members typically relate to your theme and performance?
Well, I am the Jewiest, BUT, the story is universal. People who are not Jewish who come to the show get just as much out of it as the Jews. The show is really about parent and child.
In previous promotion for 25 Questions for the Jewish Mother you have been asked to relate your own experience as a Jewish mother of two boys (ages 6 and 11) and you’ve spoken glowingly of the joys of motherhood. But, are you prepared for teenagers?
No fucking way. Are you crazy? The 11 year old is driving me nuts already!
Many of our readers will recognize you for your sarcastic commentary on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn and VH1’s I Love the 80’s. Ten years from now, if you’re pegged to appear on I Love the 00’s what are some items from this past year you are already eager to comment on?
Well, of course, the Barack/Hillary match -up, the fiasco of the Bush years, stupid reality shows, the psychotic weather, and my favorite – Britney!
As a Jew who can be seen on VH1, you’re expertly positioned to provide commentary on Jewish rock. Any particular observations?
We are a very talented group of people, but PAULA ABDUL?!
As your kids grow, do you think they will be able to appreciate their cool, comic mom on tv?
I certainly hope so becuse they think I am so uncool and not funny right now.
You’re established yourself as a popular mainstream comic while incorporating your sexual orientation into your stand-up act. Yet, you haven’t been pigeoned-holed as a “lesbian comic.” Was that because of a conscience decision on your part?
Well, I always wanted to be a comic who happens to be gay rather than a gay comic. Being gay is only part of who I am – not all of it, so naturally it is a part of my act – not all of it. There is also lots of material in being a gay parent, and having two very straight sons.
Like most New Yorkers, you’ve guest starred on Law & Order. You were credited one time as a “forensic gynecologist.” That seems like the best lesbian pick-up line ever. Did you ever try it out?
No, but when my agent called to tell me that I got that part, she said, “How appropriate is that?” Like, I should play the gyno because I’m a lesbian and know all about vaginas!
You have repeatedly guest starred on Hollywood Squares, which is usually reserved for such luminaries as Alf. Please tell us that there are some good, bitchy, behind-the-scenes stories from HS.
That was one of the funnest shows ever!! The food is awesome. They have wine and beer at lunch – catered by Spago. The most fun I ever had was sitting next to John Ritter and making fun of Charo.
You’ve appeared with Howard Stern. As a Jewish lesbian, that must have interested both his listeners and his mother. Have you talked with Stern about his experience growing up with a Jewish mother?
I have not, but he happens to be one of the nicest guys in the business.
You have given summer performances in Provincetown, MA in recent years, which is a large summer get-a-way for DC gays. Do you have any plans to return to the tip of Cape Cod this season?
Always! I own a home there and I will be performing there in August at the Art House.
It has been reported that you plan to adapt 25 Questions into a book. Tell us about that.
Well, you are really on top of things. The book came out in May and was nominated for the Quill Award. HELLO?!
Maybe you should update your Wikipedia article then – not that I do my research on Wikipedia, but um, yeah…maybe you should update that. As I awkwardly try to change the subject, do you plan to expand your show into other markets?
Yes. We are currently on tour and will be going to New York, Arizona, Massachusetts, San Fran, LA, Cleveland – just to name a few. We just finished Florida and Boston.
25 Questions for the Jewish Mother
Running through February 24
Theater J – Washington DC Jewish Community Center
Tickets: $15 – $35
For more information and tickets, visit: www.washingtondcjcc.org