Gloria Bigelow is quickly becoming one of the most popular lesbian comedians up on the stage. Her performances at gay events and top New York comedy clubs combined with her hosting duties on everyone’s favorite lesbian talk show, Cherry Bomb, have made her an in-demand talent that ladies everywhere want to learn more about. To help in that effort, Cherry Grrl caught up with Bigelow to discuss her career, listen to her coming out story, and more.
Cherry Grrl (CG): So let’s just start at the beginning. When was it that you knew you wanted to be a comedian and how did you get started?
Gloria Bigelow (GB): Well, I have been doing comedy for three years now. It kind of came into my head when a friend of mine, probably like six years ago now, said that I should give it a try – and I had no idea how to start. She said, “Oh, just write three minutes. Just write your thoughts or ideas and stuff.” So I did and then I read it out loud to her and it was about 15 minutes worth of material and then I did nothing with it for about two years. And then I ran into Julie Goldman in New York and was telling her I was kind of thinking about it and was a little concerned because I didn’t know; should I go to black clubs or do I go to gay clubs… where do I get up? And she said, “You know, you really, really need to do this. It’s a good point of view, you should just give it a try.” And then a couple months after that, I got up for the first time. I just kind of lied my way into The Improv and got up. And that’s how it started.
CG: And what was it like being up there for the first time?
GB: Well I packed the audience with my friends because, you know, that’s what you do. But I was surprised how right it felt. And then after that I didn’t know why people were laughing… Like I knew that they were with me and they were laughing, but I didn’t know why. So then after that I went and took a comedy class to figure out why what I was doing was working. But it was incredible. As soon as you get that first hearty laugh you’re like: oh, this is an addiction. Clearly.
CG: You are what some would consider a triple minority: being a gay, black, woman. Do you feel that your path in comedy and entertainment has been made more difficult because of that?
GB: I think that if it is, I don’t know it quite yet because I’ve only been in the game three years. I think it’s proved interesting when I get to the clubs because a lot of times I don’t do only gay shows, I do mainstream shows – just rooms with straight people in them. And so I find it really interesting the dynamics of the club, where it’s okay to insult folks for being black, it’s okay to call people fags, and it’s always okay to insult women and call your wife a bitch. You know what I mean? So that’s always interesting to not know which part of my identity is going to be attacked on any day I go into a club. But as far as how that plays out with me getting work, the LGBT community has been really supportive of me and the other comics have been really supportive too, so that’s how a lot of work happens – like comics passing your name along or they vouch for you. So I’ve been really lucky in that way.