Wild, Not Weak: Q+A With Suzanne Westenhoefer

 

We chatted with one of the first openly gay stand-up comics on the scene, Suzanne Westenhoefer, known for her inappropriate and unscripted style, about her struggles with social media, political apathy, personal heartbreak, spiral perm haircuts, and how it’s all hilarious.

CherryGRRL: Twenty years of comedy! Do social media outlets like Twitter and YouTube make it easier for comics coming up now, or does it just mean there’s more access to more crap?

Suzanne Westenhoefer (SW): I think you get more access to more crap. I think it’s made it easier in some ways. But I actually think it’s not so good sometimes because I put my schedule out on Twitter, and I put it out on Facebook, and I re-do it and re-do it and re-do it, and then within days of my being in whatever city I’m in, my Facebook blows up and people say “Oh I saw you were just in Indianapolis,” or whatever, and I’m like “I posted it every day for four months, why did you get this now?” Because I think people don’t check it everyday. There’s a handful of people that check it everyday, there’s that percentage of people, but there’s other people that are kind of off-and-on, so there’s an inconsistency where I post it and I post it and people are all excited because they saw it and then you go to the city, you do the show, you come home, and your Facebook blows up because people say “You were here! You were here! Why didn’t we know?” I don’t know what to tell you because I posted it on Facebook every hour! So, because of its inconsistency –and that will change, don’t you think? I think five years from now or ten years from now, checking Facebook will be like turning on the news before you leave for work—it’s not always helpful.

CG: I see you also use Twitter as a space to try out jokes.

SW: Those are actually not jokes! That’s just what I think! (Laughs) Oh my god, that’s really horrible. My brain is ridiculous. I have a comic’s brain, it just thinks of these things, and so when I’m thinking of these things, the best part about Twitter and Facebook is five years ago I would have to call my sister or turn to my partner or annoy some friend with my ridiculous thought—but it’s not a joke. They’re not jokes. They’re not things I’ll probably necessarily ever say on stage. They’re just things that climb into my brain, like brainworms, and I have to get them out.

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