Suzanne Westenhoefer is a groundbreaker. She is the first open lesbian to be on Comedy Central, Evening at the Improv., Caroline’s Comedy Hour, to have her own HBO special and to be on David Letterman.
She is really funny; probably the funniest I’ve ever seen. But somehow, our interview turned to some pretty deep, heavy topics.
I called up Suzanne Westenhoefer the day after her 42nd birthday. We talked about gay bashing, abortion, the war and David Letterman.
KB: Let’s talk about Letterman. Tell me all about it.
SW: It was amazing… It was more work to do that five-minute stint than it is to do four months of shows.
KB: How so?
SW: I do a 90-minute show. And I’ve probably done seven different ones over the course of about 10 years. I had to go through all that material and try to find sort of a mainstreamy lesbian… I was allowed to be out. I wasn’t going to be on if I wasn’t allowed to be out.
KB: I was wondering, out of all your material, how you picked what you did.
SW: The hardest part was, how are we going to start? We went round and round. Because you can’t come out and say, “I’m a lesbian. My dog…” So it was really tricky. Finally, the guy who hires the comics, he and I just came upon it. If you’ve ever seen me, you know that a whole lot of what I do is about Annie and I. So why not just go out as if I were a girl in a 10 and a half year relationship, which I am, and talk like I would at any show? We had a lot of stuff like, is she going to say dyke. But in the end, the Letterman people let me do it and I’m just really excited because, no matter what, we’re not going to go back now. That’s one little door broken down and that’s all that matters.
KB: You were the first out lesbian on Letterman.
SW: They never had a gay guy either…
KB: So, were you disappointed that Dave wasn’t there? (Dave was out with shingles.)
SW: Interestingly enough, my girlfriend and I were talking afterward and for me it was better because I never had to focus on him. I didn’t have to worry, “What was Dave thinking?” Because he’s notorious for being stand-offish. So maybe for us it worked.
KB: I’ve heard you say before that your dream job would be to have Letterman’s job. So he wasn’t there, how tempting was it to…
SW: I did it! I sat in the chair… I sat in the chair and was like, “Meryl Streep, so, your latest movie…” I would bring Martina on all week. I would also have Candice Bergen on…