With recent appearances on TBS, HBO and her successful comedy special on Logo, OUT Comedian and LGBTQ Activist Dana Goldberg is at the top of her game. She was just announced as a finalist in The Advocate’s National Comedy Search and was voted one of the “Top Five Funniest Comics in America” by Curve Magazine. The LA Times praised her as “one of the greatest comics – sharp, funny and knows how to bob and weave with the audience” and on Friday, November 22nd Dana Goldberg is bringing said greatness to Portland’s Funhouse Lounge.
Tickets for Dana’s new one-woman show “Crossing The Line” (with local actress / fellow funny lady Belinda Carroll opening) are available HERE.
Watch a clip from Dana Goldberg’s Comedy Special, then read my interview with her below:
Logan Lynn: Dana! Thanks for chatting with me today. You were named one of Curve Magazine’s “Top 5 Funniest Lesbians in America”. How does that crown feel?
Dana Goldberg: That title came within the last few years and I’m really honored to have it. It was voted on by the readers of the magazine so I think that’s why the accolade is so welcomed. There are a lot of incredibly talented lesbian comedians in our country, so to be included in that list was an honor all on its own. It’s nice to know people are enjoying my work. Without the fans, I don’t have an audience – and that makes my job a whole lot harder.
Lynn: Have you always been an OUT Comedian?
Goldberg: I have been. I don’t think it was a conscious decision, I just wrote the comedy that came naturally to me, and a lot of it had to do with my family and my life. Organically I just ended up getting booked in a lot of LGBT shows and then started getting write-ups in magazines geared toward the community early on in my career. People ask me sometimes if I think it’s hurt my career, and to be honest, I have nothing to compare it to. The LGBT community has been so incredibly supportive.
Lynn: What’s the difference between a lesbian comedian and a comedian?
Goldberg: Three martinis. (smiles)
Lynn: (laughs) Can you tell me about this tour you’re currently on? What can we expect from the show on the 22nd?
Goldberg: You can expect me to push the boundaries even more. One of the biggest compliments I get after a show besides how funny someone thinks I am, is how much people enjoy my brain. It’s easier to ‘cross the line’ when material is based in intelligence instead of crass dirty humor – but, my intelligence allows me to weave in the crass dirty humor. I get to push the limits on stage after I get them on my side. It’s a fine line, and if it’s crossed too early you can lose an audience quickly.
Lynn: Have you played Portland before?
Goldberg: I have! I love the Portland crowd. I’ve performed there three or four times over the course of the last few years. It’s a great city to spend a few days in before or after my show.
Lynn: You have quite the activist in you as well. How did you get involved with HRC?
Goldberg: Originally the San Francisco (HRC) dinner had a live auctioneer fall out at one of their Galas years ago. A good friend asked if I thought I could do it, and I agreed. I’ll be honest, I don’t know where it comes from but I’m a damn good auctioneer! Who knew?! (smiles) When I finished the auction along with some comedy, the President of the HRC at the time told me it was one of the best live auctions he’d ever seen and he wanted me to be in Washington, DC for the national dinner that year. That was a little mind-blowing as I went on after the soon to be elected President spoke and before Lady Gaga performed. It’s one of those moments you look around and have someone pinch you just to make sure it’s real. I’ve been with the organization since 2008 and am proud to say I’ve helped to raise over a million dollars in the fight for equality. The volunteers and HRC communities around the country have become a second family to me. I was recently in Washington DC when Jennifer Lopez was honored and I’ll tell you what…she is absolutely stunning in person and it’s true what they say. She has the best ass in the business.
Lynn: She’s still Jenny from the block, I hear. Speaking of equality, how important are LGBTQ community centers and safe spaces these days?
Goldberg: I think LGBTQ centers are incredibly important! I was recently in Mill Valley, CA hosting the Spectrum Center Gala and had the honor of listening to an incredibly articulate 17 year old girl speak about the benefits of such a safe space. I wish more of these existed when I was growing up trying to find my voice and my footing around my sexual orientation. Listening to her, the self awareness she possessed at such a young age, is truly a testament to these centers and the incredible work they do for the youth in our country.
Lynn: Yes! I’m happy to hear you value what we hold so dear to our hearts here in Portland. Switching gears just a bit, who are some of your favorite comedians? Anybody you are dying to work with?
Goldberg: Oh my gosh, there are so many. I have to pleasure of working with a lot of them: Erin Foley, Jessica Kirson, Dana Eagle, Ian Harvie, Jason Dudey. There is so much talent in the community, and I learn from watching them. Each of us has our own voice in this comedy world. I would love to work with Wanda Sykes. I mean, who wouldn’t – but opening for her would be incredible.
Lynn: Any tour stories you care to share?
Goldberg: I’ve been pretty fortunate to have good experiences on the road. People ask me if I have any stalkers. I like to say I have a couple of overzealous fans. (smiles) I’ve been pretty lucky over the years, but years ago one of my “fans” was kicked out of a club a couple of days before I was supposed to perform there. Long and short, “someone” poured gasoline on the front door of the club the day after that incident and lit it up. Thankfully the moment the fire went under the door, the sprinkler system came on and put it out, but It could have been horrible. The owner of the club says to me “we haven’t been able to catch her yet, but we’re going to let her come in the show and get comfortable in the front row and then we’ll have her arrested before the show starts.” I was like “are you kidding me?! How about you meet her at the door before she comes in and arrest her then?” We’re going to let her in and get comfortable??? Why don’t you just let her open for me for Pete’s sake?!
Lynn: Oh my god. That sounds…fantastic? (laughs) Aside from the current tour, what’s on the horizon for you? Any upcoming projects we should be aware of?
Goldberg: I have been working with two incredible comedians named Ian Harvie and Jason Dudey. We have a tour called Come Out Laughing. It’s been a really fun experience with these guys. Ian is Trans and Jason is gay, so between the three of us, we cover a tremendous amount of material in the LGBT community. We’ll be back up to Portland January so hopefully people will come out and see that show as well. I’m working on writing my first book and will be recording a CD in the coming months so keep an eye and ear out for those.
Lynn: Oh, fun! I love Ian. What is the funniest thing about the world right now?
Goldberg: The GOP.
Lynn: …and least funny?
Goldberg: The GOP. (laughs) I get so much material from the crazies running for political office, but the scary thing is, these people are real and in some situations they have power to reach the masses with the crap that comes out of their mouth. I really hope Palin runs again in 2016. I could use another 15 minutes of material.
Lynn: How is homophobia in comedy these days? Alive and well? Changing?
Goldberg: I think “homophobia” is the wrong word for it these days. I don’t think comedians that use gay slurs in their material are actually afraid of gay people. I love the tweet by Morgan Freedman, “I hate the word homophobia. It’s not a phobia. You are not scared. You are an asshole,” I think it’s unfortunate that some comedians think they have to tell degrading jokes about the gay and lesbian community to get laughs. I could be wrong about this, but I feel like it’s more the straight male comics who still tell degrading jokes about gay men. I don’t know if they think it makes them look straighter? Makes it clear that they don’t date men? To me it just makes you sound like a dick. I do believe as more and more well known and respected comedians continue to come out of the closet, it starts to level the playing field. People already think they are hilarious. Most of the country won’t stop going to see them just because they are gay. I actually think more and more people are starting to go see gay comedians because let’s just be honest, we’re fucking funny.
Lynn: Let’s say you have the ear of every LGBTQ person in the world right now. What would you tell them?
Goldberg: Continue to come out, make your voices heard but speak with love and support. Don’t fight hate with hate. History is being made and times are changes. I never thought full marriage equality would happen in my life time, and now there is no doubt in my mind that it will. Times are changing and I’m proud to be on the loving side of history.
To enter to win a pair of FREE TICKETS to the show, leave a comment on this post. We will draw the winners on Monday, November 18th.
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