I caught up with Jason to talk about life as a funny guy.
What makes queer comedy different to the comedy of straight stand-up comedians?
No difference at all, as most fans say. Funny is Funny. But with that said, it seems that LGBTQ audiences like the set-up of the joke more than just the joke itself.
How do you deal with the pressure of constantly having to prove yourself to an audience?
As a comic, you need to let go of your last set and know that if you’ve been a comic as long as I have, that you’re funny. But, always remember that some audiences are different, and they enjoy the show in different ways.
Where are you currently drawing inspiration from your comedy?
My Jewish mother, Gloria, who still shops at Forever 81. She’s a big part of my act these days – she was the inspiration for the title of my new show.
She always seems to create crazy in the funniest ways. I brought her back to Los Angeles two years ago so I could take care of her – she lives 10 minutes from me. That’s 10 minutes away from the next outrageous thing she says.
I’m also drawing inspiration from my recent break up with my Italian lover. Plus, all my new film and TV roles of late - like the action film Abducted, and the thriller Immoral, as well as Keanu Reeves on Swedish Dicks last year.
Is being a queer comedian a political statement?
Yes, always. When you stand up and say - this who I am, and these are my experiences – it’s powerful. With all the divide in the country, laughter is really needed in a big way. Just remember, I’m so out I could redecorate my apartment just by looking at it! I have the power!
Can comedy help change hearts and minds?
When I read about the attack on Jussie Smollett, as a gay man of a certain age, my PTS flared up again. Remembering the days of being beat up as a teenager came back to me like a boomerang.
That old fear of having to watch my back popped up in my head once again. The idea that I’m not safe in my own neighbourhood came to the front of my mind - in 2019!
We need to laugh more than ever to unleash the fear and hate of these people who want to hurt us.
I hope and pray that Jussie Smollett has a speedy recovery, and that these people who attacked him and are full of hate are brought to justice.
What do you hope that people feel when they watch your stand-up routines?
That this middle-aged, gay, Jewish comedian and actor can bring some joy into your life and make you laugh out loud!