Heard the One About…?

GENRE
November 1992

Parting Glances
Heard the One About…?

Heading Straight for the Funny Farm

GenreBetween June 7th and October 4th, 1995, 27-year old aspiring comedian Benny Goldschmidt received major yawns and was booed off the stage of virtually every major comedy club on the East Coast after telling jokes involving a heterosexual spouse. In frustration, he crashed the Comic Triangle awards banquet for top comedy entertainers of the year and attempted a string of Henny Youngman style one-liners. “Take my wife, please!” he shouted again and again as he was dragged offstage by New York City’s finest. No one laughed.

GENRE staffer Dan Perlman visited Mr. Goldschmidt for this exclusive interview in Bellevue Hospital’s lock-up ward where he is under observation while awaiting trial. Mr. Goldschmidt was under fairly heavy sedation, but even in this condition, his speech was punctuated with outburts of pathetic jokes.

GENRE: Mr. Goldschmidt…

Benny Goldschmidt: Benny, please.

GENRE: Okay, Benny. Let me ask the obvious question. Why would any aspiring comedian in the ’90s use such stale material?

BG: You mean the straight stuff, right? What’s the difference between a blond cocktail waitress and…

GENRE: Well, yes. Heterosexual comedy is just passé, don’t you think?

BG: Hey, I’m on the edge, you know, very Lenny Bruce. Talking about the people who just don’t get talked about anymore. My mother-in-law is so-o-o ugly…

GENRE: Lenny Bruce was talking about oppressed minorities.

BG: That’s just my point. Straights are the oppressed now, you guys get all the good gigs. My girlfriends gives such good…

GENRE: You can’t be serious.

BG: Of course I am. I called Arsenio, I called Sally Jesse, I called Oprah, I called Phil. I told them I do straight material and they hung up. I called Geraldo and offered to do gay material, you know, what did one fag say to the other fag…I even called Regis Philbin…

GENRE: You called Regis Philbin?

BG: Yeah, he sympathized, but said he didn’t think he could use me before 1997, and no stuff about women. My act is women. I love women. As a matter of fact, let me tell you about the time I loved two…

GENRE: Excuse me, but don’t you think comedy changes? People don’t want to hear heterosexual stuff anymore. The jokes are just plain old, like cooties jokes we used to tell in grade school. We outgrew them.

BG: Let me tell you, there’s always a place for the classics. Ministers, rabbis, priests, lawyers, wives, mothers-in-law. Did ya’ hear the one about the farmer’s daughter?

GENRE: You’ve certainly got a handle on bad jokes – everything from borscht belt to raunch…

BG: Bad? Bad? Somebody’s got to preserve these jokes. I think of myself as sort of a Jackie Mason, Bob Hope, Andrew Dice Clay and Sam Kinison all in one. Hey, do you know what the face of a married man looks…

GENRE: You think of yourself as Bob Hope?

BG: I got to. It gives me my edge. Besides, I want to do military shows, you know, USO kind of stuff. So this WAC comes up to me…

GENRE: You want to try that out in front of the lesbian militia?

BG: Like I got a shot. They got this trio of queers doin’ the shows. And some drag queen from L.A. looks like Whoopi. You know, that’s not her real name. So my friend asks me, is it true about black women…

GENRE: I’ve got to ask. Why crash the Comic Triangle awards? It’s for gay comedians.

BG: I had to make my point. I mean, I can tell a joke about blowin’ the chauffeur and sittin’ on barstools upside down as well as anyone…

GENRE: Wait a minute! That’s the kind of joke you’d tell about us. Not what we’d tell about ourselves!

BG: Yeah? Whatever. I had to show them that straight stuff is funny. You ever hear the one about my wife and the lost credit cards…

GENRE: But the stuff isn’t funny. No one laughed.

BG: Yeah, well, they didn’t give me enough time. I coulda got those pansies rollin’ in the aisles. So this burglar breaks into my house…

GENRE: Yeah, yeah, we all know that one. “Take my domestic partner. Please.”


Genre is a gay “lifestyle” and travel magazine. It was launched in 1992 by three entrepreneurs, two of whom shortly thereafter left to found QSF magazine. I went with them…

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