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Loni Love On Chris Christie In Drag, And Why There Are So Many Great Lesbian Comedians
Queerty asked San Francisco barman-turned-comic Yuri Kagan, author of Vodka & Limelight, to chat with Loni Love a few weeks after his conversation with another great female comedian, Margaret Cho.
Some time ago, I had the pleasure of opening for Loni Love, the comedian, actress and cohost of the talk show The Real. I must have done OK because she asked me if I would like to come back the next day and open for her again.
Elated and flat out drunk after the show, I replied, “Shut the F up. Really? Like for real?” So needless to say, when Queerty asked me to interview Love, concluding her Being Loni tour, it was another chance to talk to her.
Queerty: What is Being Loni?
Loni Love: It’s a one-hour special that follows different projects I’ve been doing. I hope people that people take away from it being inspired to go for their goals and aim for their dreams. Also to give my “love bugs,” my fans, a little bit more of me.
What makes The Real different? Of you, Jeannie Mai, Tamera Mowry, Tamar Braxton andAdrienne Bailon, who is the biggest diva?
The Real is different because you never know what we are going to do for the day. You are dealing with five girls, five different lives. We come together to try to entertain, inspire and try to give back to our audience. So far it’s working. The biggest diva would be Tamar. That’s because she was born into diva-ism because her whole family is like that. She’s just accustomed to it.
As a comic being on a live show do you censor yourself? Have you ever had to issue an apology?
So far I have as a comic not had to make an apology. As you know comedy is changing. You know, I think it’s just a sign of the times. People are very sensitive. I think you have to be a little more aware of things. So it’s not necessarily just censoring one’s self. Just being more aware of things that maybe in the past people could have gotten away with but on the air-waves they can’t necessarily do that.
Do you think that political-correctness has helped or hindered comedy?
Comedy is comedy. I think that you know it depends on where the comedy is being said and done. I mean, the audience. There are certain things that if you were performing in front of children you not gonna say like at a bar. You have got to understand if you are on television and you know there is a certain demo and a certain thing you wont say you just won’t say it. Everyone is intimidated and everybody is being PC. There is a difference between you know, just being me or being funny. It’s a difference. So what is happening is that comedians have to dig deep within themselves, not just look at the surface of the joke and not do the routine joke. Comics who do this will be successful.
Vanilla, chocolate or swirl?
Who’s your celebrity crush and who would you like to re-do their style?
Idris Elba. Re-do their style would be Flava Flav.
Are you single and do you use any dating apps?
Um, I am a satisfied single. If you watch the show, I explain that on “the Real.” I don’t use dating apps. The last maybe I was on ChristianMingle.com.
Do you go out to gay bars with your friends?
Oh, yeah the Abbey… In L.A. you know you have so much fun at the Abbey. But the only thing is they always buy me drinks so I have to leave at a certain time cause I be tore up.
Years ago you let me open for you. At the time in your act you talked about Herman Cain who was comedy gold. Who is your favorite GOP candidate right now and who would you like to makeover or see in drag?
I would love to make over Chris Christie. I think he would make a great woman in drag. I think he would kind of favor me in drag so that’s why I would love to do that!
You’re hosting a new game show produced by Ellen. What is it about and when does it debut?
It’s based on her app called Heads-Up, which has been downloaded more than 60,000,000 times. We play the game with celebrities and contestants and they win money and it’s just fun time. It’s more like the game is the center-piece but we’re actually talking and having fun while doing the game. It will premier on HLN in January.
If you could give advice to plus-sized performers what would you say?
Basically be yourself and make sure you wear the right size clothes with flat shoes. It’s easier if you’re doing standup.
Margaret Cho agreed to officiate the wedding of my boyfriend and myself. Also do you have any words of advice for gay newlyweds and divorces?
I don’t have any advice for any of the gays just like I don’t have advice for the straights. I always say better you than me.
You grew up in the projects of Detroit. What advice would you have for someone growing up under the same circumstances?
Try to be an in legal activity — not illegal. Try to get into different groups sessions and do different things to take you to see another side of the current living environment/situation you are in. That helped me. I did Girl Scouts. Even though we were poor the Girl Scouts helped me to see a different side of life.
You were an engineer, do you miss it?
I miss being able to take naps in my office.
You seem to work all of the time. You never stop. Do you take vacations ever?
I take what’s called a mini-vacation. I’ll take 1 or 2 days because of the nature of the business I can’t be away long. I’m learning to take a day or a couple of hours to myself. I am learning to enjoy myself while I am still at work, which is something I didn’t do in the past. I am still having a good time but still working.
What do you think about comedy being a “boy’s club”? Do you have advice for women trying to break?
The only reason comedy is such a boy’s club is because in order to be a successful comic you usually have to travel the road. The road is hard for most females who have relationships and want families and want to get married. It’s really hard for them. My advice to women: I always say a lot of women who are successful are lesbians. You know your top comedians, like Wanda Sykes, they are lesbians and that’s because they were allowed to have a certain lifestyle that allows them to be on the road. I tell women trying to get into comedy you have to decide what you like about comedy. You have to plan more than males do. If you want children you have to plan how you gonna have the children and still be able to do the road. It’s all about balance.
Do you think the same is true for gay performers?
Yes. If you are dealing with a relationship and on the road I think it’s even harder for gay performers. It’s even harder to maintain a relationship. There are certain areas that aren’t accepting of gays. Dealing with that, trying to have a relationship or not being able to afford to bring the other person with you to maintain a relationship, my heart goes out to gay performers cause it’s a lot.
Have you ever swam in the lady pond?
No, I have always been with men. I think people feel that because I don’t talk about my love life much that I must be a lesbian but you know, people can think what they want to think.
Do you think it’s harder for women of color to come out?
No. I don’t think so. I have a lot of friends who are lesbians. They tell it’s not about color anymore. It’s more about certain parts of society accepting everybody. My lesbian girl friends don’t say it’s harder because of color. It’s just hard in general.
What’s your guilty pleasure? You know, when you’re in the sweats?
I really like to swim late at night. Yeah. I just took it up six-months ago. I don’t know why I never done it before. Maybe because I was wearing weaves. I stopped wearing them. I feel different. There is something about the water. You don’t have electronics, computer or TV. It just gives me a whole different feeling. Now where ever I go on the road, I swim.
Is there a moment or has it not happened where you feel “I’ve made it”?
I never feel like that. I am just enjoying the journey. I mean just doing a movie with Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis. You can say I’ve made it. I just look at it like I’m just really working and having fun doing it. I thought I made it when I graduated.
What’s your biggest fear and do you get nervous?
Before I go on stage I don’t get nervous. I am over that. I tell new performers to get over that, emcee as much as you can if you are starting out. That will help you get over stage fright. My biggest fear really is that maybe I just want to be around for my family. That’s why I try to work and prepare. I don’t want something to happen and not be able to be there for them. I live on the west coast, they are on the east coast. I always make sure I am able to get there. My mom is 75-years old. I want to be able to get there.
What advice do you have for 18-year old you?
Don’t take that credit card.