Listening to an episode of Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast today, I was surprised when something philosophical came out of the mouth of a man who was once called “America’s Creepy Uncle”: “Remember when actors like Paul Lynde and Charles Nelson Reilly were just considered ‘eccentric’ and no one made any fuss about them being gay? Paul Lynde had a wife and kids on his show!” (Try reading that in Mr. Gottfried’s orangutan-masturbating-with-sandpaper vocalization and the profundity will quadruple, I promise you.)
(And, for those of you of the unenlightened variety, here are two clips to introduce you to these paragons of TV parsimoniousness, Mr. Lynde and Mr. Reilly:
All levity aside, that statement stuck in my mind for quite some time, until I decided to vomit my thoughts down on my glorified notepad here. It wasn’t that long ago when being gay on television was used as comedic relief, where even the mere mention of the word in even a semi-serious way was as forbidden as seeing a nipple flop out of a bathing suit on Baywatch.
We often, in this time of rampant protesting and forward-thinking idealism, forget just how far we’ve come since the advent of the boob tube. What once was only the stock-in-trade of a “nance” comic, now is a subject that can be treated as seriously as a heterosexual relationship. For those not in the know, a “nance” comic was someone like Jack Benny or, to use a modern example, Mario Cantone in Sex and The City, whose main reason to be involved in the plot is to be as fruity as possible for comedic effect only.
Who would have thought that we could have two gay characters in love on television kiss… not just Roseanne Barr and Mariel Hemingway???
In the days of Paul Lynde and Charles Nelson Reilly, these very talented actors could never be who they truly were. They were never taken seriously, as they desperately wanted to be, because they were gay and, unless they were blind, every casting agent was well aware of the fact. They could never do Shakespeare, as they always wanted, because they were shoved into the little closet that television writers wanted them in. Ian McKellan, because he decided to be a serious actor from the get-go, was able to play the great heroes of Shakespeare, while being openly gay.
Happily, though we still have a long way to go in regards to equal rights for the LGBTQ community, we’ve started the process of portraying relationships other than “one man, one woman, for life” in a serious, multi-faceted way in many forms of media.
Who are we, as a culture, if we don’t explore every facet of love? Why do we love if everyone isn’t allowed to?
Fuck me, I’m starting to sound like Oprah… somebody get me a gallon of mac-and-cheese and Stedman… asap!
All rotund black women aside, I do believe that we now live in a time where it’s healthy to be gay, on TV or not! I lament the fact that Misters Lynde and Reilly aren’t alive today to see how far the cause for their sexuality has come, and the bright future that we have to look forward to.
I thank my lucky stars that I live in a time where anyone can explore their true self and not fear reprisal from the unenlightened masses.
Though I’m not on TV (yet), I have already experienced how thrilling it is to explore life as you see it, not as someone conditions you to. Life is a rich tapestry encapsulating people of every size, color, and sexuality and, you know what, I wouldn’t have it any other way! Isn’t it thrilling to step outside of the little box you know and truly get your feet wet in the ocean of life?
I will be snarky, vicious, yet genuine and intelligent, and kneel at the feet of the masters. If we don’t learn from the past, we are (most certainly and irrevocably) doomed to repeat it. And, since the election of our Toddler-in-Chief, it is all the more important to be who you are and fuck anyone who says “don’t”! Remember: they’re living their lives and you’re living yours.
So, carrying on the tradition of these two great men, I will wave the rainbow flag high and continue to celebrate life in all its many glorious intricacies.
Or, in the words of Mr. Paul “The Center Square” Lynde:
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And, the newest episode of my podcast, The Objectivist and The Vegan, has been uploaded to SoundCloud!
In this episode, Jack (The Vegan) and Steven (The Objectivist) discuss leaked pictures of celebrities in the buff, sex criminals and mental illness, and the mind of the sexual deviant! Also: Steven body-shames Jennifer Lawrence, Jack does ASMR, and Steven finds a d**k pic in a used book! You can buy tickets for Steven’s performance in Listen To Your Mother Chicago 2017 here!
Click the orange button below to hear the two of us jabberjaw!