"Laughing Matters" Press Release
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LOS ANGELES LKPR SEATTLE
Award-Winning ‘Laughing Matters’
Docu-comedy Showcases Heart, Humor of Veteran Lesbian Comedians
For Immediate Release:
March, 2004—No, Ellen DeGeneres was not the first openly lesbian comedian! For an average of 20 years Kate Clinton, Karen Williams, Marga Gomez and Suzanne Westenhoefer have given voice to gay and lesbian issues while reaching national audiences on HBO, Showtime, Comedy Central, CNN and the Late Show With David Letterman.
Their stories—and their biting humor—are captured in the award-winning docu-comedy “Laughing Matters,” which premiered last year to a sold-out audience in San Francisco. The film won the audience award for Outstanding Documentary Feature at Outfest 2003 in Los Angeles and Best Documentary at ImageOut in Rochester, NY.
As their careers coincided with a volatile period in gay and lesbian history, the veteran comedians gave voice to issues ranging from gay and human rights to the AIDS epidemic to racial equality—all while hitting the audiences where it counts—on the funny bone. In the film they use their wild and witty words to describe what it was like to be out from the beginning—long before gay characters landed on prime-time TV. They reveal how their families reacted and what happened to their careers when Ellen DeGeneres, perhaps the most mainstream lesbian comedian, came out on national TV.
“I don’t think anyone should take it lightly how important it is to our community that these women were openly gay in their careers,” says “Laughing Matters” producer-director Andrea Meyerson. “I have met so many people in the entertainment industry that won't come out for fear of it hurting their careers. These women didn’t wait until they were established, they were courageous and took the far greater challenge to build careers without hiding who they are.”
The interviews in the film were conducted by Los Angeles Times reporter Laurie K. Schenden. Emmy-winner Nancy Rosenblum edited the film.