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I Have a Hard Time Saying It
January 17, 2012 6:44 PM   Subscribe

On the latest episode of Marc Maron's WTF, comedian Todd Glass publicly came out for the first time, and talks movingly about the fears of being typecast that kept him in the closet.
posted by Apropos of Something (59 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
That is a shocker. No sarcasm.
posted by rodmandirect at 6:52 PM on January 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I just started listening to WTF having heard the Anthony Bourdain episode and then the Steven Wright one. I haven't listened to the Todd Glass one yet, but I really like this show.
posted by phirleh at 6:52 PM on January 17, 2012


Surprised Todd didn't do this on his own podcast (which is also excellent) - but so awesome that he did it on Marc's great podcast.
posted by cnanderson at 6:53 PM on January 17, 2012


Just listened to this one last night, and it was pretty moving even if I wasn't all that familiar with Glass or his material to begin with. Even when WTF isn't dealing with weighty stuff like this, it's always like listening in on a productive, cathartic therapy session. Although Maron started WTF almost as something of an apology-of-the-week show in which he made penance for his prior jerky behavior to fellow comedians/human beings, I really think that over the past two years he's made WTF into a terrific forum for the comedy community.
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:54 PM on January 17, 2012


I'll second / third / whatever the love for the podcast. Ever since the MeFi post about the Onion writer's episodes, I've been hooked.
posted by Dark Messiah at 6:57 PM on January 17, 2012


cnanderson: "Surprised Todd didn't do this on his own podcast (which is also excellent) - but so awesome that he did it on Marc's great podcast."

I thought about this too, but in a lot of ways, I think he wanted a broader, comedy and non-comedy audience to address his message to. That's not calling him selfish or self-aggrandizing, by the way: the message he brings to the podcast is almost entirely not about him and about keeping GLBT kids safe.
posted by Apropos of Something at 7:02 PM on January 17, 2012


That is awesome.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 7:15 PM on January 17, 2012


Amazing. So amazing. And I love how glib it isn't.

I have taken to telling people in my personal life by just random insertions of things like: "Hold on, my girlfriend is texting me." Because somehow, it is amazingly hard to just stand there in front of somebody and come out and say it, even to people I just casually know.
posted by gracedissolved at 7:18 PM on January 17, 2012 [11 favorites]


Todd Glass is a strong contender for World's Most Loveable Guy. If you ever get the chance to see him perform, do it. He's got playful, manic energy that is infectious.

I hope this brings him nothing but joy.
posted by unsupervised at 7:19 PM on January 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Todd has long been one of my favorite comics. His joy is infectious. I first heard of him through Never Not Funny, and his episodes are among my favorites.
posted by The Deej at 7:33 PM on January 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love Todd Glass - he's one of my favorite comics, if not my favorite - and this is a wonderful thing. Fans of his podcast know that he's all about taking a bit to its limit, and I have to admit that for a few seconds at the beginning I almost thought he and Marc were doing a bit. Fantastic episode, and I'm very happy for him.
posted by evisceratordeath at 7:52 PM on January 17, 2012


Wow, good for him. I'm a big fan of Todd and his podcast, and I'm only now realizing that I've never really heard him say much of anything about sexuality, other than his running joke, the hilariously inappropriate "You fuck that shit?" (Trust me, it's funny in context.) I hope, in addition to making him a happier person, that this gives him a whole new area of comedy to be brilliant about.

I also wish I hadn't seen this right at bedtime, because now I can't wait to listen to it.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:57 PM on January 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wondered why so many comedians were talking about his interview on Twitter, but hadn't gotten around to listening in. I admit my surprise, but goddamn, mad respect.

What The Deej said about infectious joy is a perfect description of his style. He is just delighted to be doing what he's doing, and he carries you along.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:58 PM on January 17, 2012


Listened to it yesterday while, as usual, doing other stuff. One thing I do wonder just out of curiosity -- which he may have talked about and I missed -- is why he decided to do it now.

Regardless, good on him. Another great conversation from WTF -- Maron's getting better and better as an interviewer, I think.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:09 PM on January 17, 2012


Maron started WTF almost as something of an apology-of-the-week show in which he made penance for his prior jerky behavior to fellow comedians/human beings

I saw him perform at a benefit show last month, and he opened his set with a pretty shocking five-minute harangue regarding one of the other performers (an experimental/Krautrock-esque musician who I actually thought was pretty great), so his jerky behavior to fellow human beings appears to be alive and well. (Disclaimer: I actually this Marc Maron is brilliant, and I hung out with him once at the Magic Castle, during which he was extremely nice to me -- at least to my face -- despite my making just a teensy bit of a drunken ass of myself.)


That said: good on Todd Glass. I've always enjoyed him, and this was a great interview.
posted by scody at 8:12 PM on January 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


guh. "this" = "think"
posted by scody at 8:12 PM on January 17, 2012


"Yeah, I'm totally gay."

"Um, OK. Well that's your thing, and good luck with that."

"So what, you're all like hatin now?

"No. Frankly I don't give a shit. But could you do me a favor?"

"What!!!!?"

"Well could you like at least be a decent actor, or funny or something? At this point, I don't even know or care enough about you to give a shit one way or another. I mean, have you ever like even been in a TV show or something I might have heard of?

"Well I'm on WTF on cable."

"Yes. Yes you are."
posted by timsteil at 8:21 PM on January 17, 2012


Official Never Not Funny show notes for some of Todd's Never Not Funny appearances.

Episode 908 (latest appearance).
Episode 809
Episode 611
Episode 511

(Self-link warning, as I am the keeper of Never Not Notes.)
posted by The Deej at 8:25 PM on January 17, 2012 [10 favorites]


stavrosthewonderchicken: "One thing I do wonder just out of curiosity -- which he may have talked about and I missed -- is why he decided to do it now."

He says that the rash of gay teenagers committing suicide recently - as well as being inspired by an It Gets Better video by a 13-year-old - were the reason he wanted to make a public statement.
posted by Apropos of Something at 8:27 PM on January 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love Todd Glass, have seen him perform a few times, met him once or twice, and this comes as a total surprise to me.

But what a great way to do this.

Well done, sir.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:27 PM on January 17, 2012


There's a lot of gold in this interview. At first I was a bit frustrated with his continual focus on how kids feel, but as the interview progressed, I began to realize that everything he's saying about kids has to do with getting the next generation to grow up without all the layers of bullshit that everyone else (including him) has had throughout memorable history. And that's a hugely beneficial worldview to have.

So much of what he says strikes home with me. About how he lost the chance to have an honest childhood and will never have that chance again. About how people who make homophobic jokes but who profess not to be homophobic themselves are taking the lazy way out. About his struggle between being privately out and being publicly out. It's the true story, eloquently told, which reflects the story of SO many men around my age or in generations older, many of whom never came to the point where they proclaimed their sexuality even as publicly as being out on a casual basis, let alone on a global podcast.

I'm really glad this is 90 minutes long. I've passed over my typical television viewing for the time being tonight in order to listen to this, and as the interview progresses it becomes more and more clear that the true brilliance and depth of this lies in its length, because these are complex thoughts which require time to convey clearly.

This is excellent. Thanks so much for posting.
posted by hippybear at 8:31 PM on January 17, 2012 [11 favorites]


I am gay for Todd Glass.
posted by ColdChef at 8:33 PM on January 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


how do you make wtf podcasts run, they never seem to work for me
posted by PinkMoose at 8:37 PM on January 17, 2012


iTunes. I used it for podcasts even before I got assimilated by Apple!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:39 PM on January 17, 2012


There's a download link on the page. Grab the mp3 (it's under 25mb) and play it in your favorite media playing program.
posted by hippybear at 8:42 PM on January 17, 2012


It's an excellent interview and it's great how the length of the wtf format allows him to draw out his thoughts. He was inspired to come out publicly by his concern for lgbt youth, but I think the most poignant parts are toward the end where he expresses pain and bitterness about how his own youth was spoiled by homophobia.
posted by moxiedoll at 8:48 PM on January 17, 2012


Not familiar with Todd Glass. Links to some good bits, please?
posted by neuromodulator at 8:49 PM on January 17, 2012


as well as being inspired by an It Gets Better video by a 13-year-old - were the reason he wanted to make a public statement.

There are a lot of victories yet to be won, but I am impressed by how far the gay rights movement has come and especially impressed with how ordinary young people have had so much to do with that progress. I wish there were a way of knowing how many people have come around on this issue because a child or other family member has come out of the closet.

At risk of sounding cheesy: When young people who come out in spite of an intolerant family or an intolerant society, they take that risk because they refuse to deny an important aspect of their humanity. Confronting that risk takes courage. That courage can change the attitudes of those around them. It gives others the conviction to do the same, and it's slowly but steadily making the world a better place. It amazes me that something so simple -- but potentially very difficult -- can have such a positive effect.

Or, at risk of sounding like a nerd, I think this is an example of a good kind of feedback loop.
posted by compartment at 9:01 PM on January 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is pretty much the only podcast I listen to regularly; I love it.
posted by not_on_display at 9:31 PM on January 17, 2012


Regarding straight male friends: "are they gonna be afraid to be like hey what's up dude?" and hug/otherwise say hello.

Yes. This still gets me.

You know, actually, getting kicked out of the military was good for me in this respect, because now I have a great way to test the water in job interviews because I can say "yeah I was discharged under DADT," it helps a lot with not being default-closeted every time I change jobs.
posted by kavasa at 9:32 PM on January 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Marc failed to ask the only question I care about.

Do you fuck that shit?
posted by mullacc at 9:33 PM on January 17, 2012


I listened to about 1/3 of this episode last night on the way home from work. I consider myself a comedy nerd but don't know much about Todd Glass aside from hearing his name for ages. What struck me in that first 1/3 (and why I haven't finished the episode yet) is that Glass is almost incapable of saying "I am gay" - he says "that way", "like that", "not like that", he says it every way except actually saying it (and Marc pins him down the one time he does, which is the thing that Marc does best).

And at the same time he's also saying, "I couldn't let those kids hurt anymore" in reference to the recent publicized (and not) suicides and cries for help from gay teenagers, and I think I Got It in a way that I haven't in a long time. Glass's discomfort is a lot of people's discomfort, and I think he speaks for a lot of people who don't have much of a voice and don't feel like they have a choice in what they say to whom about what, lest they be punished in some way.

This is the best of WTF, which is an extraordinary show in the first place. I always skip past the first 9-13 minutes until the guest starts talking, because - bless him - I just can't listen to Maron's issues in detail for that long, but damn if he's not the Barbara Walters of comedy.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:44 PM on January 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Todd on infomercials seems to be the most-viewed clip of his on YouTube at the moment. And it's great. He was on Comedy and Everything Else for a long time, and I used to live his Phil Donohue impression, of all things.

I can't remember which podcast I heard it on, but there was an interview with Patton Oswalt where he talked about the first 1:30 of this clip reminds him of how awesome it is to be a comic. It gets funnier every time I watch it.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:45 PM on January 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Obviously, he's just too HOT to be stra8.
posted by Goofyy at 9:48 PM on January 17, 2012


knowing he's gay doesn't really affect weather(sp?) i'd see him perform or not. a decent 5 minute bit where he owns it would be all he would need to incorporate it into his acts, and then he can go on with the rest of his material.

it's good that he's out but ... is it really that uncommon for a 40-something guy to come out now? maybe in 20 more years that would be very uncommon.
posted by cupcake1337 at 9:59 PM on January 17, 2012


At first I was a bit frustrated with his continual focus on how kids feel, but as the interview progressed, I began to realize that everything he's saying about kids has to do with getting the next generation to grow up without all the layers of bullshit that everyone else (including him) has had

I had the same reaction at first, but about halfway through the interview Glass finally repeated the "for the kids" thing one more time with even more pain and uncertainty in his voice than before and I finally cottoned to what was actually going on: "the kids" are him. This was the only way he felt comfortable talking about all his own pain, all his past suffering: by imagining it into the heads of all these suffering kids and then trying to figure out how to protect them (himself, that is). Projection, pure and simple — not that he doesn't also have good, solid altruistic motives, but I don't think that's why he kept repeating and repeating that justification.
posted by RogerB at 10:06 PM on January 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


it's good that he's out but ... is it really that uncommon for a 40-something guy to come out now? maybe in 20 more years that would be very uncommon.
Did you listen to the fucking thing? Jesus christ.
posted by kavasa at 10:30 PM on January 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


(Self-link warning, as I am the keeper of Never Not Notes.)

Holy shit, The Deej. Good on ya.
posted by Kwine at 11:44 PM on January 17, 2012


It's kinda weird to me that some people wouldn't accept a known-gay actor in a straight role. I mean, they're actors, FFS. What, am I supposed to reject Bill Shatner because he's not *actually* a starship captain?
posted by Afroblanco at 2:08 AM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, first - good for him.

Secondly - I'd never have picked it.
posted by cerulgalactus at 2:22 AM on January 18, 2012


Until I watched the clip, I somehow read this entire thread thinking it was Todd Barry who came out.
posted by wittgenstein at 3:46 AM on January 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wittgenstein, that is who I was picturing too. Then I clicked his site.
posted by cerulgalactus at 3:57 AM on January 18, 2012


What I really liked about this is that it's not a typical memoir stance; Glass has shared where he is at what's clearly a midway point on this track for him, as far as coming to terms with reconciling his private and public selves. I like that he was willing to do it when his mind wasn't settled; when he does still have trouble saying it. I like that he was willing to do it when he still stops himself every sentence or so to make sure he's not being misunderstood and inadvertently hurting somebody. I like how halting it is; I like that he's not doing it from a standpoint of "and now let me tell you everything I've learned in my infinite wisdom," and yet it contains a TON of wisdom, because this is literally about 30 years of him realizing various things about the way human beings treat each other and not knowing how to say it without laying the groundwork of being gay.

It's just a really great, great piece to listen to.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 6:02 AM on January 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


It's kinda weird to me that some people wouldn't accept a known-gay actor in a straight role.

Neil Patrick Harris doesn't seem to be having this problem. More interesting (given your Star Trek analogy) will be to see how well Zachary Quinto remains accepted as heterosexual Spock getting it on with Uhura in the next Star Trek film now that he's come out.

I agree with you -- it's completely stupid not to accept actors in whatever role they're playing because of who they are in real life. But that does seem to be the case for a good deal of the US movie-going public.
posted by hippybear at 6:35 AM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hippybear, I'm pretty sure much of the Star Trek fandom who would care about Spock's sex life is in fact not going to be bothered by suggestions of potential other-than-heterosexuality. I think, at least in geeky circles, that "gay" is actually approaching "lesbian" in getting the general reaction "that's okay, I'm still thinking of you naked".

I guess theoretically, there's the girls who don't yet think of themselves as geeks, but I'm not sure they'll be the sorts who actually know stuff like that about Zachary Quinto. And I'm going to guess that most of the guys won't even register it. But then, I'm not sure whether the same would hold true for someone who wasn't banking on being generally attractive. I guess maybe this constitutes progress?
posted by gracedissolved at 7:51 AM on January 18, 2012


Also, was he joking at the end? Or is his lover of 15 years actually Daniel Tosh? I can't decide. 15 years ago Tosh would have been 21.

I just don't know. I want to believe.
posted by kavasa at 8:14 AM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love the depth and non-glibness of WTF. But I can't imagine a more terrifying interviewer to come out to. Maron's commitment to self-honesty-laceration can make him a hell of a prick at times.
posted by msalt at 8:28 AM on January 18, 2012


Yes, the Daniel Tosh was a joke.

I've followed Todd for several years now and really like his 'everyman' vibe, his schtick of just a common man trying to figure stuff out makes me feel damn comfortable.

I too was really surprised and assumed for the first minute that it was a bit between him and Marc.
posted by Cosine at 9:07 AM on January 18, 2012


Marc Maron (by his own admission) is probably kind of a dick in real life, but he's an extraordinarily compassionate interviewer and I've loved WTF ever since I heard the Dave Foley interview. It's no longer free online, but you can read a bit about it at the avclub.
posted by ourobouros at 9:40 AM on January 18, 2012


It's interesting to see normals like this from back in the day come out. They're still able to be typecast as "regular guys", seeming to bear no visible scars of the whole alienating process. Somehow, their journey through the wilderness has left them unhurt. And that is a miracle.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 9:53 AM on January 18, 2012


seeming to bear no visible scars of the whole alienating process.

I'm not sure I know what you're trying to say here, but if you think Todd doesn't bear any scars, you didn't listen to the interview.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 10:14 AM on January 18, 2012


Just listened to it yesterday - I was *really* bummed when he left Comedy and Everything Else and haven't gotten as into his own podcast as much, as it's a little too free form.

His Seinfeld 'impression' never fails to make me laugh.
posted by Twicketface at 12:16 PM on January 18, 2012


I'm sad to hear things aren't going well for Dave Foley. I love that guy. $17,000 a month in child support!?
posted by neuromodulator at 12:44 PM on January 18, 2012


Horace Rumpole, i said visible scars. Not ones discernible in the text of the interview.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 12:57 PM on January 18, 2012


The last few times I've been at the Tempe Improv, Todd Glass was the one appearing in the anti-heckling PSA video before the show.

He's been on my radar since the 1990s, when TV comedy was oversaturated. He looks like a dad from my neighborhood growing up. I guess he's nobody's dad, but I can't picture any other comic pulling off the Smoking Face bit. I can see how homosexuality might not fit neatly into the stage voice he's built up so far.

He also was in Last Comic Standing, sharing a season with the Ant, the gay comic with the all-camp act.
posted by unbibium at 4:56 PM on January 18, 2012


Hippybear, I'm pretty sure much of the Star Trek fandom who would care about Spock's sex life is in fact not going to be bothered by suggestions of potential other-than-heterosexuality.

Perhaps. But the JJ Abrams Star Trek reboot movies aren't designed for Trekkers. They're created as mass-market movies directed toward people who have only tangental experience with the Trek universe, and are meant to draw in as wide an audience as possible.

I'd bet that Quinto's coming out wasn't really big enough news for a lot of those people to even be aware of it. But the fact still stands -- Hollywood doesn't like to try to cast gay men in heterosexual roles because they fear the baggage.

And not just Hollywood. Just look at the brouhaha about Sean Hayes and his stint on Broadway in Promises, Promises against Kristen Chenoweth. The show was hugely successful, Hayes was nominated for a lot of awards, but a bunch of the reviews which appeared talked about how Hayes simply wasn't suited to be the lead romantic male in a show, with the unspoken subtext (or sometimes stated outright) that it is because he's a gay male. And that's Broadway, a show business community much more accepting of homosexuality than Hollywood.

Aside from NPH, I can't think of a single gay male actor who is successful on television or in movies and doesn't play mostly gay roles. I'd love to know of more, but can't think of any.
posted by hippybear at 10:25 PM on January 18, 2012


Ian McKellen?
posted by Lazlo at 11:48 PM on January 18, 2012


Finally got around to listen to this (really like WTF -- which I would have never given multiple chances if not for MetaFilter -- but I have to be in a particular mood to listen to it because Mr. Maron is, as a good friend would say, a lot. There's something about his particular brand of (mostly former) bitterness and self-flagellation that gets to me on a personal level sometimes.) And it was even better than I thought it would be.

There's something so great to me about people coming out later in life, probably because it isn't celebrated as much (unfortunately, because most of the people who do are forced out). There is no doubt in my mind that, despite it being a difficult decision, it is easier to come out now than it was (almost) 20 years ago when I did. But I also have no doubt that if I had waited until I was 37 to do so, it would be much harder for me to do than it was even back then. At that point in my life, I was starting over in college with nobody from my previous life but my family. But to do it after living the lie for longer is unimaginable and I really respect those that do.

Because he has the clarity of an adult, he's able to talk about a lot of stuff that people don't often -- like his whole 'marrying a woman with cancer who die and then be a widower rather than life long bachelor'; it's sad but also very funny.

And Maron's handle on gay culture and identity (and conflicts within) shows how thoughtful he is about just about anything.

I also really liked their discussion about homophobic comedy -- and the whole idea of making sure the jokes or words you use are worth it if they're anti-anything. I could have listened to 45 minutes of just that.

I've been a fan of Glass ever since I saw him on Last Comic Standing (a show I mocked my partner for liking until I realized we discovered so many comedians we now like there) and though I doubt he'll change his act much, I look forward to hearing the gay jokes that he will make.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:07 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ian McKellen?

Well, looking at his filmography, very few of his recent roles have had any sexuality to them at all. But he did do Gods And Monsters...

Call me when he's doing a retirement age rom-com playing against Meryl Streep or Helen Mirren as the lead male romantic interest and I'll be more convinced.
posted by hippybear at 7:31 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


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