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Comedian Julie Goldman performed at OU on Tuesday. 

Q&A: Julie Goldman addresses sexism, political correctness in comedy at Ohio University

LGBT Center, Hillel at OU team up to bring professional comedian to campus as part of Performing Arts and Concert Series.

Comedian Julie Goldman walked on stage to a crowded Baker Theatre with an unorthodox greeting.

“Welcome to this Jewish gay-a-thon,” she jokingly said.

In her set, Goldman talked about being raised in a traditional, conservative Jewish household. She also shared her experiences as a lesbian in Hollywood where TV and movies are often based on cliches and stereotypes.

“I know I’m a niche. I’m fine with it,” Goldman said.

Goldman closed her set playing guitar and singing a song she called “Pro-Choice” about choosing to be gay. Goldman then answered audience questions and took pictures with attendees.

The Post sat down with Goldman before the show to talk about the challenges facing a Jewish lesbian comedian and the controversial topics in her stand-up, especially when performing on a college campus.

The Post: What’s it like to do stand-up on a college campus versus on a cruise or at a club or someplace like that?

Julie Goldman: I think the difference is … it’s kind of controversial for comedians at this moment to do colleges … because there’s a lot of political correctness and it’s very challenging to be quite honest with you, depending on the school. Sometimes it’s great and there’s not a problem in the world. Sometimes five people walk out or tell you that you’ve triggered something and you need to be sensitive to that. But as comedians, everyone needs to know we’re not sensitive to anything.

P: Are you ever asked by a college to censor your routine?

JG: I’ve never been asked to censor anything, but I’ve certainly been told that there are certain things that are sensitive to discuss. … So obviously … I like to kick a hornet’s nest is what I like to do.

P: So as restrictive as college campuses can be to do your stand up, are there any pros to doing college?

JG: Comedians are about making you feel unsafe and sort of like poking around in areas where, y’know, no one’s gonna hold your hand. So bringing comedy into a college campus can be risky because of that. In the world it’s a little different because no one’s protecting anybody so you’re just dealing with regular people who are being pissy or don’t like you. … But, I have fun on college campuses. … It’s interesting too to see how different campuses are too because you might think “Oh I’m in the middle of Minnesota. They’re gonna not get anything or they’re going to be this” but it’s shocking and they’re amazing. Or you could be in LA and everyone’s a douche.

P: You’ve been a professional comedian for a really long time. How has the landscape changed being a Jewish lesbian?

JG: I think that it’s definitely more open. … When I first started doing stand-up, I could walk into a room and … just being a WOMAN I wanted to kill myself. Now, on top of it I’m some butch lez who’s going to walk into a room? ... I don’t have that feeling anymore of that gut, that sinking feeling that people are going to turn on me. I think now it’s just, it’s still sexist, but it’s different. There’s like a different kind of sexism. It’s more manageable.

P: Is that as far as the audience goes or the industry?

JG: Both. I think there’s definitely still a pervasive thing that goes around that people think women aren’t funny or you know you’ll never see of a show of just women and it just be called a comedy show. It’ll be a women’s comedy show. … But if it’s all guys it’s just comedy night. And there is still a double standard, 100 percent.

P: You also do sketch comedy ... What’s the difference for you when you do stand-up versus a sketch or variety show?

JG: I do find it to be fun to work with other people … and not have the weight of everything on me. Stand-up is very solitary and it can be pretty lonely. If you’re on the road or if, you know, you’re alone. So doing sketch or being in a show, any kind of show, the collaboration is just nice.

P: What’s your favorite thing you’ve appeared on?

JG: The thing that pays most.

P: I feel like that’s not even a fair question. 

JG: I like all of it. And I get sick of all of it too, y’know? But I want all of it. 

P: Do you feel like you’re in a place now that you weren’t before to be able to say that, like, “Yeah I want to do it all.”

JG: I’m definitely in a different place being that there’s a lot I feel that I’m doing more than I have done in the past, but I’m certainly not in a place to refuse anything. … It would be nice to be able to get out of that and be like, “Uh I couldn’t possibly. I have to be here for the TV show that I’m getting paid lots of money for but maybe in the summer when I feel like traveling.”

P: Who is your biggest comedic inspiration?

JG: Joan Rivers

P: You wrote for her for Fashion Police. What was that like?

JG: That was amazing. She was incredible. That was like a dream come true for sure. Joan Rivers and Mel Brooks — like real old school. I don’t know why, but as a kid I was obsessed with them. … It was that comedy — that irreverent, outrageous, not caring, pushing the envelope, silly humor that I just was obsessed with.

 P: Do you ever not bring something from your personal life on stage?

JG: Not really, no. I can’t think of anything that’s off limits. I mean unless something’s so depressing or so tragic that I don’t want to talk about it, even then I’ll probably find a way to talk about it or infuse it in some way I think. 

P: Anything else you wanted to say about OU, stand-up, coming to Athens?

JG: I’m happy to be here. I love to come to a place especially and learn – I knew nothing about it and to be quite honest. … Who knew there’d be a (lesbian) commune and a thing and there’s hippies and whatever and just the whole thing. … It’s fun.



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