Comedian Todd Glass has written a brave, amusing book about the hardest challenge of his life: Coming out. The Todd Glass Situation: A Bunch of Lies About My Personal Life And A Bunch of True Stories About My 30-Year Career In Standup Comedy is by turns funny and frank and often both.
While Glass struggled throughout school because of dyslexia and ADD he found success in another arena — comedy. He stated attending and loving shows at a local comedy store and we share his excitement and nervousness when he’s invited to do a show of his own. He does well enough to be invited back and we travel with him as he chronicles his 30 years (so far) in comedy improving his act and meeting comedians — he talks about encountering some of the most popular comedians around- – and his life during this time.
But the book leads up to the point where he decides it’s well past time to come out. How he does this and how it goes are some of the most brave writing I’ve read of late.
The book has great blurbs on the back from other comedians.
For example, “Todd Glass is not only the funniest person I know, he may also be the funnest. This book is like Todd: fun, engaging and honest. And having ghost written so many classic books (War & Peace, Elmo Goes Shopping, The Celestine Prophecy, The Notebook) it is is nice to see Todd finally put his name on one. Also, Todd Glass is much funnier than his brother Ira.” – Jim Gaffigan
And with that let’s go to the interview we did by email.
Why did you decide to write a book?
Tons of cash. Seriously, because I was not honest about my sexuality for so many years I had a lot of opinions and thoughts bottled up inside of me, and I thought writing a book would be a good opportunity to get those thoughts out.
What did you hope to accomplish by writing the book?
Well, in short, I hoped to change peoples preconceived misconceptions about hiding your sexuality and hopefully some people who read it that relate will be able to breath easier
Was one of your goals to tell people what it’s like to grow up Jewish with dyslexia and ADD let alone gay?
No, that was just filler to make the book thicker.
What did you learn — about yourself, about others — from your experience growing up with those issues?
I learned that although people’s secrets might not have been the same as mine, that everyone has them. And letting go of any secrets sure does make life better.
Why did it take you almost dying of a heart attack to come out?
The truth of the matter is that after having my heart attack “I thought” I was going to come out because it was a wake up call to how life can all end so quickly and was I as honest as I could of been while I was here on this planet. But three days after that I went back to my old life. What really did it was the rash of a lot of young kids committing suicide and i thought if I hid it any longer than it gave it validity to that being gay is something that should be hid.
Do you think it is harder to come out in standup than in other fields?
I am sure it is hard for everybody in their own situation but doing stand up is something that made coming out very scary for me. Because performing in front of live audiences people can yell stuff out. Overwhelmingly people who come out to shows are kind, decent, good people, but I was very scared that the small percentage of them who might have a problem with it would yell out something.
Why did you choose to announce your coming out on a comedy podcast?
Two reasons: I thought I had something to share, and I wanted to hit a large audience and Marc Maron’s Podcast because of the content of what he talked about with his guests made it seem like a great forum to do it.
How has the reaction been to your coming out?
Even though I have only heard people who have come out talk about how it has made their life so much better, I couldn’t help thinking deep down that it wouldn’t be the case for me. I WAS WRONG. I was happy before, but my life is so so so much better. I truly know what it means to have a weight lifted off your shoulders. I got so comfortable in the lie that I thought it didn’t affect me, but it did. It might be the single best thing that I ever did in my entire life next to doing stand up comedy.
The blurbs by other comics are fun. How cool to get such praise from fellow comics?
It’s all shit to me.. I am better than everyone.
Seriously, I do not want to be the type of comedian that (only) makes other comedians laugh, but if I can make audiences laugh and at the same time make the comedians that I respect laugh that means a tremendous amount to me. So the short answer to that question is that it feels great.
Was writing this book therapeutic?
No, mind your own business.
It was extremely therapeutic, It really made me understand so many things about myself. I recommend everyone write a book, even if its just for yourself. I’m half serious.[amazon template=iframe image&chan=default&asin=147671441X]
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