Dan Savage

My dinner party with 5 famous people: #5 Joan Rivers

Last but not least, I would round out my celebrity dinner party with Joan Rivers. She might seem like an odd choice, after all, she’s known for her catty fashion criticism and overdone plastic surgery, but she still amazes me. I didn’t really appreciated Ms. Rivers until I watched the documentary, A Piece of Work. That woman works her butt off. Comedians have tough lives. It’s not easy being on the road for most of the year, getting heckled, cancelled, or made to feel irrelevant. Yes, all this is hard, but it was specially hard for a young woman in the 60s who was expected to be at home with the kids. A young woman who was told she’d never have a career because she wasn’t pretty.

In this documentary she bares it all. Her husband’s suicide, her regrets about betraying Johnny Carson, and her never ending feeling that she’s not good enough. She puts herself out there. She is so vulnerable but at the same time you realize nothing could get to her. She is absolutely fearless.

Joan Rivers and me doing a segment on The View, before we grab some lunch.

Joan Rivers and me at a booth. I’m obviously trying to get the waitress’ attention.

You watch her jump on a plane and do gigs in five different cities in 3 days. I couldn’t do that at 28. I don’t know how she can do that at 78. The whole time you watch this documentary you see a person struggling with mortality. It’s like she thinks if she does one more show she won’t be forgotten. But it works… how many other female comedians have been a household name for almost 50 years?

I love Joan because she’s sassy, and I know if she’s the first person to arrive, and I’m wearing something ugly, she’ll have the balls to tell me to change. I love her because she’s a fighter. Because she will not go softly into the night. I love her because she’s shocking and reminds us to lighten up.

I would serve her Vodka on the rocks and a wine chaser. Maybe she’ll nibble on some appetizers but I don’t see her as a big foodie. I’d sit her between Dan Savage and Sir Issac Newton. Dan and her would be hilarious, and she would have a field day making jokes about Newton’s weird behavior.


My dinner party with 5 famous people: #4 Dan Savage

I’ve decided to take a cue from the classic college application question: If you could have dinner with five famous people (alive or dead) who would they be and why? It’s a good question because it shows what you value in a person, and what you hope to gain from the interaction. So without further ado, here’s the fourth person I would invite: Dan Savage.

Dan Savage and me at a diner

Dan Savage and me at a diner

There are many reasons why I love Dan Savage. He is the host of the hilarious sex column and podcast, Savage Love, the creator of the catty “Santorum” campaign, and, most significantly, the impetus for the inspiring It Gets Better campaign.

It Gets Better started when Dan was so upset about the recent rate of suicides in the young LGBT community that he posted a youtube video with his partner, Terry Miller, in an effort to reach out to youth and let them know that it won’t always be this hard. They shared horrifying stories of abuse in high school (from kids and adults) and then some really beautiful stories about being a loving couple and feeling accepted. The people who love them chose to accept them, and the people who didn’t accept them faded away.

Their basic message is that they can understand how abuse and isolation can make someone want to commit suicide, but then that person will miss out on the best parts of their lives if they give up. Don’t let the bigots and bullies win. Since this initial video, there have been over 50,000 videos added. Lots of them were done by celebrities, politicians, and authors. If a 14 year old boy in Spokane, Nebraska was feeling depressed because he is gay and getting bullied for it, imagine jumping on the internet and joining such a loving, supportive community. So, thank you, Dan Savage!

I love that Dan Savage is so straight forward and so foul-mouthed. The basic message of all of his work is to keep an open-mind and accept every part of the people you love.

I would seat Dan next to Oprah since they both spread a message of love and acceptance. I’d serve him some fish and chips and beer.