I’ve been kicked off Twitter for a week. My crime? I retweeted with a comment.
There’s a comic I love who’s just coming off working on her act at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Her name is Jena Friedman. After news broke about The Queen shutting down Parliament, Jena tweeted “The Queen is a Cunt.” I laughed out loud. What’s more healing than a good laugh in the face of tyranny?
So I retweeted with a comment…
“The Queen is a Cunt. The President is a Cunt. MAGA TROLLS are Cunts. Anyone who voted for BREXIT is a Nationalistic Cunt. Jong-un, al-Assad, Putin…Cunt, Cunt, Cunt. Having said that, life would be a mistake without Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Eddie Izzard & Jena Friedman.”
I don’t know if it’s the exact tweet, I don’t know if it’s the exact re-tweet, or if it’s the exact comment, but it’s how I remember the exchange and to be clear, I have zero interest in cutting and pasting. Call me a Disciple of Alternative Facts, call me a Naive Cunt, but I think the emotional truth is underrated and my heart is always in the right place.
I should clarify what matters to me so you know who I’m talking about: Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Eddie Izzard and Jena Friedman.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge wrote a show I absolutely love called “Fleabag.” She also stars in the show. It’s the first time I’ve seen a show with the guts to take on female rage. It uses humor as a mask to deflect pain. The 1st season has a secret and you have to get to the end of the season before you get to relish in the deliciousness of anguish. The 2nd season might very well be the cure for cynicism. I love “Fleabag” more than I can express. When Phoebe Waller-Bridge won some type of look-at-me look-at-me Award Cunt Statuette thingy, she quoted her mom. This is the advice her mom offered to launch her daughter’s confidence, “Darling you can be anything you want to be as long as you’re outrageous.”
I remember when I told my dad MTV was interested in making me a VJ. This is what he said, “Why would they choose you?” Funny how much a few words can make a difference in the trajectory of your life.
Eddie Izzard calls himself an executive transvestite. I remember falling in love with his show, “Glorious.” I’d never seen a man dress the way I secretly liked dressing. Lipstick with a suit. Nail polish for no other reason than it was fun. At one point in time, I memorized his entire show, hoping it would shift the DNA of the shame I’d been carrying around.
The shame was cemented into my consciousness. But his words sure felt good in my brain, the jokes bumping up against every shitty thing I’d been told about myself.
I remember when I went back to Highland Park, the community of my youth, to work at Max’s Deli. Instead of golf, on the weekends I was performing in the Glam Rock Ensemble at The Old Town School of Folk Music. At one of our gigs, I wore glitter nail polish. I liked the way the purple undertone looked against my black suit.
The next day I had to be at work to open at 7AM. I decided to keep on the nail polish. Before the cashier arrives, it’s the job of the manager to keep an eye on the cash register. I was checking out a customer when the heat of his anger shot out of his eyes. He was glaring at the hand counting his change, he was enraged by glitter, the surest sign you’re face-to-face with a Blackhole Cunt.
As soon as the cashier arrived, I drove down the block to CVS. I bought nail polish remover and drove back to Max’s Deli, where I sat in the parking lot removing the nail polish with cotton balls, hating myself for letting myself be seen. I went back to work. Sure enough, the vibe at the cash register was pure acceptance. The message was clear: real men don’t wear glitter nail polish, real men wear a tiny white golf glove like a Proper Cunt.
Jena Friedman was working on her act ahead of The Fringe Festival. She was doing a set in Chicago at The Hideout on a Friday Night. I wanted to go but there was an open mic at Independence Tap and I wanted to play a set with my band, Friends withOUT Benefits. So I missed her show. In all fairness, she missed my show, even though she has no fucking idea who the fuck I am.
I can’t even imagine she knows I was blocked for retweeting her tweet with a comment. This only inspires me to tighten our set, finish recording the songs we spent the better part of last year honing on the open mic. Then make the pilgrimage to Edinburgh for The Fringe Festival in 2020.
I remember a guy I knew who was playing in bands when I was playing in bands, back in the day. We were both coming up. He seemed a little ahead of me, but it was how I looked at him. The truth is, neither of us ended up making a speech at The Grammys or the VMA’s where we quoted our mothers. In a moment of weakness, I asked why he hadn’t invited my band to play a showcase gig that he was running after I had invited his band to play The Chill Tent, a gig that I was running in the summer of 1996 on Randall’s Island for Lollapalooza. This is what he said to me, “The problem with you, Greg, is you’re a fan who wants to be treated like a peer.”
It hurt. It stung. He was right. I was a fan and the truth is I’ll never stop being a fan. How can you not be? There are so many amazing people to be inspired by, to make you gush, to make you retweet with a comment. As for the guy who said it, his comment says more about him than it says about me. In case you’re wondering, this is what it says about him…
Get over yourself, Cunt!