Open Thread: Funny Girl

What Boy George and Joan Rivers taught me about being myself.
Publish date:
September 5, 2014
open thread, Boy George, Joan Rivers

Until the Internet came around to verify them, I had a number of pop-cultural memories from my childhood that I wasn't sure whether I made up or whether they actually happened. A few examples:

French Toast Crunch cereal (This stuff was out of control delicious.)

The book Crush by Jane Futcher ("[A] wonderful teenage lesbian romance.")

The Party, specifically Damon Pampolina ("That's Why" is the jam for real.)

Stickers magazine, later known as Stickers & Stuff (Remember that?)

Debbie Harry's appearance on The Muppet Show (Totally crazy.)

That last one brings me to this interview Joan Rivers did with Boy George in 1983. I was SURE I imagined it, but no:

As you know by now, Rivers died yesterday. I definitely didn't always agree with her particular brand of comedy, but I respected her ability to laugh at herself. She gave as good as she got, for the most part.

But back to Boy George for a second. I don't think it's possible to overestimate his and Culture Club's popularity at the time of this interview. As Rivers points out, he was, at 22, beautiful and world famous--we were playing catch-up.

Imagine for a second, in conservative 80s America, seeing this gorgeous man on network television, in all his androgynous glory. And Rivers was sincerely enamored by and interested in him (she had long been a supporter of LGBT rights and marriage equality); it was a nice respite from the homophobia that was fairly prevalent during the era.

The whole interview is worth a watch--they get into what is and isn't "drag," how he does his hair, his sexuality. Basically, his whole message is, "I've no wish to look ordinary.... and I don't make excuses about the way I look." That idea was pretty revolutionary to me as kid growing up in a very homogenous place. And this bit seems especially poignant now:

"Do you see yourself changing?," asks Rivers. "Like 10 years from now...""I don't see myself growing old gracefully," says Boy George. "Nor me," says Rivers. "Nor me."

Wow. Ain't that the truth? Here's to growing old however the hell you want.

Enjoy your weekend, gang. This thread is open, and it's yours.