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Joan Rivers: Young Gay Performers Hoping to be Romantic Idols Should Stay in the Closet


Given the amount of outrage generated by Ramin Setoodeh's Newsweek article on whether gays can convincingly play straight, it's no surprise that Joan Rivers quote from a recent Advocate interview is getting similar attention.

Asks Brandon Voss: "Should young gay performers still keep their sexuality a secret? "

Says Rivers: "It’s part of the game. If you’re going to be a romantic idol and try to get every teenage girl to love you, then you’d be an ass to come out and say you’re gay. That’s why Ricky Martin was so smart — he did what he did, he made his millions, and then he said, 'Guess what, everybody? I’m gay, I’m having this life, and here are my children.' It didn’t matter anymore because he didn’t have to bring in 16-year-old girls."

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  1. On one hand I agree with her. I am not particularly attracted to straight guys, why should the general audience of romance songs be attracted to a gay man? Yea yea, its all about the music, but so is the fantasy of having a stud sing the song to you.

    On the other hand, Adam Lambert gets a lot of female attention regardless of sexuality. You will get those crazy ladies who think they can change him, but still.

    I don't think Joan was out of line, she was just pointing out the obvious fact that *straight* women just won't be as attracted to a gay crooner than they would a straight crooner.

    Posted by: Robert | Jun 29, 2010 1:46:51 PM

  2. I don't personally take offense to her remarks, I think it's just a generational thing. Clearly she hasn't been to an Adam Lambert concert.

    Posted by: Rod | Jun 29, 2010 1:47:35 PM

  3. Love Joan, but she's showing her age. She is from a different era, and I don't think she fully appreciates the changes that have happened in our society.

    Posted by: Chris in MN | Jun 29, 2010 1:48:06 PM

  4. 16 year old girls are not idiots. They can handle it. Plus the more celebs come out after the fact teaches people that they were in the closet at some point. Meaning, teens know that some of their idols are gay. Adam Lambert outsold Kris Allen. It may be because Adam is seen as single and sexually available / adventurous. And because his music is better. But also because Kris Allen is in a relationship.

    Plus even if it would make people have bigger careers and make more money for themselves (and studios), that doesn't mean staying in the closet is right. I still want to see the documentary on Joan, but perhaps I'll wait to see if she ever comes out of the closet. I wouldn't want to support romantic idol Joan Rivers if there's a chance she's a lesbian. I'll wait until she's dead as proof that she never came out. Then I'll see her movie. That would be following her advice.

    Posted by: Editor KOK magazine | Jun 29, 2010 1:49:27 PM

  5. From a strictly business perspective, she's correct. And being a singer is different from being an actor....lots of singers have toyed with sexuality over the years, but actors tend to be more rigidly defined.

    Posted by: Paul R | Jun 29, 2010 1:50:04 PM

  6. Ricki Martin was a heartthrob 20 years ago. Things have changed.

    Posted by: anon | Jun 29, 2010 1:53:00 PM

  7. Old women should know when enough plastic surgery is enough.

    She looks like Three-Mile Island took a dump on her head.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jun 29, 2010 1:56:05 PM

  8. As others have noted, it is remarkable that Joan Rivers is still alive, let alone provoking headlines.

    Posted by: Ted | Jun 29, 2010 1:56:58 PM

  9. Her comment is not offensive -- it's a sad reality. Even the most villaged and idealistic gays should realize that.

    Posted by: Mark | Jun 29, 2010 2:01:00 PM

  10. But what about Romantic idols for gay teens? I never had a gay example when I was younger even though a lot of those idols turned out to be gay(Lance Bass, Ricky Martin, H from Steps). I think if I knew they were gay, I would have a much easier time to relate.

    The entertainment business only seem to look at the straight girls and never at the gay boys, I hope that someday that will change.

    Posted by: Garrett Ghost | Jun 29, 2010 2:05:44 PM

  11. Actually, I agree with her. It is a sad reality but it's a reality nonetheless. It doesn't mean that it can't be changed but she is absolutely correct. Why would 13-14 year old girl swoon over a gay man? If your goal is to make MONEY then I agree with her statement 100%.

    Posted by: David in TO | Jun 29, 2010 2:06:44 PM

  12. Just to point out a nuance that's important, given your comparison: She doesn't say gay actors shouldn't or can't play straight. That, to me, was the most offensive part of RS's "argument."

    Posted by: chris | Jun 29, 2010 2:06:44 PM

  13. She's not much of an ally. When thousands of us were dying in the eighties, she was dining with the Reagans and praising them on the Tonight Show. Everything is about money for this woman: when she's old and over the hill, she can play the gay diva and fill up theatres like Kathy Griffin.

    Posted by: Joel | Jun 29, 2010 2:07:26 PM

  14. Why shouldn't a young girl be able to idolize a gay celebrity? Gay men have been in love with straight male celebreties for decades.

    Posted by: Jack M | Jun 29, 2010 2:07:27 PM

  15. What's the big deal? What she said is a fair, objective statement. Deal with it

    Posted by: Mike C. | Jun 29, 2010 2:07:46 PM

  16. I'm shocked that anyone is shocked by her comment. It is absoltely truthful and by no means does she really state that the truth is fair...She's giving an interview to The Advocate, not The National Review.

    Why does any gay person need to have this knee jerk PC-inflated reaction to comments mae by someone who has been breaking barriers for decades? It isn't productive to bury your head in the sand about what is true and comedic performers always push limits.

    Posted by: Alex N | Jun 29, 2010 2:09:48 PM

  17. Old hag comediennes who want to live off a loyal gay following should keep their bigoted mouths shut.

    Thank goodness I haven't paid to see her movie yet. Now I won't.

    Posted by: SkepticalCicada | Jun 29, 2010 2:11:11 PM

  18. Joan should stick to selling shitty circus clown jewelry for old bats to fund the continuing hilarious deconstruction of her face.

    Posted by: Gridlock | Jun 29, 2010 2:12:51 PM

  19. Mark: "Her comment is not offensive -- it's a sad reality. Even the most villaged and idealistic gays should realize that."

    Whether accurate or not--and I'm not so confident she knows what today's 16-year-old girls think--she demonstrated utter and complete ignorance about the costs of the closet, acting like it's similar to choosing what color socks to wear. Fuck her.

    Posted by: SkepticalCicada | Jun 29, 2010 2:13:26 PM

  20. Oh, and recall this woman made her career by lampooning Elizabeth Taylor, who may be a lot of things, but she is a true friend to the gay community. Who was there with us -- giving and raising money, pushing for visibility -- when Joan's buddy Ronald Reagan would not even utter the word "AIDS"? Elizabeth Taylor.
    The rainbow flag in Joan Rivers' hand is there because she is a crass hypocrite following the money (which is exactly what she says Ricky Martin did right).

    Posted by: Joel | Jun 29, 2010 2:14:28 PM

  21. That's a good point Jack. Maybe it is just something to do with the group mentality. If Justin Beiber (or however you spell his name) was out and frequently brought the fact that he is gay up I don't think he would have the loyal preteen and teen girl following that he does. I can't say for sure though.

    Posted by: David in TO | Jun 29, 2010 2:17:09 PM

  22. Self-loathing closet queens always take calls for actors to stay in the closet as a "sad reality."

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jun 29, 2010 2:19:20 PM

  23. I've never understood why so many gay men pay any attention at all to this shrill, superannuated hag. If knowing when to leave is the height of good manners, she's the most horribly ill-mannered entertainer on record. She hasn't been anything but obnoxious since the 60s, and even then she was just a pale drag imitation of Woody Allen. She can save her opinions for the yobbos who shop on QVC.

    Posted by: jomicur | Jun 29, 2010 2:22:02 PM

  24. i'm with joel and his 2 comments on this. she certainly didn't distinguish herself as a friend to teh gays during the reagan years. for her non-flagging support of the reagans she will always be someone for me to avoid.

    Posted by: alguien | Jun 29, 2010 2:28:25 PM

  25. "You look like a pterodactyl, and you think like one too..."

    More to the point, aging has great advantages provided you continue to challenge yourself with new awareness and new experiences. I suppose that's unsurprising from a surgery addict more concerned with appearance than substance, but it's still sad Joan River's brain is wearing a bustle.

    Her point is arguably valid if we're discussing Rock Hudson, but she seems utterly unaware that pubescent girls constitute Adam Lambert's main fan base.

    Since we're discussing Hollywood where any mention of ethics, honest, or personal integrity will be met with wide-eyed bafflement, we needn't bother to go there.

    Posted by: Bryan Harrison | Jun 29, 2010 2:31:20 PM

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