DO THIS: Stephanie Miller Brings Her Sexy Liberal Tour To New York City
Out comedian, political commentator, and radio personality Stephanie Miller is bringing her Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour to New York City on Saturday, October 1st at the Kaye Playhouse.
The daughter of U.S. Representative William E. Miller, Miller’s progressive talk radio show is nationally syndicated (also airs on Sirius XM) mixing her sharp humor and political savvy to talk about today’s pop culture and political events.
We had the opportunity to ask Miller some questions earlier this week before Trump and Clinton took to the debate stage. During our conversation, we gabbed about coming out, her Republication father, Lily Tomlin, turkey basters, and why this year’s election is the perfect material for a comedy tour.
Stephanie Miller: I’ve lived in New York a couple of times, but I’m an LA girl. I’m from Buffalo though.
Alexander Kacala: You’re from Buffalo, New York?
Yes! Isn’t that glamorous?
Very, very glamorous. And your dad was a republican?
Yes, he is. He was a congressman from Upstate New York and he ran for Vice President with Barry Goldwater in ’64. I fell in a different political orchard altogether.
Where are you going to watch the debate tonight?
At my house. I’m having a debate party at my house.
Isn’t it kind of funny though, how like, because I’m probably going to watch it at a gay bar tonight. Like a bunch of the gay bars here in New York are hosting these debate parties. And it’s so funny to me cause there’s sort of this really fucked up thing about the entertainment quality in what’s going on but also even though that’s messed up, I feel like it’s also engaging people that normally wouldn’t be engaged with this process. You know what I mean?
I guess that’s true. It is going to be the biggest audience, like over a hundred million people but you know I just hope when people go to vote [they know] this is not a reality show. This guy is dangerous and not in any way qualified to be president.
Well, I feel like people when they really get in the voting booth, I really feel like people go with their gut, like their gut instinct is what drives them to the polls. I’m hoping even some of these lunatics that are saying they’re supporting Trump, or they’re interested in him, or they’re going to vote for him, I pray that when they go in there their gut tells them to vote for Hillary and that’s what they follow.
I know. Yeah. I mean, you know, and that’s the thing, I think in the gay community that we need to think about, is you know, Trump even calls it performing, “When I’m performing.” I mean he’s really not going to be. I don’t know what the heck he’s going to do as President but that means Mike Pence is actually going to be in charge of policy and he’s probably one of the most homophobic Republicans out there as you know from what he did in Indiana.
He said he’s for these ridiculous religious liberty laws or whatever and these bathroom laws which are just trying to solve a problem that doesn’t even exist. I mean it’s just so ridiculous and it’s obviously blown up in the business community’s face both in Indiana and in North Carolina.
For sure, I know.
Well, we do material on all of that in the Sexy Liberal Show.
Tell me more about your show and how it’s tackling this year’s election.
Well I mean, you know, it’s interesting in one way we have more material than ever. I mean how could we not do the tour this year. You know? We started doing it a few years ago during the last election and you know, then we were the number one comedy tour in the country, the number one comedy album. But this year, you thought there was a lot of material last election? Who would’ve ever thought Donald Trump is going to be running for president so I think it serves two purposes. There’s a lot of material comedically but also people are terrified and want to be with like-minded people that, you know, agree with me that he’s orange Hitler. (Laughs) This is really scary. Just this whole election cycle so we’ve been selling out all over the country.
New York is this Saturday and then our last one before the election is in Los Angeles and that one will be taped. Then it will go to movie theaters all over the country on November 7th with Fathom Events.
So that will be like a final kind of get out and vote type thing Monday night before the election. So anyway, we’re just really excited and geared up for New York. We’re going to have a celebrity guest’s panel. We all do standup. It’s me, John Fugelsang, and Frangela, who is an African American comedy duo who’s fantastic and so we all do stand-up and then we do a panel and we have celebrity guests. Remember we’ve been doing this for years as I was saying Alex, everybody has told us this is the best version of the tour ever. I mean John Fugelsang and Frangela are just fantastic. I think the crowds are so fired up. The material almost just writes itself this year.
It’s back to that whole kind of idea that this year in general is just so entertaining. To hear that Trump’s possibly trying to get Jennifer Flowers in the front row? Did you hear that?
Yeah, oh yeah, it’s ridiculous. You just can’t write this stuff and then they said that that was just a joke.
Oh, it was a joke. But then she was saying, actually Jennifer Flowers came out of the woodwork or whatever and was like, “Oh yeah I’ll be there!” Cause she is probably not doing anything better.
Right, yeah, I know, with a little lipstick emoticon. You just can’t write this shit.
And the rest of the world is like what the hell are these dumb ass Americans doing?
Oh, I know. Anyone who has traveled overseas says they literally have their lapels ripped off by people asking what is going on in America. You’re not really going to elect him are you?
Yeah, they’re trying to shake some sense into us.
I just, I can’t. I mean I guess I’m a happy, clappy liberal I somehow can’t believe in my heart that this is who we are as Americans. That we are going to elect someone this racist and sexist and homophobic who is just so hateful.
Yeah, I mean but hopefully people can come to your show and you know also probably walk away with some sort of a new perspective on things as well and I’m sure you guys are also reframing things. I think comedy at times has a way to perpetuate through so much bullshit and then really make people see the other side of things, too.
Is there anything else you wanted to be able to share about your tour? People are going to be able to go see it this weekend in New York City on October 1st.
We’re dragging people out to the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College in New York, on the Upper East Side at 8 o’clock. Like I said, there will be a big celebrity guest on Saturday but we’re not sure who yet.
Who were some of your previous ones?
Well, in LA last time was Lily Tomlin. And so there will be somebody big we just can’t say who yet on Saturday night.
Awesome! I love Lily Tomlin.
She’s been my friend for many years. She’s been my hero and my mentor for my whole life, my whole comedy career you know? She’s just the greatest.
Why are some of the reasons you look up to her?
If you’re a woman in comedy you know, she’s just the hero, you know? Her and Carol Burnett for you know - women my age. She’s also obviously such a hero to the gay community as well and she’s just like I say has always been incredibly kind and generous with me. You know she’s done Sexy Liberal, her and Jane both blurbed in my book Sexy Liberal, so you know they’ve just been friends and mentors and you know - heroes like I say. I don’t want to overuse that word but it’s true.
Oh no, of course! Yeah it’s so important. She was being a visible LGBT person before that was even a thing to think of in a way and the way she did it too was very bold. I don’t know when she officially, officially came out but she’s one of those women that you know was definitely, definitely a trailblazer. I also talked to [Lea] DeLaria earlier this year. She is another one.
Yeah, I know Lea very well. I have a funny Lea DeLaria story. She was a guest on my late night TV show, I had a late night TV show opposite Letterman in 1995 and she was my guest on the Thanksgiving episode of my show and she made some joke about sticking a turkey baster up me and it is the only episode to this day that didn’t air. Because I wasn’t out yet and Disney freaked out but yeah again it shows you just how far we’ve come. Because it was just a normal, funny, dirty joke; up until this day they never aired that segment and they replaced the segment with something else.
That’s hilarious, I wonder if there is a way to find it. But for me, I mean putting a turkey baster up me is just another Tuesday, you know what I mean?
(Laughs) That’s just Tuesday afternoon.
I was just in Richmond, Virginia, and I was emailing somebody who was asking me how my trip was and I was like to be completely honest with you, I’m kind of a six here in New York City but down in Richmond I’m like a frickin 9.5. My hotel room door was basically a turnstile. I mean they were just coming and going all weekend long and it was incredible.
Tell me about your daily radio show?
Yeah, I have a daily radio/television show. I’m on Sirius XM and on stations around the country and then I’m televised on Freespeech TV, which is on, you know, in a bunch of homes, I mean millions of homes, through Direct TV or some cable system so all that and it’s also simulcast on television.
What are some of the challenges or obstacles, if any, that you felt like you had to overcome because of your sexuality?
You know, I would have to say I don’t feel like I have. I think we’ve come so far, so fast, you know, I never thought marriage equality would be here in my lifetime. But you know it’s interesting. The Sexual Liberal Tour is - it started as a joke. You know we weren’t really talking about ourselves, we were talking about the audience. How it’s sexy to be liberal, it means that you’re open-minded, you’re empathetic, you’re tolerant, you know? But the funny thing is, I’ll never forget, one of my radio boss’ once said to me, “Stephanie, what about you having sex with another hot woman did you think was going to turn men off?” (Laughs) And then he was like, “Your ratings with men have only gone up since you came out!”
Yeah, but I think there were always those fears you know early on in your career. I remember my first radio ads said, “Making men rise in the morning.” I suppose early on those are those fears like you know is this going to hurt me business wise and I found that people were really genuinely, overwhelmingly positive when I came out. And I came out on the radio, I remember my friend Shelly Wright, who is my good friend, said to me, “Are you sure you want to do this tomorrow? Shouldn’t you ask your people how to do this?” And I was like, “People? I don’t have people! I’m in radio! I have a radio show, I’m just going to say it.” I think that was 2012.
Yeah, but anyway, I think there’s so many interesting issues in the news. Not only gay issues but of race and everything going on in the country right now. We’ve just been thrilled - we’ve just been having the best time doing this tour right now. We usually give money to a sexy liberal cause, like in Los Angeles we gave money to The Trevor Project. We started selling out theaters all over the country and I also just released Sexy Liberal, my book and that was number one on Amazon Kindle and it just came out in paperback and went to number one for paperback on Amazon, too. But it’s just so funny that this brand, Sexy Liberal, started as a joke. I just think this is the most important election in our lifetime. It could just not be a starker choice.