Thursday, October 20, 2011

And this relates to Spanx how?

An asexy friend clued me in to the fact that in her performance If You Will, Janeane Garofalo talks about being asexual. Of course, you know me, so I had to check it out (you can see it on DVD). And indeed, she refers to herself as asexual, partially as an attempt to dispel rumors that she's a lesbian. Garofalo says that she's been with her boyfriend for 10 years, and while they used to have sex, they no longer do. She also refers to herself as celibate, and claims that it allows her more free time to get things done (groan, I don't like this stereotype!). Actually, she plays into other stereotypes of asexuals, wondering if her lack of sexual interest was influenced by a religious Irish grandmother.

[Image: Janeane Garofalo performing If You Will]

But, some of us really do ask ourselves those kinds of questions. Garofalo doesn't seem at ease with her asexuality; it's as if she's working through it over the duration of the performance, but never reaching a conclusion. In short, she doubts, which a lot of us can identify with...wondering if we're broken, repressed, late bloomers, etc. She tells the audience that asexuality isn't a fear of intimacy, but a lack of interest. Still, she worries about being seen as cold and uncaring. This is one stereotype she tries to dispel, by bringing out a collage of puppy photos that she made. And, she may not have sex, but she does know a lot about mens' heels, their alleged dryness being a subject of much consternation to her.

You know how people say that earlier stand-up, like Lenny Bruce, just isn't funny anymore to a modern audience? Well...that's basically how all stand-up is to me. I'll find a couple of things funny maybe, but have no idea how the audience can be laughing at everything. That said, reviews of If You Will did seem mixed. I have to agree with the reviewer on Netflix who wrote: "This is dramady. Or a dark confessional with strong artistic merit but a bit of a downer. If you are expecting comedy you might be disappointed." So while I didn't laugh much, I did admire the way that Garofalo was open about her doubts. She doesn't simplify or try not to contradict herself, but just keeps talking, as if she and the audience have been friends for a while.


miller said...

Did you know that Garofalo is briefly shown in the documentary (A)sexual? They only show her delivering a single line, something like, "I'm asexual. Which is bad news for my boyfriend of ten years."

I was quite curious about this, because I never hear her mentioned in the asexual community.

Anonymous said...

good work grandma!

Ily said...

@miller: No, I didn't know that...haven't seen (A)sexual yet. Yeah, aside from the friend who told me about this, I haven't heard Garofalo's asexuality mentioned, either. Maybe people don't know who she is? I mean, I'd heard of her, but not much more than that.

Anonymous said...

OOOOHHHhh Janeane Garofalo!! I would characterize Wet Hot American Summer as an upper. Nice post!

Anonymous said...

watch 'the truth about cats and dogs' she is in it with ben chaplin and uma thurman

Anonymous said...

Occupy Asexy Beast!

We are the one percent club!