It only seems appropriate that Suzanne Westenhoefer calls Creative Loafing from Isla Mujeres (Translation: Island of Women), Mexico. The lesbian comedian, who gained fame in the early ‘90s for her then very out-of-the-closet stand-up act, is coming to Charlotte next week (Oct. 4) to perform at The Comedy Zone in Charlotte.
Westenhoefer began her career in comedy on a dare. While bartending in New Jersey, regulars - who got laughs in addition to booze from her - encouraged her to take to the stage. Westenhoefer shares her first thoughts on the idea, "I was thinking, 'I can’t do stand-up and then all of a sudden get up there and start talking about my boyfriend, because I don’t have one. I have a girlfriend.’”
But after the initial apprehension, Westenhoefer took the plunge. The result? She won a contest on her first try and started performing routinely. This led to a spiral of TV appearances, including one on a 1991 episode ("Breaking the Lesbian Stereotype...Lesbians Who Don't Look Like Lesbians") of Sally Jesse Raphael, and others on Comedy Central, HBO and The Late Show With David Letterman.
Currently on the Semi-Sweet Tour, Westenhoefer explains her current act and how it's sometimes perceived by folks. “I’m still gay, but my act has changed so much over these past 20 years. I talk about so many different things," says Westenhoefer. "I think people get caught up thinking, ‘Oh, it’s a gay act and some how if I’m straight I won’t understand it.' Like, we have a different language, or something. But if I’m talking about my relationship, it’s not going to sound all that much different than anybody’s relationship. It’s just that it’s two chicks."
A portion of proceeds raised from the show at The Comedy Zone will go to The Gay and Lesbian Community Center in Charlotte. "I need to make money. I have a house and mortgage payment, but I like to be able to do a show where we can raise money for something that’s also going on in the community. I like having a purpose to stuff,” says Westenhoefer.
Suzanne Westenhoefer performs at The Comedy Zone (900 N.C. Music Factory Blvd., Suite B3) on Oct. 4 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20-$25. For more information and to purchase tickets, call 980-321-4702 or visit www.cltcomedyzone.com.