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Suzanne Westenhoefer returns to Seattle
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Suzanne Westenhoefer returns to Seattle

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Staff Writer

Suzanne Westenhoefer
July 31, 7:30 & 10:30 PM
The Triple Door

America's first openly Gay comedian, Suzanne Westenhoefer, will at Seattle's Triple Door July 31. The unscripted comedian is booked for a 7:30 p.m. all-ages show and a 21 and over 10:30 p.m. show on the same date.

Suzanne has been delivering Gay material to straight audiences in mainstream comedy clubs since the early '90s. She's been described as fearless, bold and unapologetic, and performs in over 100 shows a year at theaters, clubs, colleges, fundraisers, and on various cruises. I recently spoke with Suzanne about performing for Seattle audiences, appearing on Late Night with David Letterman, and Gay cruises.

Shaun Knittel: Suzanne, thanks for speaking with SGN. You've been to Seattle before; are you excited about coming back?

Suzanne Westenhoefer: I have performed in Seattle for 15 years now. I've done shows with the [Seattle Men's Chorus] many times and now I will be at the Triple Door. I love Seattle - who doesn't? I like the shopping the best. Nordstrom's! We didn't used to have that where I lived.

Knittel: You've been performing in front of straight audiences as an openly Gay comedian for years. How have the audiences changed since the early '90s?

Westenhoefer: The audience has changed in that the heteros have become savvier about Gay things. They know our lingo, they know about pride events, they know "butch" and "femme," so it's fun. I don't have to explain as much and when I do, it's fun to mock them for not knowing.

Knittel: You were the first open Lesbian to perform on Late Night with David Letterman. What was that experience like?

Westenhoefer: Letterman was the most amazing thing. I was terrified. It's not a NY audience, it's people who've come from all over to see him, and we weren't sure how they would take an openly Gay comic. But they loved it. It's hard to remember much because I was concentrating so hard on not screwing up. I felt like I was up there for every Gay person in the world. & It was 2003 - a totally different world.

Knittel: You've toured with the Indigo Girls. As you know, they are very successful in Seattle.

Westenhoefer: Being with the Indigos is incredible because they are rock stars. I promise to talk about it when I get to Seattle. I have more stories. I got to sing with them, so I have a great story about that.

Knittel: Where did you perform for Gay Pride?

Westenhoefer: Amazingly, I didn't do any pride events this June. My first since & oh wow, probably since my first parade before I was a comic. I love Gay Pride, even if you do have to try and make people laugh in the daylight, outside - which is very hard to do.

Knittel: I've heard you got your start based on a dare. What happened?

Westenhoefer: I worked as a bartender and my regulars bet me that I could get up and be openly Gay and do a set. I thought they were crazy. Turns out they were right. I won the contest and went on to do this for a living. I do miss bartending, but not that much.

Knittel: What material can we expect to see at the Triple Door?

Westenhoefer: My tour right now is crazy. It always is. Whatever comes into my brain, whatever is happening to me, I'm going to make it feel like it's happening to you. That's the goal, anyway. I want to see you laugh - and no crying.

Knittel: You are something of a regular on Gay cruises. What's that experience like?

Westenhoefer: I love, love, love working the all-Gay cruises! I promise you, a ship full of Gay men is like a ship full of puppies just before they are weaned. Before they even have their eyes opened&.

Knittel: Anything you'd like to say to LGBT Seattle?

Westenhoefer: Tell the boys to come to the show. Sometimes I think they think it's just for the Gay girls. It's not. I like to see all the Queers - and the heteros, although they should wear protective clothing.

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Suzanne Westenhoefer returns to Seattle
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