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Seeking Their Place in the Spotlight

August 08, 1993

Regarding "Heard the One About Lesbian Comics?" by Jan Breslauer (July 18):

I have to agree with Lea DeLaria when she states that "if gays are making it into the mainstream, don't put them upstairs in their little room." Segregating performers by race, color, sex or sexual persuasion only tends to insulate them from the mainstream. Blacks, women, gays, Latinos and even WASPs (little joke) have always been a part of the Improv's regular presentations. Our only criterion is that they be funny.

Not too long ago my wife, Alex, and I attended a performance of DeLaria's at a gay theater venue. We were overwhelmed by her talent and energy and invited her to perform at the Improv. The following week she did a spot at the Melrose Improv in the middle of our regular show. She was a smash, and an "Arsenio" talent coordinator in our audience immediately booked her for the show.

Lea DeLaria and all uniquely talented people will always be welcome at the Improv to be a part of the total experience, not segregated in a "little room."

BUDD FRIEDMAN

Co-Owner, the Improv

Los Angeles

*

My first reaction to Breslauer's article was: How wonderful! Good for them! My second thought was that it is now safe to do features on homosexual entertainers.

The Times has the power to make changes in a big way for gays and lesbians. It has taken us a long time to get where we are now (which is far from equal). Your editors and writers should continue to make changes--watch tapes, go to clubs, listen to singers. Don't wait for the talk shows to tell you who's hot.

It's 1993, and there are still so few gay or lesbian characters on prime-time TV. (Thank God for Roseanne and Tom Arnold bringing us four recurring characters.)

It's OK for the public to know we are homosexuals. People will watch! If the rest of the country gets to know us, they will realize how much we have in common and see our contribution to society through the arts.

Gay kids watch TV and go to films. Let them feel they are worthwhile human beings. Don't let them want to kill themselves, spend years in therapy and want to be someone else. Don't make them wait as long as I did to come out and have self-respect and dignity.

JASON STUART

Actor-Comedian

Los Angeles

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