Interview with Geri Jewell

AE: You come out in I’m Walking As Straight As I Can, which by the way, has the best title ever. Was that a difficult decision?

GJ: My foundation in disability empowered me in my foundation in the gay world. I’ve met a lot of people with disabilities who are gay. And what I found interesting is that for most people with disabilities who are gay, the gay issue is a piece of cake.

AE: Are you enjoying any gay cake these days via a girlfriend?

Not right now.

AE: What’s your ideal woman like? Smart, funny, something like that?

GJ: Someone who loves me for me. And someone who is sensitive and patient and can deal with the disability and because, let’s face it, I mean, that’s a fact of my life. And I want someone who has depth.

AE: Depth? This is LA, Geri.

GJ: I know, I know. I may have to move somewhere else. [laughs]

AE: No matter where you are, people know you as Cousin Geri. You’ve been spoofed many times. Does it bother you? Do you think they’re making fun of people with cerebral palsy?

GJ: I don’t like when it’s mean-spirited and just malicious. Online, a lot of people have made fun of me. I don’t like that.

AE: There will never be a shortage of internet a-holes.

GJ: But I’ve also been spoofed on Mad TV, Family Guy, South Park, The Big Gay Sketch Show. I don’t have a problem with [those] because I don’t believe that they’re mean-spirited.

AE: Plus, they’re actually funny shows written by real writers. Which spoof is your favorite one?

GJ: I have to say it’s when they spoofed Deadwood on Mad TV. It cracked me up. I couldn’t stop laughing. That was a good one.

AE: The Big Gay Sketch Show did a parody of Facts of Life and played up the lesbian subtext between Jo and Blair.

GJ: I know, I know.

AE: Back when you were shooting, did anyone on the show acknowledge that Jo and Blair did seem a little like girlfriends?

I will say this. There were all these rumors that Nancy McKeon was gay. And there’s not a shred of truth to that.

AE: Did that bother her?

GJ: Yeah. If you’re not gay and everybody assumes that you are, I would say that that’s painful for a teenage girl. I don’t blame her.

Also, there were so many cracks about [all the girls'] weight. There were jokes about “The Fats of Life” instead of The Facts of Life. These girls were really hurt by that. They grew up in front of millions of people, and to be made fun of or have rumors about them that weren’t true? Yeah, I would say it was painful.

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