Meet Judy (aka Jewdy) Gold

 
 

Her first break came in 1989 in a television appearance on Caroline's Comedy Hour as a last-minute fill-in. Gold then began touring the United States as an emcee and as a featured performer at comedy clubs.

Her first role as a television series regular was alongside Margaret Cho on All-American Girl. She has also appeared on Law & Order, Sex and the City, The Tonight Show With Jay Leno and Late Night With Conan O'Brien. She currently hosts HBO's At the Multiplex With Judy Gold, and has hosted Comedy Central's 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time and the GLAAD Media Awards. Her numerous TV specials include a recent episode of Logo's stand-up comedy series, Wisecrack.

Gold has been recognized by critics as well. Her half-hour HBO comedy special received a Cable Ace Award; she won two Emmy Awards for writing and producing The Rosie O'Donnell Show; and she was nominated twice for an American Comedy Award. Most recently, 25 Questions was nominated for the 2006 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance.

Though Gold lived in Los Angeles for several years, she returned to New York after she and her former partner had their first of two children. According to Gold, at the time her mother liked to explain it as “‘Judith's roommate had a baby, and then Judith adopted him.'

‘Yeah, Mom,' Judith counters. We were splitting the rent, and I figured I should probably pay for half of the kid.” In 2002, Gold released a comedy CD titled Judith's Roommate is Having a Baby.

Gold and her “roommate” stayed together for nearly 20 years, until two and a half years ago. Now they live three floors apart in the same building on the Upper West Side (two blocks, Gold says, from where her mother grew up) and share custody of Henry, 10, and Ben, 5.

During her own childhood in New Jersey, Gold was typically a straight-A student (a piano and clarinet-playing, self-described band geek who stood six feet tall at age 13), except for one D she got on her fourth-grade report card for self-control. “They may as well have called it Future Addicts of America,” she quips.

Gold attributes her sole poor mark to boredom and an inability to pass up an opportunity to make her classmates laugh. She was especially fond of imitating her fourth-grade teacher, a woman with a penchant for singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” like an opera singer.

In college, she spent one summer as a toll collector on the New Jersey turnpike, filling in at exits nine through 13 depending on who was on vacation on any particular day. “It was the '80s, and people going to concerts at the Garden State Arts Center would give me joints,” Gold recalls. “And there was one time I had 12 trucks in my lane because the guys would get on the CB and be like, ‘Chick in lane four.'”

She also recalls being hit on by the manager for Exit 16. “He was over at my exit and said, ‘Hey baby, if you ever need a job over at the GW Bridge …' and I thought, ‘Wow, that is my goal in life.'”

Her real goal now is to have a sitcom featuring a gay family “that people could watch and forget the characters are gay.”

For a long time Gold never talked about being gay in her act, but she says she also never hid it from anyone. “I don't know what your sexuality has to do with your job, unless you're a professional gay person,” Gold says. “Being gay is just one part of who I am.”

But things changed after she became a mom. “Once I had children, I had really funny stories about being a gay parent, so I didn't hide it at all.” Gold marvels at how much less anti-gay prejudice kids grow up with these days. Once, one of her younger son's friends came home from a play date and whined, “Why can't I have two moms?”

But her third-grader plays a lot of sports, with teammates who sometimes call each other fags. He told his mother that he walks away when that happens because they don't realize that it hurts him more than the person they're saying it to. “He's very sensitive to it,” Gold points out.

Otherwise, Gold describes having a gay family as “smooth sailing.” She says: “You are the one in the driver seat. If you act like a freak — gay, straight or whatever — people are like, ‘Ugh, I don't want my kid to be around that person.'”

“But I want my kids to be proud of this family,” Gold says. “I'm not going to hide anything anymore.”

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