Comedian, Actor & Writer Judy Gold Shoots for the Big Time!
by Dann Dulin
Whether she’s playing a Rabbi on Showtime’s The Big C, dusting off her Emmy as writer and producer for The Rosie O’Donnell Show, co-hosting The View, or starring in the theater pieces, The Judy Show: My Life as a Sitcom and 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother, Judy Gold is a comic at heart.
I recently asked this self-described six-foot-three Jewish lesbian mom which celebrity she would like to have hot nasty sex with. Judy’s quick retort was, “Have you met my partner? I’d like to stay in a relationship with her.”
Her standup and monologues never veer from the truth, the comedy inherent in all of our lives. It accomplishes what she hopes good comedy does—it makes you think.
On her family, she says: “We never talked to each other in my family. We communicated by putting Ann Landers articles on the refrigerator.”
Her mother read bedtime stories, like a pop-up version of The Diary of Anne Frank: “‘Pull the tab, Judith. Dead! Alive!’”
As you can tell, nothing is sacred: “Prejudice is such a learned behavior. It’s amazing the things you can teach your kids.”
Outrageous and self-deprecating in her standup comedy, she’s a homebody at heart with a loving family. Her partner, Elysa Halpern, whom she met through a singles ad, and their two sons, Henry (sixteen) and Ben (eleven) live on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
In show business, one never knows when the next job will appear. “The best and worst part of this business is that one never knows. That’s the magic question, isn’t it?” begs Judy. However, the Jersey-bred girl most recently starred in the Off-Broadway show, Disaster! The Musical, a spoof of all those disaster movies from the 1970s. Judy also maintains a rigorous standup performance schedule appearing around the country, and she occasionally pops up on ABC Family’s Melissa & Joey. Like much of her aspirational material, as in the hysterically hilarious The Judy Show (“Even the project in Good Times was better than Clark, N.J.”), she hopes to one day have her own sitcom.
Between gigs, Judy continues to lend her energy to the HIV/AIDS community. Having lost numerous friends to the disease over the years,
she has volunteered for such organizations as GMHC and AIDS Service Center NYC (ASCNYC). Judy even worked the first AIDS Walk in New York….
Dann Dulin: What did you do?
Judy Gold: I would sign people in and collect the money. It was nice to be able to thank them personally.
Tell me more about your volunteer adventures.
In the eighties and nineties, I volunteered at God’s Love We Deliver. I’ve also worked with the Hetrick-Martin Institute, among many other organizations, oh, and also Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Speaking of the Great White Way, what was the first Broadway show you ever saw?
Well, the first one I remember seeing was Annie.
A classic show about optimism during some of our darkest days. When you think about the epidemic what comes to mind?
I remember all of my friends who died—it was a terrible time—and then I think about all of my friends who have survived. It also brings to mind how this disease really unified our community.
If you were at a podium, speaking about HIV/AIDS, with cameras all around you broadcasting to the nation, and you only had fifteen seconds left, what would you say?
It is preventable. Use your head.
When did you first hear about the epidemic?
In the early to mid eighties while I was in college [Rutgers University].
Who inspires you? Whom do you look up to?
There are many people who inspire me, but the ones who inspire me to be the best person I can be are my children.
Speaking of your sons…Henry and Ben are coming of age, how do you handle HIV prevention with them?
We’ve had many talks and they have met tons of my friends with HIV. They will be using condoms.
What other charities are near and dear to your heart?
Project A.L.S. My very close friend, Bob Smith, has ALS and this particular organization does so much research and works every day to find a cure for this horrible disease [for more information, visit: www.projectals.org].
I also support arts in the schools, anti-bullying, and marriage equality.
What motivates you to volunteer?
I am lucky. I have a home, a great family, and I am healthy. I believe in the Jewish concept of Tikkun Olam—to repair or heal the world. It is my responsibility to do something—to act on behalf of those who don’t have a voice. I couldn’t live with myself if there was something I could have done and didn’t do it. I don’t have a lot of money, but I can give back by volunteering and doing shows. Making people laugh is the greatest gift of all.
Tell me a secret, Judy.
I’m a comic. I have none!
For more information and upcoming appearances, log on to: www.judygold.com. Find her on Twitter @JewdyGold.
Dann Dulin is Senior Editor of A&U.