The Three Times I've Gotten Booed

Categories: Advice

fans-booing.jpg
No, not the three times I was with my boo.

I've never had a boyfriend for more than two and a half weeks.

I'm talking about the incidents--seared inexorably into my memory--when an audience turned on me and started jeering me off the stage.

Let me relive the horror by recounting them for you in detail:


*A 1990s revival of The Bad Seed in that conflicted home of political correctness, San Francisco.

A crowd had come to see the movie about a demonic killer child, all dressed up in drag and thrilling to the film's twisted turns and sick bits of campy dialogue. But when I interviewed the film's ex child star Patty McCormack onstage, they got anxious. At one point, I asked McCormack how JonBenet Ramsey's awful situation reflected on her own experiences, and how Patty had managed to avoid the dark side of kiddie stardom. It was something we had discussed over dinner the night before, and Patty had approved it as a topic! But the audience started booing, feeling it exploitive, cheap, and dreadfully incorrect. At a Bad Seed revival where they were cheering the character's hilarious killings! Ugh. I'm staying in New York.


*The Lambda Literary Awards, sometime in the aughts.

I sat through the long awards dinner, waiting literally three hours to get up and present an award, as I'd promised to do. I nobly sat through speech after speech, and finally got up and do my thing, anxious to sparkle already. By then, the audience was about 20% sparser than it had been, because some of them simply couldn't take one more speechifying moment. But those who were left apparently still had some fire in them. When I approached the mic, I innocently started with, "Hey, guys." Well, as if hit in the groin by a crowbar, the crowd impulsively started yelling "boo" and drowned out the rest of my remarks! I was stunned, not realizing that you're not supposed to say "guys" because it's patriarchy-centered and demeaning to women, etc, etc. Gee, sorry, guys...I mean folks. I didn't realize that one slip of the tongue negated my entire career.


*The Miss Lez contest at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, earlier this year.

My first remarks into the mic had to do with how my fellow judges were a retarded bunch. I meant it in the post-modern, word-deflating, ironic tone that I thought had become popular among hipsters. Wrong. "Boo! Boo!" they yelled. "Shut up," I screeched. "All right, mentally challenged."

Actually, I just remembered a fourth time: The Miss Lez pageant before that! I asked a contestant a question about "consensual incest," as described in a celebrity memoir. "Boo! Boo!" Oh, fuck you, retards, I mean guys, I mean....

Ugh. Crawling under a rock now.


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7 comments
Southern Dave
Southern Dave

Isn't it an occupational hazard of putting yourself out there? Jimmy Durante made a career out of being comedically "mortified."  Playwright Simon Gray loved to tell of  one critic who used a play of his as an argument to bring booing back into the theater.

Perhaps the best way to deal with it is what you've done, Michael: make hay out of it.

I've participated in a couple of documentaries and -- much against my better judgement -- was persuaded to go to a party/viewing of one.

My first appearances netted a couple of much-appreciated laughs, but when my talking head bobbed up again, a woman seated directly behind me said quite audibly, "Oh, no, not HIM again."

I turned around and in my best Eve Arden delivery, said, "Thanks. I like you, too."

Geraldine Winifred Visco
Geraldine Winifred Visco

Michael, there's nothing worse than phony politically correct aholes -- THEY are the ones who are incorrect and boring. I led a gender panel for trannies (oops, I mean transgender!!) at NYU which featured some fabulous speakers but several of the boring attendees hissed and booed when I suggested using the pronoun IT instead of he and she. I was serious -- if dogs and cats are called IT, why not us?!  They were also incensed by me asking one of the female to males if he (IT?!) felt he was discriminated against by the government or by people in general.  I mean, that was the whole point of the talk -- to talk about ISSUES!!  And YES, the person HAD been discriminated against and detained while trying to get a passport. You did the right thing by screaming at the morons.  The insistence on adherence to some dumb pronoun, the fake terminologies, the joyless lack of humor and playfulness, the censorship of meaningful dialogue -- FUK 'EM!  Being queer means NOT being uptight and joyless. 

Jonster
Jonster

Were you talking to that contestant about "Incestua," Ellen Burstyn's altered ego in her memoir.

Vivi
Vivi

Thanks for sharing these stories. They're hilarious and yet sad in the way they reflect on humorless, uptight people who bring down society with their entitlement.

Ick
Ick

Ugj. There is nothing more boring and deadening than a politically correct gay.

Musto
Musto

"Oh no, not HIM again" should be on my tombstone.

Musto
Musto

Exactly! And some of the uptight, humorless LGBTS really should be called "It."

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