Theater & art

Judy Gold talks career, mother, new documentary

Brian Ach/Invision for The Trevor Project/AP Images


Judy Gold


Gold begins a monthlong run of stand-up comedy at the Art House in Provincetown on Aug. 4. Gold won two Daytime Emmy Awards writing for “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” and was twice nominated for the American Comedy Awards’ funniest female stand-up comic. She appears in “Making Trouble,” a documentary that looks at the history of female Jewish comedians. Tickets for the Provincetown show are $25-$35. 508-487-9222,

Q. I heard you recently had knee surgery. Are you going to Provincetown to recuperate?


A. Yes, completely. I can walk with a cane, but I can’t ride my bike, I can’t exercise. It’s really hard. I feel like I’m 97 years old. All this time I’ve been cursing behind people who couldn’t make it up the stairs quickly. Now I’m that person.

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Q. If it makes you feel better, I’ll curse if I’m stuck behind you. Tell me about the show you’ll be performing here.

A. I’m doing stand-up comedy.

Q. Just straight up stand-up?

A. Well . . . not straight. I can’t manage to do many things straight [laughs]. God, I’m funny.


Q. I just pitched a softball for you. Tell me about the TV show that you’ll be doing.

A. It’s called “NickMom Night Out” on Nick this fall. There is a block of programing that’s going to be for parents. I’m hosting a stand-up show, like the kind they had in the 1980s and ’90s. It’s parent- and family-oriented.

Q. Your material is a little salty. Are you able to rein it in for basic cable?

A. I have been doing this for almost 35 years. Look, I know how to make things TV clean. It’s a whole different ballgame. In the club there’s really no holds barred. I love being in the club. TV is a challenge, but it’s good.

Q. When you’re in Provincetown, you don’t have to rein anything in.


A. Exactly. If anything, I’ll be reining it out.

‘My mother loves it when I talk about her. Half the time I think she says things that she knows will go straight into the act.’

Q. When you won your Daytime Emmys writing for Rosie, did you know that she was playing on your team?

A. I have known Rosie for so many years. I always knew she was playing on my team. She never kept it from the people around her. I don’t think anyone really pressured her to stay in the closet or come out. That solely was her decision. She was a trailblazer. It wasn’t as safe then as it is now.

Q. You must have a great relationship with your mom. You’re endlessly picking on her.

A. Mother humor is such a universal theme. I wrote a show called “25 Questions for a Jewish Mother.” I had people coming up to me after the show saying, “I’m Baptist and my mother is just like yours.” Then I have some woman, and she’s all goth and everything’s pierced, and she says, “Oh my God, my mom is just like yours.” And I think, “I don’t think so. My mother would kill me if I had piercings all over my face.” My mother loves it when I talk about her. Half the time I think she says things that she knows will go straight into the act.

Q. She’s quite a muse.

A. She’s turning 90 in August and I am concerned. I’ve told her that she cannot die because I will have no income.

Q. That’s so caring of you.

A. I’m not selfish at all. I do think that I’m really lucky because she is a gem with these comments that she makes.

Q. How did you get involved in “Making Trouble”?

A. The filmmakers called me up and told me that they were going to get a bunch of comics together to discuss legendary Jewish female comedians and interview us at Katz’s deli. They said we could eat whatever we like. I heard, “You can eat whatever you want,” and that sold it. I sat at the table talking about Joan Rivers and all these amazing women who really paved the way. Meanwhile, I’m eating pastrami. I have knishes and coleslaw. If you watch the movie, I’m just shoving food in my face.

Christopher Muther

Interview was edited and condensed. Christopher Muther can be reached at muther@globe
. Follow him on Twitter @Chris_Muther.