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Monday, September 12, 2011

Marga Gomez Comes Out of a Different Closet in her new Solo Piece Not Getting Any Younger

Posted By on Mon, Sep 12, 2011 at 8:30 AM

Marga Gomez will tell you herself: Not Getting Any Younger - KENT TAYLOR
  • Kent Taylor
  • Marga Gomez will tell you herself: Not Getting Any Younger

Marga Gomez is a stand-up comedian and solo performer. Her eight previous performances include Long Island Iced Latina and Marga Gomez is Pretty, Witty & Gay. Now Gomez, who long ago came out as gay, comes out as, well, aging in Not Getting Any Younger. It opened last week at the Marsh Theater, where she did her first solo show, Memory Tricks.

We recently talked to Gomez about deception, how children rule the economy, and dealing with drunken hecklers.

What led you to do this show?

Sometimes I tend to book a show and then decide what is eating at me, what's driving me, what am I avoiding. Like my first show was about my mom. I had a chance to do a solo show, so I booked it, and then I thought, "What am I going to do? Oh yeah, I'm really freaked out about my mom."

So I booked this show, and then I thought about what I needed to write about. I'm in a relationship with someone who's about 20 years younger. Even before that I had issues about age, but being in a relationship with that big of an age difference really does cause a bit of stress.

I've had this long career, and I spent a few years in L.A. doing movie work and I've kind of been indoctrinated into this belief that aging devalues your work -- and it does. Not really, but in the marketplace it's not good. Or in the dating place unless you want to date somebody old. But who wants to do that? [Interviewer laughs hysterically.] I was talking to Stephanie Weisman, the artistic director of the Marsh, and I wanted to do a weekly comedy show, and she said, "Why don't you do a solo show?" and I said okay. Then I thought this is really bedeviling me, it's causing me anxiety and it's ridiculous -- all good ingredients for comedy.

Was this show hard to write?

Yes, because I feel like I'm coming out. I started being a performer by coming out, but I haven't really addressed the fact I'm a middle-aged woman now. Even saying that is hard for me, and I obviously am. Anybody can do the math and figure out I'm not in my 30s, but I would try to deceive as long as I could, and now my back is against the wall and I'm cornered and I'm fighting from the corner.

Were you trying to deceive people about your age?

In my career I leave out a lot of references about where I was, certain significant points in history, and what kind of music was around then. So I will do these two-hour biographical pieces, and you're not quite sure when this happened.

"Okay, that's it! Thanks and no questions please!"

In this show, I'm not saying I'm completely self-revelatory, but I am able to talk about my childhood and talk about growing up without Internet and not because we couldn't afford it, but because there was no Internet. It's been really fun to be able to go into some detail about my life and go into some of the kitschy stuff that came with my childhood.

There's one story I tell about this dysfunctional household I used to party at, and this girl had a really messed up dad who was kicked out of the Marines, and he would be the chaperon for birthday parties. I play this guy, and it's just awful because I sort of lunge into the audience a few times. But they like it when I do it as a Marine. [laughs]

You've done this piece in workshops a few times. What did people respond to the most?

I was really surprised that I got a lot of support for lying. The younger people didn't understand and thought I should tell the truth, but the people over 40 were like, "Yeah, that's okay, you really don't need to say anything." That was very interesting because I started out thinking the show would be me just blurting out my age and that was it. "Goodnight! And can I have your $15? I think I've done enough." I was lucky enough to do the workshop phase with Ellen Sebastian Chang and she just said, "No, you don't have to tell them." At certain points I was saying, "No, this is wrong. I did this whole thing to be an honest person," and she said "You're being honest by lying." That's what I found in the workshops, the more I was committed to playing this game, the more real and honest I was.

  • Kent Taylor

There were certain stories they enjoyed -- about being a child where we did bad things to old people. I'll be old enough to be pestered by children, so it's all karma, baby. Part of the show is also my outrage about how I was raised compared to how children are raised now, and how I was ordered about and repressed, and now children rule the economy. Now everything an artist does is so 12-year-olds will like you and give you a thumbs up on the Internet.

What are you most excited about with this show?

I'm not questioning anything anymore. For better or worse, this is the piece. I feel really good about it. The last place I workshopped, it was at a festival in New York and the audience was filled with a lot of artists I love and respect, and the response was great. Well, the first night wasn't so good -- I had a drunken heckler. Because I do stand-up, this will happen. When I'm doing a theater piece, I'm doing my art, but sometimes drunks will just see my name and think it's comedy show, and I'm talking about ass, so they'll arrive drunk and that is a nightmare really. She was talking to me, and I got mad because I had had very little sleep. My girlfriend was in the audience, and she told me, "You were a little hard on her." I said, "No, they loved me," and she said, "No, they were scared of you." The second night I had a little more sleep and just rocked it.

Not Getting Any Younger plays at the Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), S.F., through Oct. 23. Admission is $18-$53.

For more events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.

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