Joan Rivers, a Piece of Work is one of the best documentaries I have ever seen. Official Book Club Selection, A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin is one of the best books I have ever read. The Eyes of Tammy Faye, narrated by RuPaul, is still my favorite documentary of all time. My favorite movie is Funny Lady, which has nothing to do with the price of eggs at Weiss.
What I learned from Joan and Kathy is that one needs to establish a brand for herself. Joan Rivers, the self-deprecating, insult spewing, potty mouthed comedian in designer clothes, is a brand. Kathy Griffin, the gossipy, story telling, comedian on the D-list, is a brand. Did you watch Suddenly Susan, starring Brooke Shields, pre-cast member suicide? Joan played Kathy’s mother.
I remember the first time I saw Joan Rivers. She was a guest on Dinah Shore’s talk show in 1972, Dinah’s Place, along with Ann Miller and Betty White. Ann Miller tried to teach the others how to tap dance. Did you know that Lucille Ball discovered Ann Miller and arranged for her to have a screen test at RKO, and Ann Miller was the one who actually introduced Desi Arnaz to Lucille Ball? Ann Miller revealed all this in an interview conducted a year before she died. Did you know Lucille Ball preferred appearing on The Tonight Show when Joan Rivers was hosting because Johnny Carson made her a nervous wreck, and she was a guest on Joan’s failed talk show in 1986 during the first week it aired, pre-Edgar suicide?
Do you give a shit about anything I just told you?
If useless information were electricity, I would be a power plant.
Back to the point I was trying to make.
Joan and Kathy taught me that one needs to create a brand for himself and market it. As I have related in my posts of late, I struggled for years trying to find my audience, which was in front of me all the time – middle aged Jewish women. Once I found the audience, I still didn’t know the best way to market myself to them.
When I created this blog, I wanted it to sound like the set-up for a joke, “Have you heard the one about the Gay Jew in the trailer park?” He had a brown Cadillac Eldorado on blocks, a tattoo of his mother on his left bicep, and always wore a Masada Maccabees baseball cap.
At the time, I figured the blog was sort of an identity but not my brand; however, as the last year and a half progressed, I realized I might be onto something. The question became “Had I created a brand for myself? Was I the Gay Trailer Park Jew? Or the Trailer Park Gay Jew? Or the Trailer Park Fagella? Or Queer for Mobile Homes?”
I used to hate the word queer, but as I have grown older, I have learned to tolerate it. But still, I would rather be called pansy, sissy, queen, faggot, poof, wanker or just about anything besides queer.
My mother pointed out a line in the Torah about men wearing the garments of a woman being an abomination and said, “That is proof God hates queers.” I wanted to respond, “What is God’s opinion of whores?”
My brother just did a spit-take.
I didn’t say it because I was thinking about how fabulous I looked in her wedding dress, and I did look stunning.
The good thing about having a blog is I can ramble on in non-sequiturs without interruption. There is a point in here somewhere.
To see if I had actually established a brand, I started playing around. Well, I have always played around, but this time with my online identity. For example, on a couple of Gay dating sites, I changed my profile name from “Kosher Muscle,” “Tall, Dark & Kosher” and “Mah Jongg Muscle” … I have to stop for a second. Did I really think I would find a boyfriend with profile names like those? Especially Mah Jongg Muscle? How would I respond to messages? “Five Bam … Bam Bam Bam.” Get it? Like Bam Bam on the Flintstones. Mah Jongg people everywhere are laughing till they pee then laughing at that.
Last summer, I changed one of them to “Trailer Park Jew.”
Did it work? Well, I started getting message like this:
“You’re kidding right?”
“Do you actually live in a trailer?”
“Is your mother contemplating suicide?”
And my favorite:
“I think Jews are hot; they have big dicks!” That had nothing to do with living in a trailer park, but I liked it anyway.
I started to get dates, but it wasn’t long before I was suffering from Yoko Ono syndrome. Why did the Gay man go on a date with Yoko Ono? To see the apartment of course (I stole that line from Jeffrey). Guys just wanted to see my mobile home. Once they did, we didn’t see each other again.
You have to give me credit. I have fallen off the romance horse so many times, I have a black and blue butt, but I keep climbing back on and riding that stallion for all its worth. Yippy yi yay!
Once the curiosity seekers were weeded out, something more interesting happened. I started selling books and gaining followers on this blog. Out of all the profiles with names like “Bottom Seeker,” “Top Dog,” “Muscle Play,” “Cock Hound,” “Fist-Full-of-Crisco,” “Slave Puppy,” and “Hole to Abuse,” mine stood out. As if Mah Jongg Muscle didn’t stand out. It did, but not the way I wanted.
I then started getting messages about how they enjoyed the blog and couldn’t wait for my next installment.
I had become a Brand Name Jew! On the train the other day, a passenger came up to me and said, “Aren’t you the Gay Jew in the Trailer Park?”
OK, that didn’t happen, but wouldn’t it be great if it did?
I am now working with a public relations consultant to expand my brand. Keeping in line with my weird and confusing life, she is the ex-wife of an ex-boyfriend. And for once, I have an established brand to market. Just think, a few years from now, you will be buying furniture and accessories from the “Gay Jew in the Trailer Park” collection at Walmart! I know what you’re thinking. Don’t they already sell that at Walmart?
Lately, I have been looking for a second home to buy as a sort of retreat or future retirement property, and I have been researching trailer parks in various parts of the country. A friend of mine said, “Why are you so stuck on living in a trailer? Buy a condo or rent an apartment?”
I responded, “I am the Gay Jew in the Trailer Park, which is a lot more interesting than being the Gay Jew in a Co-op in Mission Viejo.”
If you can’t wait for my accessories at Walmart, follow me, join me, get on my mailing list, or buy my books at www.miltonstern.com.