A Flashback and Forward: "Romance" and Jill Sobule
In 1996, Tracey returned to the small screen, with her first full-time television series in six years, "Tracey Takes On". In its premiere episode, Tracey wasted no time showing just what could done on cable television, and more importantly, what it could become. With its added freedom, a no-holds barred public statement, (albeit, wrapped with humor), was not going to be an issue. It was a crap shoot that not only ended up benefiting Tracey, but made the future for cable television a reality.
The series' pilot episode introduced a whole slew of new characters, with sketches relating to the episode's topic, "romance". One sketch in particular made it obvious that this was not going to be just any ordinary sketch comedy show. It was prepared to dive into subjects that network television was not yet willing to go. For the episode's pinnacle climax , the inclusion of Jill Sobule's song, "I Kissed A Girl", was a no-brainer. Tracey, playing the fed up lover of a pro-golfer, played by Julie Kavner, finally decides it's time to make their love public. The two share a televised kiss, via the eighteenth hole, showing the world their love and commitment to one another.
The episode was the first of many gay-related sketches in "Tracey Takes On" during it's four series run, and GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, took notice. Tracey was awarded the GLAAD Award in 1997, and 1999 . Her continuance inclusion of gays and lesbians into her work, has made her not just a comic icon, but a gay icon as well.
It has now been 11 years since that pilot episode aired, and we thought, who better to look back with than the singer-songwriter whose song helped sum up that scene, than brilliant singer-songwriter, Jill Sobule?
Jill continues to share her music with audiences, and now adds "blogger" to her growing roster of roles. She is a contributor to the popular political news and blogging site, The Huffington Post, (or HuffPo, for those in the know). She also blogs via her web site, on Jill's Journal. Just like her songs, her blogs feature her infinite brand of wit, wisdom, and of course humor, we've come to love and expect.
Jill was kind enough to allow us to discuss her song, her music, her political role, and the state of the Gay and Lesbian community.
Did you see the "Tracey Takes On" sketch when it originally aired?
JS: I did see the show when it aired. I laughed so hard.
Expat: The "Tracey Takes On" sketch aired just ten years ago, the term "lesbian golfer" was referenced as an inside joke, with many players still in closet. Now, gay and lesbian sport heroes compete openly in many fields of athletics and are well respected. Are you happy with the progress the LGBT community has made in the last decade?
JS: OMG! So much progress has been made, to the point of--I am even
tired of lesbians on TV (well, maybe not). When Kissed a Girl came
it, it was "shocking" for the mainstream. Now it seems so mild.
However, having lived either in NYC and LA (as well as being in the
entertainment industry), you can get tunnel vision.
And yes you can be a famous out ex-tennis champ, but I bet it's not
as easy for a female college basketball player.
Expat: You must get massive requests for permission to use "I Kissed A Girl" in television and film. Are there any other gay-themed songs exuding the same free-spirited humor as, "I Kissed A Girl", that you could recommend?
JS: There is a really hilarious (and fairly sick) song, by John S.
Hall called Gay, Not Gay. It is way beyond, I kissed a Girl.
Expat: You currently contribute to the Huffington Post, a political online blog community created by political pundit, Arianna Huffington. Have you always been interested in politics and has the current political climate in the US compelled you to share your thoughts with the online community?
JS: I have been interested in politics since I was wee. Some of my
first good memories of TV was Watergate. I am about to start a blog
for Yahoo Music called The Provocateurs.
Expat: Lastly, you've said that you're working on a new album, how is that coming along and when will it be released?
JS: I bet that I will have a new CD out by next spring.
Thank you Jill, for continuing to share your thoughts and your stories through your music, (and blog!) Thank you for you time.
Jill's music on Amazon and iTunes
Jill's blog on The Huffington Post
Jill's web site
The Human Rights Coalition