Book Review: Don't Get Me Started

Author: Kate Clinton
Title: Don’t Get Me Started
Call no: CLI

The product of an upstate New York Catholic girlhood, Clinton spent eight years teaching English before she took a leave, developed her feminist and lesbian consciousness and began writing. That writing turned into stand-up comedy. Since 1981, Clinton has been performing at festivals, universities and other sites outside the comedy club circuit.

This book collects her routines and anecdotes, many of which work as prose, though they clearly would be elevated by performance. In contrast to the mainstream themes of many other comedian’s books, Clinton’s pointed politics and lesbian frame of reference are showcased here. She chronicles the emergence of gays: “”We aren’t so much a movement anymore as a niche market waiting to be scratched.”” Lamenting the programmed world of Disney, she dishes, “”Old Walt must have been some kind of control queen.”” The Gulf War campaign she calls “”Operation Just `Cause George Bush Felt Like It.'””

Clinton’s comedy aims for more than the laughs, however. She recalls giving a great show in one small church basement in the South, with an audience “”in desperate need of some news about their lives.”” And even though Clinton claims to feel “”shame and guilt”” about doing talk shows, she recalls how one young lesbian said that seeing her on the Maury Povich Show was a consciousness-raising moment and a relief from depression.

Source: Publisher Weekly (