really understand it. All of my problems with my family are really cultural. Korean parents have a kind of style of parenting that is about coldness, different foundations. It's about this objectivity that is, I think pretty damaging if you're not in Korea, if you're growing up in the western culture where you see such incredible affection between kids and their parents. In friend's homes you're thinking, "Well, why aren't my parents like that? What's happening?" I have this really good friend who's Jewish. He and his family are very close, and they all kiss each other on the lips. That is positively shocking to some Koreans.It's totally weird. It's like, "Oh my god!" My parents were just so not like that—hands-off! You know? So, as I got older I started to understand that style of parenting, and I started to understand them. That made us a lot closer.
In your shows, of course we love it when you poke fun at straight men. But we're going to give them a break here, and ask you who are your straight male heroes or icons?
I have a lot of straight male icons! I love lots of different people: Bill Clinton, the boys from Y Tu Mama Tambien, although I don't know if they would be called straight. They are so cute! There are a lot of guys that I love—all the straight men in my life, which are many. And I love my boyfriend, who is straight and who's great. I make fun because in society there's a great lack of making fun of straight guys. There's a celebration of their stupidity, which is apparent on things like The Man Show. They're totally into that. They're excited by their stupidity. I don't think their stupidity is that great. So I like to call attention to it. I think my view is pretty limited, meaning you don't see a lot of people saying what I'm saying about them. So I'm happy to.
Do you ever see yourself starting a family, or do you have your hands full with your animals?
Oh, I definitely want a family. I have children in my life now that aren't mine, but I'm ableto love and care for them asa great aunt and godmother, which is a wonderful thing.I really love kids and I want to have them.
In your book there's a whole section about your "marriage fantasy." How do you see marriage now? Do you have a different take on it?
Well I do. I mean, I don't look at it as a fantasy. Now it's just kind of like, well, it's an option. There's a possibility there. I don't really think that it's necessary for me to want to do that—I don't really care anymore. I mean, I think that things and what I value have changed so much in my life, that that kind of weird exterior stuff doesn't really matter anymore.
Sort of like the Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins kind of attitude.
Yeah, it's like, who cares?
In the chapter called "Woodshed" in your book, you talked about how you had written a screenplay and what happened when you tried to get it produced. I'm wondering if you ever look at that screenplay now and think, "God damn it, this is good. I still want to make this?"
Yeah, I want to make a feature. I actually want to produce a new feature in the fall. The movie that I wrote is not really appropriate for what I'd like to do now. Maybe it would be for somebody else. But what I'd like to do is a new film. I don't really know what yet, but I do plan to do that later in the fall.
What projects are you working on now?
I'm working on writing my new show. I'll be in Provincetown working on it through the summer, which will be a lot of fun. I have friends there and to me it's like a wonderful artist's retreat, a little hideaway. I'm looking forward to that. So yes, I'm just writing new stuff and possibly working on a new book and movie in the fall. So, there's lots of stuff.
Well we're looking forward to it all. Thank you so much!
Interview by Kent Martin & Grace Moon / photos by Matteo Trisolini Summer 2002 premiere issue no 1.