May 2012 Cover Story by Diana Phillips, Senior Staff Writer - IgniteSA Magazine
Bridget McManus: On Comedy, Art, and Winning the Golden Ticket
by Diana Phillips, Senior Staff Writer - IgniteSA Magazine
“I wanted to be a stand-up comedian since I was a fetus and I have the photos to prove it,” Bridget McManus asserts. “Well, I don’t actually have a fetus photo but I can try and track one down for you.”
McManus, a Los Angeles-based comedienne and actress known for creating and starring in her own TV shows Bridget McManus Presents: That Time of The Month and the popular vlog series “Brunch with Bridget” that aired on the Logo Network, first became enamored with comedy at an early age. “I remember watching The Carol Burnett Show and being mesmerized by her monologues. I felt as if Carol was talking directly to me in my living room,” she says.
Like Carol Burnett, McManus is a fearless comedic force and has been performing stand-up for five years. Her style is conversational, personal, provocative, and uninhibited. Early in her career, McManus was kicked off the stage at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles for being “too dirty.” She’s joked about masturbating as a young girl to images of Princess Diana but her favorite joke is a sing-along she wrote called “You Wouldn’t Fuck Me When I Was Fat, Fuck You Fuck You!” McManus, who has graced the covers of BOUND Magazine and Curve Magazine’s “America’s Funniest Lesbian” issue, has been open about her struggle with weight, sharing with audiences that she has gained and lost 70 pounds three times in her life.
At age fourteen, McManus came out as a lesbian, disclosing first to her older sister, Audrey. “She responded by saying ‘That’s awesome!’” McManus recalls. “I mean, c’mon that’s the best reaction ever, right?” A few years later her sister came out as bisexual; both are now married to women. “I was nineteen when I told my mother I was gay and she took it very hard. She didn’t talk to me for about three months because she felt that me not telling her sooner meant I had been lying to her. It definitely took her some time but now my mother is the ideal supportive parent and she loves my wife, which is very important to me.”
Her wife is Karman Kregloe, writer, musician and Editor-in-Chief of AfterEllen.com. They met at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles when Kregloe came to one of McManus’s shows. “The moment we saw each other we both froze. It was love at first sight. We eloped six months later,” McManus recalls. They were married during the small window between June and November 2008 when same-sex couples were legally granted marriage licenses in California - before voters passed Proposition 8, an amendment to the State’s Constitution that provided “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized.” In February, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional but has yet to lift the ban, pending further appeals.
“I really can’t believe the world is still fighting over marriage equality. Millions of people are out of work, children are dying of starvation and we’re still fighting over the definition of marriage. It’s so absurd and insulting,” McManus says. “Marriage equality will mean that the world is one step closer to being unified. Everyone, gay and straight, should support gay marriage because all human beings are equal and should be treated as such.”
“Being gay is like winning a golden ticket into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory,” she says, “A factory run by intelligent, funny and sexy women.” McManus is one of them. A graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and the famed Second City conservatory program in Los Angeles, McManus writes a daily column for AfterEllen.com called “Afternoon Delight,” and is currently working on her third comedy special, “Chaos & Cleavage.” She recently shot the second season of “McManusland,” a mockumentary series about her life starring her wife Karman, their dogs, and cat Shelby, and two new webseries: “Batgirl: Spoiled” about superheros, and ”The Throwaways,” a drama about homeless gay teens in Chicago.
McManus is also a talented painter. “Until recently I was a closeted-painter. I didn’t even tell my wife that I painted,” she says. At NYU, McManus worked as the assistant scenic artist for the drama department’s undergraduate main stage productions (including Hamlet Machine starring Bryce Dallas Howard), but after graduation she didn’t pick up a paintbrush for over 10 years. “Now I’m up every night until 1:00 a.m. creating dark forests, portraits of 1970s rock stars and Gustav Klimt-inspired acrylic paintings.” McManus recently had her first gallery showing at the Liberty Arts Gallery in Long Beach, California.
Her pieces are available online at etsy.com/thebridgetmcmanus
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