“The thing I think the most about now about coming out is how you just do it again and again and again,” noted Tegan Quin, of iconic queer rock duo Tegan and Sara, as the season-opening guest on the podcast Come Out, Come Out.
“Even if you get it wrong the first time, the good news is you’ll just have to do it tomorrow when you get in an Uber, and three weeks from now at a party, and two months from now at a wedding,” she quipped to co-hosts Mo Welch and Joanna Katcher. “You’re just always gonna be coming out. That’s sort of what coming out is, really. At least the biggest shock and surprise to me was that you don’t really get to do it once.”
No matter the array of differences represented throughout the LGBTQ community, one experience we share is that every queer person living honestly out has a coming out story, probably more than one.
So there should be no end of guests and material for comedian and cartoonist Welch and composer-producer Katcher, both lesbians, to cover in their first season as co-hosts on the show that Welch first launched years ago on Headgum podcast network.
“I sold it to Audible for a little bit,” recalls Welch. “And I wanted to bring it back because it really unites the community in a really fun way, in a way that I haven’t been able to reach in comedy.”
But she was ready to switch up her Come Out, Come Out solo act.
“I wanted it to come back, but I wanted it to be more of a hangout. It was great in the other forms, but it didn’t feel as fun as it should be. So I wanted to make it more fun.” It turns out that enlisting her friend Katcher added the fun Welch and the show had been missing.
Coming out stories, in all their good, bad, and ugly glory, serve as mere jumping-off points for Welch and Katcher to engage in-depth with guests like Feel Good star Mae Martin, Black Lady Sketch Show writer Lauren Ashley Smith, and of course, Tegan, an artist close to Welch’s heart.
“I remember listening to their music, just being so nervous and feeling ‘I’m not too cool for school.’ I was like a baby gay, relating their lyrics to girls I had crushes on. And it meant so much for Tegan to come on and be our first guest.”
Welch hopes Tegan’s twin Sara will pop in for an appearance as well. “We definitely want to get Sara on, and we thought it would be really cool to separate them in that way because even though they’re twins and they’re both gay, they have very different coming out stories, which is awesome because they’re in the same environment.”
Welch, who hails from Normal, Illinois, and resides in L.A. with her wife and child, says her own coming out didn’t truly sink in until she’d told her truth onstage. “Saying I was gay onstage, that was my epiphany of like, ‘Oh, this is a thing now, it is actually real,'” she says.
“I was probably like 26, and it took me a couple of years to come out onstage. I just really was tiptoeing around the subject, telling a lot of jokes that had nothing to do with my sexuality.”
She poured some of those jokes into Blair, the hilariously self-deprecating cartoon character Welch introduced in her illustrated tongue-in-cheek self-help book How to Die Alone: The Foolproof Guide to Not Helping Yourself.
After the book was created, but before it had been published, Welch spun off the character into a series of animated shorts on TBS Digital. And she hopes that Blair — who offers etiquette tips like how to hide when you see someone you know in public, or excuses to use when flaking on your boring friends — can one day have her coming out as a character embraced in an even bigger way.
“Actually, it’s kind of like Come Out, Come Out, because they’re the only projects I’ve done in my career where people come and they’re like, ‘I relate to this. Thank you so much. You’re in my head. This is exactly how I’m feeling,'” she says.
“And it’s community building. I was just so used to just doing standup, like getting onstage, getting off, and nobody was like, ‘Your standup is changing my life.’ So it feels good.”
Come Out, Come Out is on Audible, Spotify, Apple, and wherever you find your podcasts.
How to Die Alone: The Foolproof Guide to Not Helping Yourself is available wherever you buy books.
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