I’ve always joked about how unique my voice is and it’s so incredibly annoying so right now the most challenging thing in my life is dealing with what I call my new voice my left vocal cord is paralyzed and I can’t get my voice back I’ve been very conscious of it because now I sound like Minnie Mouse and every time I stand up I have to explain it to the audience.
Some people think I’m joking but I was actually diagnosed with lung cancer in August 2021, without ever smoking, and the surgery to remove the cancer left me with pretty extensive nerve damage . But it’s funny, I think so many people like that sound better. If people’s attitude is like this then I have hit the jackpot.
The thing I do the most about Cancerians is when I go out to dinner if there’s something I don’t like I’ll yell can I have that again I have cancer then people ask what a stage and I have to say okay technically I’m cancer-free thankfully the cancer was completely removed with surgery and my six month and one year scans have been clear since then but I’m so confused about everything I try to keep a sense of humor too.
The thing I miss most and the thing that scares me about comedy in general is the loss of context and nuance. I’m able to look back at my work from 30 years ago and admit that I certainly can’t today. But now, we’re in a time where we’re obsessed with social media where we really have this universal lack of forgiveness.
In many ways who knows what life would have been like if this photo from 2017 holding the head of the famous Donald Trump Halloween mask on a wig holder had not been shared earlier on social media.
First of all the actual publications would not have posted this it should have been in a gallery not TMZ anyway so there was no context or nuance. People didn’t know about photographer Tyler Shields and didn’t know where I was coming from. I get frustrated because I think people don’t want to know the origin of something.
I guess intent doesn’t mean anything anymore. I think of my dear late friend Joan Rivers and her sharp wit and I suspect she’ll probably be canonized today when I think of the Fashion Police jokes. What Joan did in her final episode, I am sad to say but she could never do those jokes now would be considered too controversial.
An erasure is what the reaction to that picture was felt at the time and is still felt today. I was fired from my CNN New Year’s Eve hosting schedule with my friend Anderson Cooper. Theaters made bomb threats. I had my stand-up shows cancelled, I was investigated by the Secret Service, and more. Was put on the no fly list for months and I didn’t get a gig on TV for years.
It went down so fast and was so seismic At first glance I thought people were upset by the photo I laughed it off In fact I actually said that immediately in a phone interview where I said I didn’t apologize I have been beheaded in Syria.
The night of the Trump photo, I planned to have dinner at my house with Melanie Griffith, Rita Wilson, and Kris Jenner. I really had the worst day of my career and all three of them looked for a million dollars and I was in my PJs. It turned out that it was very surprising to talk to him that night.
There was more intense right wing hatred than I could have imagined but it was not surprising but it was hard for the left to be so swayed by this campaign against me it was too much for me.
I came to know that my old friends are not coming back. It still hurts to see Anderson Cooper hating on my picture because I really loved him. Andy Cohen says I didn’t know what hurt him after what happened because I really enjoyed my time at Bravo.
I think I’m still banned from most talk shows but Jimmy Kimmel and Seth Meyers were great they were the only two that would keep me going Aubrey Plaza brought a casserole two days after everything blew up I don’t think I even changed my pajamas. It was so special and meaningful. Those moments really do go a long way. It’s another person. Another beacon somewhere on the horizon.
But eventually I realized that I shouldn’t leave my house for a few months until everything slows down. Started taking every prescription pill I could find.