Tuesday, September 22, 2015

My interview with Margaret Cho!

For the full article on Queerty.com go to: http://www.queerty.com/margaret-cho-on-brojobs-fag-hags-and-donald-trumps-evil-ways-20150919

We asked San Francisco barman turned comic Yuri Kagan, author of Vodka & Limelight, to talk to Margaret Cho, one of his heros. Here is the conversation.
Like many budding homos, I adored Margaret Cho since All American Girl, the 1994 sitcom featuring the comic as the rebellious teenage daughter in a Korean-American family. My mother and I watched every episode together. As an American child of Russian immigrants I connected to her story as though it were my own. Growing up I was never American enough for many American kids because of my name, Yuri Kagan, bilingual upbringing and strange pickled lunch choices. I was too American for Russians to understand so I grew up in a kind of limbo. As a self-realized adult gay man and standup comic she became a kind of mentor and even friend.
I talked her as she prepared for a Sept 25 Showtime stand up appearance and the launch of her psyCho tour, which includes stops in San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles.
Queerty: First things first. What’s a “brojob”?
Margaret Cho: Is it where a straight guy gives another straight guy a blowjob?
That’s so weird. It’s fine. I don’t know if people want to keep those sort of labels to keep their heterosexuality intact? It’s like homosexuality exists regardless of identity, outside of anything. Gay sex is awesome!
What do you think of shows like Fresh Off The Boat being compared to All American Girl?
I love it because that really is what I was trying to do. For me it’s a dream realized. Seeing shows out there like Fresh Off The Boat and it’s something I had a bit of a hand in at the very beginning. I am happy to say I will be on the next Asian-American show. I will be playing Ken Jeong’s sister on Dr. Ken. It’s really cool. I think it’s exciting for me to have done this 21 years ago and finally seeing this happen is really extraordinary.
Your show helped pave the way.
I think it’s taken television a long time to come around to Asian-Americans. It’s been a journey. I am grateful to have been a part of that. I am just excited it’s happening.
In your up coming “psyCho” comedy tour, you plan in marrying couples.
I wanted to do this because I have been working on marriage equality since 2004. During that time, Gavin Newsom deputized me to perform weddings at City Hall. That was inspiring even though we were between gay marriage becoming legal, then banned over and over. It was a great triumph to be able to do that so I wanted to bring that energy and that celebration to these shows. A lot of the people coming to these shows had a lot to do with the fight for marriage equality. It’s our reward and it’s important.
My mom read about it and now has been trying to get my boyfriend and I to get married by you. It’s not good for me. The pressure is on.
I’ll marry you any time. It doesn’t have to be this fall.
Now lets get to tough questions. On a hookup do you prefer guest or host privileges?
It depends. Guest is always good. Hosting, at least you’re home. If it goes wrong at least you can make somebody leave. You never know what you are getting into at someone’s house, their living situation. You don’t know how clean it’s going to be. It’s very complicated.
Do you use Tinder?
I don’t know how! I’m pretty hopeless with any app.
Who is your favorite GOP candidate and which would you want to see in drag?
Chris Christie. He would probably be fishy. Donald Trump is not my favorite. He is disgusting. He is so awful towards Latinos and you know pretty much everybody… women. He’s a nightmare.
Have you met him?
I’ve never met him. He tried to get me on Celebrity Apprentice for a number of years, which I’ve really resisted because everybody I know that has done it has had such a bad time. I don’t know if I would want to meet him. I didn’t realize how terrible he was until he was actually running for president. The fact that he is the front-runner is really depressing.
If you were interviewing him on behalf of the country what would you ask him?
Why is it so hard to answer a question from Univision? Why can’t you give a reporter from Univision the same respect you give everyone else? His treatment of Jorge Ramos and his fear of Latinos opinion of him, he should be afraid. His racism is terrible. I think he’s got to own up to it.He for example targets Rosie O’Donnell publicly all the time. Do you think he targets her specifically because it’s her or what she represents as a voice for lesbians, a lot of minorities he may not like?  There are plenty of other comics who make fun of him without the same backlash.
He gets mad because she is an example of a kind of a faction he can’t control. He can’t control women who don’t need a man to define them. It’s the most terrifying thing for him. It’s like women who don’t need a man like him makes him irrelevant. That’s something he can’t have which is why he is always trashing Rosie O’Donnell, and by proxy any woman that doesn’t care what he thinks. His definition of a woman is somebody to service him sexually or service his games.
Uppers or downers?
So you’re a pothead?
And alcohol…  You know, I have never been an uppers person.  They make me too nervous.  It makes me feel really mean and dehydrated.
What’s a public misconception about you?
I think because I am so autobiographical people actually have many misconceptions.
Any advice for the fag hags of 2015?
We have to change our name which I address in the show. It’s outdated. Although, the new generation uses terms like fruit fly or fairy princess. I’ve never found anything as descriptive as fag hag but I do not like to use those terms even though it’s a part of our own history.
What is the next step for the gay movement?
We are going to focus on equal rights across the board. Now that marriage equality is in place, we’ve got to find the equivalent for gay families in terms of adoption. That’s where conservatives will try to restrict our rights. Our energy needs to go towards legislation of what is a hate crime and who are the victims of them.
What is #BeRobin?
This in response to our own grief surrounding the death of Robin William. Also it’s to celebrate his life of activism, compassion and history of street performance. Everyone has revolving different shows they are doing. They all just benefit homeless. I want to do more. There is a documentary coming out. There will be more when I go back to living in San Francisco more permanently.
Ed Lee spoke about cleaning up the homeless problem in San Francisco for the Superbowl.
I don’t know what that means. They are a part of the city. How do you clean that? By denying their existence? I’m all for helping people get off the streets but when it’s for a specific event you’re denying them. It’s not a solution.
If you could give 18-year old Margaret Cho advice what would you say?
Don’t worry so much. I would encourage myself to have more fun.
Yuri Kagan’s “Full-Frontal” is a comedy show produced by comedians Valerie Branch every third Thursday of the month at the Lookout bar in San Francisco. Half the proceeds go to #BeRobin.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Thursday, August 27, 2015

A recent article I wrote for Queerty.com

Check out this silly article I wrote for Queerty! Read the haters comments! It makes me happy to be a comic!

Link to queerty article

Friday, May 15, 2015

Five Things That Make A Great Bartender Other Than Being “Hot”

Here is a copy of the article I wrote for Queerty.com
Five Things.... Original article

To celebrate The Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic, Castro bartender, comedian and author Yuri Kagan came up with five things that make a great bartender.
1. “Hot” is not enough 
A six-pack, low cut T-shirt and looking great in tight jeans may initially land you a job in some establishments. But that’s it. Longevity in the job comes from personality, skill and multitasking oders. Personality is what wins the game. We’ve all been annoyed by pretty but incompetent servers who think that posing is all the job requires. Meanwhile, the line gets longer.
2. Don’t be a booze know-it-all
When a customer leans into your station, resist the urge to educate on the distillation process of various spirits or waste time on arguing the difference between top and bottom shelf vodka–unless the customer asks. People come to bars to unwind, not for a history lesson.
3. Create a show
It really is all about the drama, and not just at gay bars. You are the entertainment. (Along with the Kay Perry vids on the big screen or the ballgame.) Slow, busy, bar patrons are checking you out. Making the mundane look interesting is key. Keep up several conversations while mixing your fabulous concoctions. Tell stories. They don’t even have to be true as long as they are interesting. A true bartender has the gift of being able to keep a conversation going seamlessly among multiple people.
4. Size matters
Don’t be obvious about how precise you are measuring the alcohol content of a cocktail. It makes people think that they are getting less alcohol–even if the opposite is true. People who think they are getting stiffed don’t return. Be generous.
5. Good guys finish first
Smile even when your heart is aching. In fact, don’t talk about your personal life at all. Ever. Patrons are there to have fun, not be your therapist. It’s just sending your life down a rabbit-hole without the benefit of a hallucinogenic. No one needs to know all about your BS. People come to unload their problems and not hear about yours.
The Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic is almost here. Eleven cities have already picked bartenders to send to the Grand Finale in Key West, with just two West Coast events remaining–Seattle (May 17) and San Francisco (May 27).
Comedian Yuri Kagan has spent the past decade bartending at watering holes around San Francisco. From thumping gay clubs like Badlands and mixology taverns like Blackbird to dives like Edge. Check out his book, Vodka & Limelight.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A recent comedy set

Here is a set in the works... Polishing a turd.


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