By Rory L. Aronsky | July 13, 2006

“When I told my relatives, I actually got rid of a lot of annoying relatives.” – René Hicks on coming out.

Now’s the time for the planet to be sucked into an alternate universe, if only to make that idiotic gabfest “The View” different by employing new hosts. Does anyone on that show ever change? No. Does Joyce Behar ever become less irritating? No.

“Laughing Matters…More!”, a sequel to “Laughing Matters” which featured four different lesbian comics, has the right idea in between clips of stand-up performances by Elvira Kurt, Sabrina Matthews, René Hicks, and Vickie Shaw: The four of them sit on couches, just being themselves as they talk about various experiences in their lives of being lesbians and comedians and certainly both. Could you imagine if they took over that show? No fakery around famous guests. Hosts with genuinely compelling backgrounds. I know that “The View” hankers after the whitest of women, but this is a fine concept for a talk show with flavor, personality, and style.

One easily recognizable comedian out of these four is Sabrina Matthews, whom you may have seen on Comedy Central. Her performances have shown that in order to do stand-up comedy, you can’t be too gimmicky. There has to be more than just a walking joke on stage and since she fits the butch lesbian stereotype, she sets about confirming a few facets of that stereotype, while also showing what should be made more obvious elsewhere: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, straight, we’ve still got that whole human being thing in common.

The other women are just as remarkable. Hicks was born to a Pentecostal preacher and a religiously devout mother. Shaw, from Texas, struggled with being a lesbian after having had two kids and being married, because those close to her vehemently denied that type of sexuality. Being from Canada, Kurt has a unique perspective, as well as a Hungarian mother still not too pleased with her daughter’s choice, which leads to some humorous moments when she shifts her voice into her mother’s accent.

With filmmaker Andrea Meyerson quietly guiding her documentary, there’s none of the gloss overused by other stand-up films spotlighting a certain group of people. A lot has happened to these women in their past and present lives, and life is what it is for them. And no matter what happens, they will always be who they feel they are. Watching each of them perform and talk about their lives, and be interviewed separately, it becomes true once again that comedy can connect even the people most distant from what they don’t believe in, if they’re open-minded enough. With the brand of comedy from these women, barriers fall. There is an excellent time to be had from what they have to say and even though it likely won’t change the world so quickly, if at all, the time spent watching it gives hope that maybe equality among all kinds of people can happen. These women are funny. They just happen to be lesbians. They also have something to say. They also love, and hate, and worry, just like other people. In the course of watching this, there’s not much that’s different. We like to laugh, they like to make us laugh and also laugh themselves. Perhaps, if spread wide enough, documentaries like this can try to shrink the chasm between understanding minds and minds that refuse to understand. It’s worth a shot.

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