Laugh Track: Julie Wheeler
The crooning lesbian comic shares her melodious mirth.
Photo: Bobby Miller
Comic and singer Julie Wheeler is the total package, she can rock, wail and croon like the King—in fact she even played Elvis on stage in Viva Las Vegas: the Musical, which she also produced—and she can bring down the house with her own unique brand of comedy. Now the sexy butch (once voted one of the Top 10 sexiest people by MetroSource magazine) talks serenading the ladies, butch visibility and drops her best line on us (spoiler alert: it worked).
There aren’t many lesbian comics who also sing. Is the singing lesbian comic a rare breed and if so, why?
Yes, we are a rare breed because we are a niche of a subset from a small percentage that resides in the venn diagram where music and comedy overlap. Which is almost as good as a puzzle wrapped in a riddle tied up in a conundrum—or a scallop wrapped in bacon.
When did you discover that you have ‘pipes’?
It was after winning the talent show in High School and graduating, my roommate and I started packing them in every Thursday at the local dyke bar in town and it was then that I thought I might have half a pipe.
Have you ever serenaded a girlfriend—or prospective girlfriend?
Yes, but I try and keep my inner Gleek in check.
What song do you sing in the shower?
I think it would be easier to answer which songs I won't sing in the shower: Dixieland Jazz and/or Barbershop Quartet. Everything else is fair game, sung at the very top of my lungs.
Lesbians take their music seriously and it factors into dating. What would be on your mix tape for a lady love?
Lesbians do take their music very seriously, I realized this the first time I saw k.d. lang’s face when she sang. But when I make a mix tape I try and keep it a bit light. I make sure I have a good mix of songs we both like and treat it like a party where I invite everyone’s music to see if it gets along. I just hope my favorite song doesn’t punch her favorite song in the face.
When a couple breaks up, the music collection is often fought over. Has this happened to you, and what is your advice?
William Congreve wrote that “music has charms to soothe a savage breast,” but obviously he’s never seen ex girlfriends fight over their shared music collection. This has not happened to me because my advice is to treat everything you bring into the relationship like a baby. When you put that CD on the counter in the store, look at your partner and loudly say, “Whose baby is this?” You may get weird looks at the Target, but it’ll be worth it in the end, trust me.
Which singer would be your ultimate duet partner?
Don Ho, the Hawaiian singer famous for his “Tiny Bubbles” song. We would tour as Homo and Ho.
You identify as butch. Do you think butches get short shrift in the media?
I do. But at the same time we’ve also come a long way. We have a lot more positive butch role models like Rachel Maddow, k.d. lang, Lea Delaria, Amy Ray, etc. for our young butches to look up to. In my day, we just had Alice from the Brady Bunch. But it could always be better, so I’m touring my new show “Butch Blanket Bingo” to explore some of these themes and let the young queers know not only does it get better, it gets homofabulous!
What’s your best comedy one liner?
I dated an Amish gal once, well to be fair I wasn’t sure she was Amish, but she did have a vibrator you had to pedal.
What’s your best dating line?
Pssst…wanna see a vibrator you have to pedal?
What’s the funniest thing about lesbians or being a lesbian?
I would never make fun of lesbians for a perceived stereotype, so can we all please stop wearing Crocs before it becomes one?
What’s up next for you?
I’ll be performing at the Red Rock Women’s Music Festival and the Iowa Women’s Fest, as well as, Sweet’s Isla Mujeres trip in September and Women’s Week in Provincetown in October. (TheJulieWheeler.com)