I think we can all agree — Caitlyn Jenner sharing her transition with the world is one of the most courageous events in recent memory. To so boldly and selflessly bring to the fore what is a poorly understood and often hatefully maligned phenomenon has given the transgender community the opportunity to open a dialogue and share their experience with the world on more equal footing.
However, one of the saddest and most despicable aspects surrounding Caitlyn’s public transformation is how anyone and everyone has tried to hitch their wagon to her struggle and capitalize from the reflected publicity.
In a lot of ways, this sort of cynical move reminds me of the character I play in my new web series, City Days. He’s like this comedically heightened version of myself — you know, me in a lot of ways, but much more selfish and self-serving. Think Curb Your Enthusiasm, but for the younger set.
God, Caitlyn is so brave. So, so brave.
In some ways, I suppose this gross behavior is to be expected. Anything worthwhile and of lasting cultural and societal value — such as Caitlyn facing her transition straight on, no holds barred — is going to attract the vultures, right? But she’s more than proven that she can handle adversity in the face of ignorance and opportunism.
And handling adversity — or maybe avoiding it — is exactly what it’s all about in my web series: a group of 30-something Brooklynites who are just trying to figure out who they are in this world and the comedy comes out of that, you know?
They’re real, character-driven laughs — very authentic. Authentic just like Caitlyn Jenner, come to think of it. But what’s completely inauthentic are all these leeches, trying to achieve some sort of notoriety on the back of what should be viewed as a pure, inspiring journey, free of anyone else’s careerist goals.
My manager, Ken, is totally sick of it, too. Which is why, when he told me that I should do a web series as a proof of concept for something FXX or maybe Comedy Central would be interested in, he said, “Don’t be a big phony. People will see that from a mile away.”
And that’s why I’m taking a page from Caitlyn Jenner’s book, and presenting my honest experience of the world — albeit, with a hilarious, unexpected twist. When you publicly transition your gender identity or make a comedy web series to get your face out there more, people are going to relate to it, as long as you’re telling your truth. That’s why Caitlyn and I are both so brave, in exactly the same way.
So Caitlyn, if you ever want to do a project together, drop Ken a line and we’ll get back to you when we get the chance.