For several weeks now, I have been watching the “America’s Got Talent” television program, and later commenting on my Facebook page about the auditions, especially this year’s amazing crop of young performers. But a couple weeks ago, I broke from my tradition to instead post about a remarkable 63-year-old standup comedian named Julia Scotti. She had the audience in stitches with her wonderful and somewhat naughty routine. (I think that was Simon Cowell’s description.)
Most notable for me (and for many others, I’m sure) was Julia’s reply to AGT judge Howie Mandel’s question about her backstory, at 63 years of age. Julia paused to gather her thoughts, and then explained, “For the first 28 years of my life, I was known as Rick Scotti.”
This revelation was followed by several seconds of absolute silence, until her words registered with the panel of judges and the audience, who then broke out in an accepting and appreciative round of applause.
Comedian Julia Scotti
One Facebook comment to me was, “You could see their faces as they ‘got it,’ and there was nothing but respect for her journey and appreciation for her talent.” I am thankful that times have changed, that the public is now more familiar with and becoming more accepting of people who are transgender or gender-diverse.
Howie Mandel then observed, “Whether you’re a man or whether you’re a woman, you’re human, and you’re FUNNY! and you’re talented, and you’re brave.” Quite a moving moment.
Another of the comments to my Facebook post was that this performer’s routine was so terrific, wouldn’t it have been even better if there were no mention of Julia Scotti being transgender? To which I responded:
I believe the day will come when no such mention is notable, but for now, IT IS. And that is exactly why I was so moved to share this segment on Facebook – not for Julia’s brilliant set, (and it was indeed great), but rather for her coming out on national television, and being treated with the respect and appreciation she deserves.
But not all AGT performances rate such approval. I will write about that in the second part of this post.