Comedian Judy Gold chats about the dare that changed her life and pandemic comedy

Comedian Judy Gold has not performed indoors in front of a live audience for a year due to the pandemic. But that’s about to change.

“I can’t believe I’ll be on a stage in a theater,” Gold said.

She’ll bring her comedy routine to a socially distanced, in-person seating show March 13 at the Fairfield Theatre Company. The show also will be available by paid live stream.

“I think I’m going to cry,” Gold said of the joyous expectation she’s feeling. “It’s been hard.”

Also an actor, writer and producer, Gold has appeared on CBS, HBO, Netflix, Comedy Central, Showtime, FX, the Food Channel and TBS. She won two Daytime Emmys for writing and producing on “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” and wrote and starred in two successful off-Broadway shows.

She considers herself “lucky” to have remained busy with work during the pandemic, including doing occasional comedy engagements on Zoom.

“I think I have them down, but it’s not the same,” she said. She misses a live audience’s reaction and participation.

“We all need to laugh so much,” said Gold, 58, speaking from New York City during a recent phone interview.

During the summer, she did some live outdoor shows in her hometown of Provincetown, Mass., New York’s Central Park and a drive-in theater in Queens, N.Y.

Audiences have been extremely appreciative despite the limitations, she said.

“It’s amazing how resilient comedians are,” Gold said. “All you really need is a mic and an audience.”

While attending Rutgers University, where she majored in music, Gold tried stand-up comedy based on a dare at age 19.

“The first time was in my dorm room lounge, and that was it for me,” she recalled. “I got high like I’d never gotten high from anything before.”

Many of Gold’s jokes focus on her being a lesbian, a mother and Jewish. Her upcoming Fairfield show will include commentary on her life experiences, relationships and two children.

“My comedy is brutally honest. I talk about things that get on my nerves,” said Gold, who has spent considerable time in Connecticut through the years, where she has relatives.

She’s appeared on shows such as “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” “The Today Show,” “The View” and “Inside Amy Schumer.” She’s had stand-up specials on HBO, Comedy Central and LOGO, and for more than a decade hosted HBO’s “At the Multiplex with Judy Gold.”

Her acting credits include the television shows “Madame Secretary,” “30 Rock,” “Two Broke Girls,” “Law & Order,” “Ugly Betty” and “Sex and the City.”

Her two off-Broadway plays, “The Judy Show: My Life as a Sitcom” and “25 Questions for a Jewish Mother,” brought recognition and awards.

“Judy Gold captures the audience from the moment she opens her mouth,” a New York Times reviewer wrote about one of her shows.

She performed in the New York Public Theater’s all-female Shakespeare in the Park production of “The Taming of the Shrew,” released three comedy albums and authored a book in 2020.

Her book “Yes I Can Say That: When They Come for the Comedians We’re All in Trouble” focuses on free speech, the First Amendment, cancel culture and political correctness.

Intent, context and nuance are often forgotten when judging comedy these days, according to Gold, leading to an assault on provocative expression by comics. “We won’t listen anymore because they said this or that,” she remarked.

Other comedians have praised the book and readers send her letters telling her they now understand “the art of stand-up more,” she said.

Her weekly podcast, “Kill Me Now,” highlights things that irritate her, and she plays the character Chaya in the FX Network’s comedy-drama series “Better Things,” recently renewed for a fifth season. Cast and crew members have been meeting several hours a day via Zoom, with people located throughout the country instead of all being in Los Angeles.

“It’s working,” she said. “You are focused. But you can’t read each others’ body movements and don’t get to do things as a group, like go out for a drink afterward.”

Gold grew up in New Jersey. “In my family, a sarcastic quip or clever line was like getting a hug,” she said. “It’s how we got positive reinforcement.”

Her unusual height also brought attention as she matured. “I’m really tall,” said Gold, who’s 6 feet, 3 inches.

Gold doesn’t hide her liberal political leanings and has been active in Democratic and gay causes.

Despite the comedic opportunities presented by former President Donald J. Trump, she’s thrilled he’s no longer in office. “Most of us would give up the last four years,” she said. “He usurped everything. That’s what he wanted to do.”

Joking about Trump was almost mandatory for comedians due to his large presence in American life and media.

“I was always aggravated at what happened that day and it’s what was on the audience’s mind,” Gold said. “As a comic, you have to talk about the elephant in the room.”

Judy Gold will perform at Fairfield Theatre Company at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 13. In-person tickets are $35 and streaming is $14.99. Learn more at .

Brad Durrell is a freelance writer.