Hear My Story: A GLAAD x Audible Interview Series - Part III: Mo Welch

December 17, 2020

GLAAD has teamed up with spoken-word entertainment giant Audible to co-curate and produce a three-episode written interview series featuring LGBTQ spoken word artists.

Launching today, the last interview of our 2020 series features stand up comedian and cartoonist, Mo Welch, interviewed by Anthony Ramos, GLAAD’s Head of Talent. Welch appeared on CONAN in January of 2018 and in February of 2019, and has worked as a writer for Nickelodeon, TBS and CBS. Her comics have been published in The New Yorker, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Vice, among others, and she has been featured in Buzzfeed, The A.V. Club, Serial Optimist, and LA Weekly. The Chicago Reader called her "Hysterically Brilliant" and Splitsider calls her "impossibly cool". Her new Audible original, “Come Out, Come Out,” was just released today.

Check out GLAAD’s interview with Welch below:

Anthony Ramos: Spoken word art is a strong platform for elevating diverse voices, especially within the LGBTQ community. What do you think it is about this type of content that connects so distinctly across audiences?

Mo Welch: I can only speak for myself, but I find it easier to ingest podcasts, because you can listen to them on a walk, a drive, while your cleaning. Watching TV takes too much planning, I don’t have time for that. Such a to-do. When I’m listening to podcasts and audiobooks, I’m absorbing information and it’s affecting me. It’s intimate. Also, it allows the listener to be creative, imagining the world for themselves as they listen along.

AR: For many LGBTQ people, inspiration is often drawn from the role models and idols within our community who have changed the way we are seen, heard, and represented in society. Is there someone in the community who has inspired you or your work?

MW: I mean, coming up as a comedian, I couldn’t help but be inspired by Ellen [Degeneres] because she’s out. Wanda Sykes. Any queer comedian, I looked up to if they were out. As a stand up comedian, I’m more affected by the people that I came up with who were also gay. We were hosting open mics together and we were watching each others material either grow or die on stage. And either way it, like, connects you. To be gay, fail on stage and drink free beer together after the show. I’ve certainly been inspired by the people that maybe you know the public isn’t as familiar with yet. People like Ever Mainard and Ali Clayton, both on​Come Out, Come Out.​These people who the public doesn’t know their names yet, along with mine, but they affected me way more than famous people I’ve never met.

AR: Thanks to services like Audible, access to LGBTQ stories & content is now easier than ever. What kind of LGBTQ story still needs to be told / heard?

MW: I love talking about coming out stories because it does feel like a queer persons ultimate coming-of-age story.I mean, honestly I feel like I’ve had so many coming-of-age stories in my life. But I really feel like for a queer person, your coming out story is a turning point.

I love coming out stories, but also realize that’s not the only story we have to tell. I would love to see (and hear) more nuanced stories about a queer person as well. And obviously to draw from that, that’s just never-ending possibilities of stories.

(AR: I’m half Filipino and half-Irish. I recently saw a movie that had someone who looked like me play the lead. This is so rare and so wonderful to see).

MW: Yeah. There’s so many - I mean, even if you think of your life. There are so many moments in your life where you’re like, “I’ve never seen that on stage or film.” But a straight person might see all of those things already realized on a tv show or a podcast. Like the time I ate a loaf of bread before going to Homecoming and I looked pregnant. Why isn’t that a movie? Oh, because that movie is bad? Okay.

AR: You’re a successful comedian and cartoonist, have worked as a writer for various networks, and have spoken word content available in the form of podcast interviews and Audible content. How do your recorded spoken word performances differ from your written, drawn and in-person content?

MW: You know, I think the main difference from stand-up to podcasting is deleting jokes. I’ve trained myself to think in set-up+punchline in cartooning and writing. That formula gets old fast in podcasting. Somebody’s listening to me for ten hours and they want a real person. So I think it’s just letting things breathe and then, you know, I have a monotone voice sometimes. Putting energy behind that is a struggle at times. I’m just always at a chill 5.

AR: Speaking of your spoken word content, your new Audible Original series about coming out was just released! Can you tell us a little about what it was like to revisit/relive that part of your life, knowing that this series containing your story was going to be available for the world to listen?

MW: Yeah. I always thought my coming out story was boring, so I wanted to interview people who had more exciting stories than me. I loved pre-pandemic, when we could go to a bar or a dinner party or a dodgeball game and tell each other our stories. Revisiting mine, I unearthed some hilarious stories and awkward times. I really blocked a lot out. I investigated the last decade for this show. I left all of the embarrassing moments in. They are cringe to me, but I know people can relate.

AR: As we previously mentioned, you’ve had so much success with your stand-up comedy, writing, and cartoons. What drew you to tell your coming out story as an Audible Original instead of through a different medium?

MW: Coming out stories are intimate and this is a great medium to tell them. I think I had the best shot at making my guest feel comfortable enough to talk about such a fragile subject with podcasting. I’m glad I didn’t draw the stories, because the characters I draw look odd and I don’t want to offend my guest.