As I mentioned before, some of the most devastating things that happen to you will teach you the most.
The way I ended up on this path was from a very tragic event.
When I finished school I was completely lost, I didn't know what I wanted to do.
I really... I had no ambition.
I didn't know what I wanted to do.
I did everything from I shucked oysters, I was a hostess, I was a bartender, I was a waitress, I painted houses, I sold vacuum cleaners, I had no idea.
My girlfriend had been killed in a car accident and I was uh, we were living together at the time
My brother's band was performing and uh, we had broken up.
We fought a lot.
She was trying to get me to come back home, I acted like I couldn't hear her because the music was too loud.
I was planning on moving back in, I just was trying to teach her a lesson and I was staying with some friends.
So I just acted like I couldn't hear her and I was being really just dismissive of her.
She had left before us and as we were driving home, we saw a car and it was split in two and we heard sirens behind us so it had just happened.
Nobody was there yet and we just kept going.
And I found out shortly after that it was her.
And I was living in a basement apartment.
I had no money, I had no heat nowhere, I had a mattress on the floor and the apartment was infested with fleas and I was soul searching.
I was like why is she suddenly gone and there are fleas here?
I started this path of stand up and it was successful and it was great but it was hard.
Because I was trying to please everybody and I had the secret that I was keeping that I was gay and I thought if people found out, they wouldn't like me, they wouldn't laugh at me.
At the time you told your dad, he was with... you know his new wife, right?
And your stepmother, and what happened?
Well, actually he told me that he figured it out.
I was upset about something and he kept saying "Did you rob a bank? Did you kill somebody?"
And I kept saying "No, I just don't wanna tell you" and finally I told him.
And actually he told me, and uh, then they asked me to move out of the house.
She had two little girls that they worried that it would influence them.
You know, still everything was fine, it was just that they didn't want me living in the house with the two little girls which really hurt because I loved them, you know.
I finally decided that, I was living with so much shame and so much fear, that I just couldn't live that way anymore.
And I decided to come out and make it creative and my character would come out at the same time and it wasn't to make a political statement, it wasn't to do anything other than to free myself up from this heaviness that I was carrying around, and I just wanted to be honest.
And I thought, "What's the worst that could happen? I can lose my career".
I did, I lost my career.
I got... the show was cancelled after six years without even telling me; I read it in the paper.
Um... The phone didn't ring for three years.
I had no offers.
Nobody wanted to touch me at all.
Yet, I was getting letters from kids that almost committed suicide but didn't because of what I did.
And I realized that I had a purpose.
And it wasn't just about me and it wasn't about celebrity, but I felt like I was being punished and it was a bad time.
I was angry, I was sad, and then I was offered a talk show.
And the people that offered me the talk show tried to sell it.
And most stations didn't want to pick it up.
Most people didn't want to buy it because they thought nobody would watch me.
Really when I look back on it, I wouldn't change a thing.
I mean, it was so important for me to lose everything because I found out what the most important thing is to be true to yourself.
Ultimately, that's what's gotten me to this place.
I don't live in fear, I'm free; I have no secrets and I know I'll always be okay.
Because no matter what, I know who I am.
For me, the most important thing in your life is to live your life with integrity and not to give in to peer pressure to try to be something that you're not.
To live your life as an honest and compassionate person, to contribute in some way.