Getting OLDER by Comic, Actor, & Producer JASON STUART – June 2, 2013

jason_063CFN – What do I say about finding a new hill to climb?    I am  over 40 (OK, way over 40) and wondering where I fit in as a gay comedian, actor, as an artist …as a man. Friends are getting sick, my dad passed away and I realize time is passing and I can’t go back. There is no redo.

It is hard enough for anyone to get old, but being an older gay man in show business is like being invisible in the good ol’ USA. But I am not alone – women actresses my age have an even harder time than I do.  My lesbian sisters are rarely seen in film & TV, at any age.

What’s next? I have hope. Three of my most recent films were helmed by directors under 30 who actually honored that I was older.  Ironically, it is more my peers who are ageists, refusing to release their stereotype of what middle aged is.  They even seen miffed at the possibility of Why not?  Why not cast this part older? After all, the Baby Boomers are all over 50 years old next year, so what entertainment will they pay for if Hollywood remains obsessed with the 18-25 demographic?

I challenge the media to start the conversation with and about people over 40. We have the money to spend. Make us use it!

Meryl Streep said it best on 60 Minutes – we talked people over 40 out of going to the movies. We told them not to go.    As Jessica Lange stated: “I’m ready to do my best work and there are no parts written for me.”  What are the Boomers going to watch if the media doesn’t put us onscreen, telling our stories?

So let’s let them know we want to go to the movies, see great theatre, buy songs, read books and watch comedy in the clubs!   Let’s support the entertainment out there that celebrates age, experience and history.

But remember, it is also up to us to make the change happen: Get out there and create your art! Write, sing, publish.

And lastly, to the media: Listen.

JASON STUART celebrates his 20th Anniversary of being an openly gay actor and comedian in the workplace. He is grateful for how much has changed for openly gay performers, but as the National Co-chair of the SAG/AFTRA LGBT Committee, he  looks forward to the results of the Williams Institute survey on out actors.  It is funded by the union and comes out in the fall.  It will answer Jason’s question, “When you break the ground, do you get to walk on it?”
He recently toured the nation with his show “I’m the Daddy and I Have Candy” to sold out crowds, including headlining The Tropicana’s Laugh Factory in Las Vegas.

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