Lynch, pinned

Jane Lynch has elevated the calm, withering quip to high art. Whether plying her craft in Christopher Guest mockumentaries like Best in Show or A Mighty Wind, or feature films like Talladega Nights and The 40-Year-Old Virgin, she’s become one of the most iconic comic actresses working today.

She’s also been one of the most visible gay celebrities, especially since her Emmy winning role on the hit series Glee, where she plays homophobic right wing high school coach Sue Sylvester. In September, her memoir Happy Accidents moved her influence to the written page.

Lynch, in town this week at a benefit for the Black Tie Dinner, she sat down to discuss Sue, her comic sensibility and her approach to activism.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

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Jane Lynch

Dallas Voice: You hosted the Emmys two months ago and you were a nominee. How did you juggle those competing pressures?  Jane Lynch: I really didn’t have time to think about how I was a nominee. I was focused on the moment and I was very aware that I was only the third woman [after Angela Lansbury and Ellen DeGeneres] to host the Emmys solo, and only the second lesbian.

You’re in town promoting your new book Happy Accidents. Do you feel it’s too early to write an autobiography?  Well, it’s a memoir, not an autobiography where you write about a whole life — I’m certainly not there. A memoir is instead a book about yourself built around a theme. I kept saying to my wife, I could write 15 different books. But this is the one about suffering over my suffering.

Did you write it yourself or have help?  My wife and I wrote it together — she’s definitely the co-author. [I didn’t want to use a ghost writer because] it had to sound like me. I’m not like Susan Lucci — I have a voice people know.

How did you end up working with Dallas’ Black Tie folks?  I was in Dallas before speaking at an HRC event, and I’ll tell you: You guys are organized, enthusiastic and rich. I have been getting people from here emailing me about coming back [ever since].
You very casually refer to your wife in conversation, which I think can really change the dialogue among people oppsed to same-sex marriage.  We’re very aware of that. We aren’t activists in the [overt] political way, but we let the fact we’re living our life be the example. In red carpet, people ask me about my wife now. They don’t play games referring to wife as “life partner” or “girlfriend.”

Your big break was in the Christopher Guest film Best in Show. Did working with Guest give you your comic sensibility or did having that sensibility get you the job?  Hmmm, I’m not sure. Chris Guest says he can tell within five minutes of meeting an actor [at an audition] whether they can do his stuff, and stuff like that has been cracking me up my entire life, the whole “less is more” style of comedy.

Sue Sylvester is your breakout role. How do you approach her? She seems very unlike you.  It’s all about understanding her psychology. She lives to shock. But Sue’s a warrior. It’s why she wears that track suit: It’s her uniform. She has a lieutenant in Becky; the Cheerios are her soldiers. I think of Patton when I do her. In the Madonna episode, we took a speech right out of Patton. Everything is a fight with her and she’ll create one out of whole cloth if she needs to.

I’m reading the Steve Jobs biography, and it occurs to me: He was Sue Sylvester. He lies to himself with all those false deadlines and unreasonable expectations. Everything was a fight. If he didn’t get what he wanted, he cried. Sue would never cry, but she’s suffering in her own way. Every so often she does something tender.

I think my biggest disappointment in Mr. Shuster is he keeps taking it easy on Sue and she turns on him.  Yes, for some reason, people keep forgiving her. That’s gotta end some time.

Do know what’s up for her this season?  Everything’s very late this season. Every once in a while, [creator] Ryan [Murphy] will pop in every so often and say “We’re writing some very baroque monologues for you.” We’ll see.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 4, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Yes I can!

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DECISIONS, DECISIONS Life coach Tim Kincaid helps with those needed a-ha moments when gay men can’t figure things out on their own. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

The Gay Coaches Alliance isn’t what it sounds like — members like Tim Kincaid just want to make gay men more fabulous

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

When I first heard of the Gay Coaches Alliance, my mind flashed back to my high school coach’s gloriously thick thighs in tight grey Bike shorts. Man, those were some nice thighs. Alas, this groups isn’t a GSA for queer whistle-wearers. None of these coaches were going to improve my running time. Rather, GCA is an organization of life coaches that want to get gay men on the path to a better self.

And local coach Tim Kincaid had his sights set on me.

First I had to figure out if I needed coaching. I’m pretty relaxed about everything around me. When the office is insane, the boyfriend’s in a mood and the traffic won’t let up, I can Zen myself into a chill zone. I have freakouts, but mostly, I’m good.

Then I discovered that’s not what gay coaching is about; it may even be holding me back. Chill isn’t bad, but it doesn’t put me in motion.

Prior to our laser session (translation: a roughly 20-minute abbreviated rap), Kincaid sent me the Wheel of Life exercise in which I rate key segments of life like career, relationships and personal growth from one to ten on a pie diagram. Then I connect the dots to see how un-round my wheel is. Even cavemen would’ve thought mine was a hot mess.

“That’s not unusual,” Kincaid says. “Let’s take a look at some of these.”

We discussed safe ones like “physical environment” and “career.” I didn’t want to get into specifics about my “erotic fulfillment” or “significant other/romance” channels in just a few minutes. That stuff is too juicy and will wait for my memoirs.

The idea behind coaching works to help people build stronger lives through deep listening, compassion and empathy. Ultimately, the client (here, me) comes with his or her own answers.

“We help them think through situations by asking powerful questions,” Kincaid says. “Coaching is more present- and future-oriented with a bias for action.”

As it turns out, my bias for action involves clearing out the dining room and looking for advice on a potential side business. After moving into the boyfriend’s house, I’ve wanted to make my stamp on the place. My ingrained laziness at moving heavy things and unpacking forgotten boxes is my biggest opponent. Only no longer!  Thanks, Tim Kincaid!

“Part of coaching is to deep dive into your values and see what makes you tick,” he says. “If that value isn’t being honored, we have to get to what will resonate with who you are.”

To make me accountable, he finally asked if I’ll do it. I learned that when a coach asks something, a simple “yes” or “no” suffices, but with a nay comes a counteroffer and I did not have time for that. I mean, Project Runway is back on.

Thus, by Labor Day, that room will be (notice I didn’t say should) edited down to the necessities before making a den out of it. As for the side business, he assigned me to contact a peer I knew in the field to pick their brain and get some basic advice. That was done by the end of the day. Score! Man, progress felt good.

Kincaid discovered his passions have altered over the years. He dreamed of working for American Airlines, which he did for 16 years. At 50, that changed. He took an early retirement package, earned his doctorate, received coach training and now he makes lives better — or gives them direction rather. Although the focus of him and the GCA is geared toward gay men, he’s not opposed to expanding his services to the other letters of the LGBT communities.

“The alliance figured there were a lot of gay men who needed a coach to get past unquestioned beliefs or things told to them by culture and society,” he says. “I would love to see other groups form and coach all people in the community. This is just the starting point.”

I told Kincaid I felt guilty for wanting more since dreams of mine have come true. He told me something I never considered.

“Just dream some more,” he says.

That’s some good Oprah-stuff right there.

For more information, visit KincaidCoaching.com or TheGayCoaches.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 9, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas