We must admit, when we ran into Mo Rocca a few years ago outside the Joe Coffee in P-Town, we had a twinkle in our eye. “Is he gay?” we wondered. The former Daily Show correspondent, host of The Tomorrow Show and friend to CBS Sunday Morning (who doesn’t love that show?) has always tripped our gaydar wire. Always.
And then there was Chicago (we saw him there, too, with his trademark glasses and quirky take on culture). And then there was…wait. We weren’t stalking Mo Rocca, we swear, but we seemed to run into each other a lot – and at gay places and gay events. But it wasn’t until this week that the humorist confirmed our suspicions.
Yep, Mo Rocca’s gay.
The 42-year-old journalist came out, pretty casually, in a podcast interview for The Six Pack, a show about “news, views and dudes” hosted by Ben Harvey and Dave Rubin in New York. “I’m just more comfortable with myself now,” said Rocca. “It’s taken me until I’m 42 to begin to feel this way.”
He went on to tell the co-hosts that he’s single, and that being at Stonewall the night gay marriage was passed in New York was momentous. “You gotta be there for a piece of history like that,” he said. “I tweeted about it…it was very memorable and emotional and a great place to be.”
Rocca has more Twitter followers than Staten Island has people (his comparison, not ours), which makes him a pretty influential voice in broadcasting – and now in the LGBT world.
In some ways, it’s been a banner year for people coming out despite sometimes rigorous opposition to gay rights issues across the country. So what’s the impetus?
We can’t help but think the “It Gets Better” video campaign has something to do with it, and the spat of teen suicides. If ever there was a time where LGBT people of note could be influential, it’s by coming out in hopes of sparing yet an young person the fear and self loathing that sometimes comes with accepting one’s homosexuality (gee, thanks societal pressure). And it seems that a few “celebrity” folks are taking this to heart, like Rocca, who may never have totally been “in” the closet, but he certainly wasn’t publicly “out” either.
There are a quite a few other A-listers (and B, C and D-Listers) who have been ringing the gay bell for years, but who have yet to make that “coming out” plunge. You know who they are. The gay community always knows who they are, but it’s likely the heterosexual majority they’re worried about. In the same way we know plenty of folks here in Philly who are out and about (gay bars, the Man for Man section of Craig’s List, you name it) but the day you refer to them as “gay” or “lesbian” in print (or in a blog) they become pretty incensed.
Does the same go for celebs? And is it time break down the closet doors? Or is sexual preference really nobody’s business?