LOS ANGELES _ “Men get really mad when I don’t want to fuck them,” Gaby Dunn tells me over breakfast at a diner in Echo Park. “When someone doesn’t want to fuck me I just start a web series with them and become a comedy duo.”
YouTube star and comedian Gaby Dunn is joking – kind of. For Dunn, sexuality, comedy and entertainment are inextricably linked. It’s why her growing legion of young fans follows her with a kind of gently obsessive love.
Deen has appeared on Dunn’s popular YouTube series, Just Between Us (221,000 subs) along with her best friend, the winsome writer-comedian-actress Allison Raskin. The series chronicles Dunn and Raskin’s complex, sometimes tense relationship, fueled in part by Dunn’s unrequited crush on Raskin (who loves her, but, you know, not like that.)
Dunn, who dates men and women and often maintains open relationships, is open about it all. She clearly finds sex, sexuality and gender fascinating – and hilarious.
For the record, Dunn says her relationship with Deen is purely platonic. She accompanied him to the AVN Awards this year in a sexy white dress and a waterfall of bright purple hair, fueling speculation that the two are dating (they are not).
But there’s a kernel of truth to her joke about starting a web series with somebody who doesn’t want to have sex with her. Dunn tried picking up her eventual comedy partner Raskin the first time they met.
“I’ve met two straight people in my life. Allison is one of them,” Dunn said.
Raskin was oblivious to Dunn’s intent.
“I had a conscious decision where I was like, ‘I could make a move on this girl and freak her out, or I could just let it be and see where it goes,’” Dunn said. “And then it’s like two years later and we have a comedy empire.”
Laughing, Dunn says she’s “a solid Hollywood 22 to 26,” and she’s becoming something of a poster child for self-identified queer or questioning Millennials on the Internet.
I asked her about her polyamory.
“The thing that’s a misconception about it is that people think, ‘Oh, she’s polyamorous so she can’t ever be in a loving relationship,’ or ‘She can’t ever be monogamous,’ or ‘She can’t ever go through phases,’” Dunn said. “Even if I am polyamorous it’s not like I’m like, ‘Oh, I need ten people.’”
She added, “It’s not this weird crazed chaos…everything is very slow and talked about…if for a period of time [a] person needs me to be monogamous for a few months or whatever, just until we get settled, that’s fine.”
I wonder about jealousy, as Dunn seems to be missing whatever gene causes folks to go into a tizzy when their partners desire someone else. She says, “I would ten times out of ten have someone I’m dating go, ‘Hey, I’m into this person,’ rather than what usually happens in monogamous relationships, which is someone goes, ‘You like Jenny.’ ‘No, I don’t.’ ‘Just fucking tell me you like Jenny. Who gives a shit?’ It’s like this very weird thing where in relationships you’re expected to lie to each other? And it’s like, who cares?”
I ask Dunn about her personal brand of feminism, which to me seems about as modern as it gets.
“My feminism includes everybody – at least tries to,” she said. “I feel like there’s no harm in being inclusive or becoming a little bit smarter – as playing to the top of your intelligence, as smart as you actually are in real life: being that in your work and in your comedy. I hate when a comedian is like, ‘Oh I know that this joke is mean to trans people but it’s a funny joke.’ Why not play to the top of your intelligence? Why are you making excuses for this thing that you like? It’s just mean to a disenfranchised group; it makes no sense.”
She says that her feminism, like her comedy, has evolved.
“Now, it’s not just about me or elevating me,” she said. “How can I elevate and be smart about other groups? Like you just have to be like the person who notices things and be a squeaky wheel, which sucks, because people are like, ‘Oh there’s Gaby on a campaign again.’ But in the end it’s helpful.”
Am I the Only Woman Who Likes Getting Pics of a Guy’s Junk? (By Gaby Dunn)