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Tips for Ellen about how to come out on TV

Candace Bushnell, Michael Musto, and more have suggestions about the best way to work a lesbian into the plot

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No matter that fundamentalist Pat Robertson considers Ellen DeGeneres ”too attractive” to play a lesbian. These other notables and quotables think the comic should go for it — and offer creative script tips for breaking the news:

Do That Crossover Thing. Get an assist from fellow ABC diva Roseanne, says Village Voice gossip columnist Michael Musto. Illinois native Roseanne could use some of her lottery winnings to pay a visit to L.A., where she drags Ellen to a lesbian bar. There, Ellen would lock lips with Mariel Hemingway. ”Then have Candace Gingrich marry them!”

Play the Underdog. ”I think the best way would be as a response to some homophobic incident or comment,” says publicist Howard Bragman, who advised Amanda Bearse of Married…With Children right after she came out. ”That gets the most sympathy and empathy from the audience.”

Practice, Practice, Practice. ”Have her fall for a ski instructor,” recommends Michelangelo Signorile, author of Outing Yourself. ”Allow her to work through her anxiety by standing in front of the bathroom mirror, practicing asking her out. Then have the [moment] be really anticlimactic. Ellen’s gonna want to get this really big reaction, especially because she’s in love, and no one will give it to her because no one’s surprised.”

A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words. ”On a trip to New York City, Ellen visits Hogs & Heifers, that trendy biker joint where Julia Roberts dances on the bar,” says Candace Bushnell, author of Sex and the City, a collection of her advice columns for the New York Observer. ”A paparazzo takes her picture making out with one of the female bartenders, and someone at Buy the Book tapes it on the wall of the store as a joke, not realizing that she’s really gay.”

Secure the Home Front. ”She should tell her parents first,” counsels syndicated advice columnist Dr. Joyce Brothers. ”Numerous studies have shown that children build up this monster in their minds and parents usually respond much better than they expected. Normally, the parents are unconsciously aware anyway, and it’s a big relief for everyone involved.”

Just Do It. ”Ellen is funny because she’s always thwarting herself, so after she’s out, have her find she still can’t get dates,” says Playboy columnist Cynthia Heimel, author of Sex Tips for Girls. What about the character’s actual outing? ”In her improvised intro to the show, have Ellen come on, look directly at the screen, and say ‘I’m sick of this. I’m gay, I’m gay, I’m gay! I don’t care about ratings!”’