Roxane Gay, Carrie Brownstein, Jane Lynch and a Bunch More of Your Favorite Queers Are Bringing Alison Bechdel’s ‘Dykes To Watch Out For’ to Audible

by Carmella D'Acquisto

Sapphics, our time has come! Beloved gay author and cartoonist Alison Bechdel’s iconic weekly strip, Dykes to Watch Out For, is finally returning in the form of a podcast!

Featuring some of our fave queers including Roxane Gay, Carrie Brownstein, Jane Lynch and many others, this fictional auditory adventure brings the “strange world of semi-suburban sapphics seeking out a deviant existence in the shadows of decent society,” to life through a series of episodes available on Audible.

The story starts in June of 1987, Ronald Reagan is president, the Iran-Contra hearings are all over the news, it’s “ten years before Ellen, five years before the founding of the lesbian avengers,” and while some of the references may be a little old school, the concerns, the controversies, the political climate (unfortunately) and the emotions are all still incredible relevant for modern queer audiences.

The main character Mo, who is voiced by the acclaimed Carrie Brownstein, starts the series off by looking for love (or maybe, just a little fun) while exploring vulnerability. In the era of Reaganism, her “hypersensitive moral compass” has caused some friction between her and her peers. She knows that queer is more than just an orientation, it’s a basis of intersectional liberation from poverty, war, racism, and capitalism, but can’t turn off the lecture when her friends just want to have fun. “If you think assimilation is liberation, you’re either delusional or a sell out,” Mo says to her friends during the Pride Parade.

“When I was young and freshly out, I pored over my paperback copies of ‘Dykes to Watch Out For,’ dreaming that I would one day get to live in a world as progressive, funny, sexy, and frankly dykey as the incredible community Alison created,” said Madeleine George, who wrote the adapted script. “Spending time immersed in this world has been like getting to move into my dream world. To hear the beloved characters brought to life by this gang of superstars has been too good to be true.”

Dykes to Watch Out For ran from 1983-2008 in Funny Times and various lesbian newspapers and online. According to the New York Times, Bechdel herself has called the strip “half op-ed column and half endless, serialized Victorian novel.” Full of cultural reflection, social commentary and political references, the strip built a semi-fictional world for lesbians to engage in, reflecting the everyday conversations that were happening in queer circles. Bechdel, who is also known for her books Fun Home, Are You My Mother, and The Secret to Superhuman Strength has spent decades capturing her iteration of the queer experience, sharing it with eager audiences from across the country.

Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel

She is also the creator of the Bechdel Test, a media evaluation method that analyzes how well a work of fiction represents women characters. The criteria includes: at least two women are featured, these women talk to each other, and they discuss something other than a man. That’s it– just three small objectives that a surprising number of films, books and television shows completely miss.

“I am blown away by this podcast; it’s such a great gift to hear the characters and their world come to audio life, talking and kvetching and playing softball and going to marches,” said Bechdel in a press release. “Often when I was drawing the comic strip I would wish it could have the extra dimension of a soundtrack – and now it does. The podcast is set back in the day, 1987, which makes it a fun history lesson, but at the same time, it’s a completely contemporary-feeling romp. I’m absolutely speechless and fortunately these actors have plenty to say, and they do so with dykey aplomb.”

All episodes of Dykes to Watch Out For are now available on Audible!

Top Photo is a screen grab from “Jane Lynch and the Iconic Cast of ‘Dykes To Watch Out for’ in Conversation” from the official Audible Youtube channel

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