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The time when ‘Fun Home’ author Alison Bechdel thought a big fan was her Uber driver

Bechdel chats with Recode’s Kara Swisher on this special bonus episode of Recode Decode.

Curran Theater Re-Opens With 'Fun Home' Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for Curran

Cartoonist Alison Bechdel, who created the long-running comic “Dykes to Watch Out For” in 1983, achieved widespread fame when she published her autobiography, “Fun Home,” in 2006 — coinciding with a major growth spurt for social media.

“I kind of got into blogging at the time that ‘Fun Home’ came out, and I suddenly had this big audience,” Bechdel said on a new bonus episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher. “But then Facebook kind of put the kibosh on that.”

Speaking with Swisher at Carole Shorenstein Hays' newly renovated Curran theater after a performance of the Tony Award-winning musical based on “Fun Home,” Bechdel said she also got “burnt out” on social media.

“As the juggernaut of ‘Fun Home’ kept going, I started to feel — finally, at last — overexposed,” Bechdel said. “It took a while, but I reached my threshold. I don’t really need to be online talking to people all day about what I’m doing. It was seductive for a while, though.”

Like it or not, however, Bechdel’s fans are still legion online; thanks to them, a 1985 “Dykes to Watch Out For” comic that joked about the paucity of female characters in Hollywood was resurrected and went viral as The Bechdel Test. And in San Francisco before the show, Bechdel said she was tracked down by an eagle-eyed fan.

“I was waiting outside for an Uber today ... and this dyke pulled up in a car and I thought, ‘Oh, that must be my driver,’” she said. “No, she was just some random lesbian who identified me on the street and jumped out of her car, screaming. It’s really weird. It’s novel, at first, for a while, but it’s quite draining.”

This is a bonus episode of Recode Decode, and if you’re looking for more, we have new episodes every Monday. Don’t miss our regularly scheduled show from earlier this week, in which Swisher spoke to former New York Times tech reporter John Markoff about robots, sci-fi novels and much more.

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