We know Julia Scotti as the hysterically funny comedian who came out as transgender on "America's Got Talent." We've laughed at her many comedy shows including Showtime's "More Women Of A Certain Age." Now we get the rest of the story on a new documentary about Julia's life called "Funny That Way" shot over a period of 5 years.

Once upon a time, before there was a Julia Scotti, there was Rick Scotti, who was a very successful comedian sharing stages with the likes of Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld. But something didn't feel right. Scotti came on my show Wednesday night, March 10 to talk all about it.

At the age of 47, Scotti had hormonal treatments, surgery, and a new name, Julia. It was not well received by family and friends who turned their back on her.

"There's some people who I still haven't gotten back with. Childhood friends in particular. I was 14 years estranged from my children and we are happily back together again. Everybody goes through it at their own pace, Steve," she said. "It was 20 years ago when I did it. There were not a whole lot of people out there who were accepting...for me it was necessary."

Scotti even contemplated suicide.

"I did, yeah. My first day of teaching there was an incident and, after all, I had gone back to college, I studied like mad to become a teacher, graduated at the top of my class and this kid said something, actually wrote something to me that was so hurtful that I actually went over Lavallete ... and I was gonna kill myself there. I was gonna just drive my car into the water. And something, I dunno, something intervened, the universe intervened and I went back to teach and I stayed there for seven years and it was the greatest seven years of my life."

She then went into teaching and eventually stepped back on the comedy stage. How was she able to turn it around?

"I had no intention of going back to comedy. I really wasn't, and Chris Rich, who you know, we were out to lunch one day and I hadn't seen her in many years and she had never met me as Julie. We were very old friends and over the course of the lunch she goes 'when are you coming back to comedy?' And I said I'm never coming back; I'm too old and I haven't been on stage in years, and she goes, 'You know you want to.' I said yeah I do but...so it happened she was working at Georgine's Comedy Works as we were speaking that weekend. And she asked if I wanted to come do a guest set. And so I did and I was scared to death. But I said if I'm gonna do this I'm gonna be honest on stage, I'm not gonna lie about who and what I am and it's either gonna sink or swim based on that."

To see Julia Scotti "Funny That Way" click here.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise. Any opinions expressed are Steve's own. Steve Trevelise is on New Jersey 101.5 Monday-Thursday from 7pm-11pm. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.

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