What do you do if a nine-to-five job just isn’t your cup of tea? You become a comedian, quips funnyman Darcy Michael.
“I floated for a long time before I found comedy. I was a stock boy at a Zellers, I worked at three banks — I had to shave and I just don’t like to shave,” he explains.
On the surface, he seems like any other comedian, making crowds roar night after night with jokes about sex, pot and politics.
Yet just when you think you’ve got Michael pegged as a stoner-slacker comic, he drops his sexuality and his marital and parental status on the audience like a ton of butt plugs on a PTA meeting.
Although he says he’s not blazing any paths, the robust, brazen, self-professed “dirty faggot” routinely forces audiences to question their preconceived notions of what gay looks like through his undercover-fag routine.
A typical Darcy Michael set warms up with jokes about marijuana legalization and stoned driving, before moving on to pussy reconstruction and political satire.
Then he comes out.
“Yes, I am gay. Surprise! We’re everywhere! And we’re recruiting, so drink up, fuckers!” he exclaims, adding that he wears his wedding ring around his neck because “a cock ring would be inappropriate.”
“Undercover fag: that would be the lamest super hero ever,” he’s been known to joke. “But let’s be honest, my costume would be fabulous! It’s a bird, it’s a plane… it’s vintage Versace?”
Queer has many faces, he’s clearly trying to suggest between punch lines.
“I don’t fit the stereotype for any gay person. I break the stereotype,” Michael asserts. “I’m not what the general public imagines gay to be. I’m not clean-cut, I’m not flamboyant, and I have horrible taste in music. I’m rumpled and unkempt. I’m not your typical gay man.”
Michael’s routine is fundamentally about parody, pun and pot — with heavy emphasis on the latter.
“I talk about smoking weed as much as I talk about smokin’ pole,” he says with a laugh. He smokes weed to combat the effects of rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia — and simply because it’s fun.
For Michael, queer empowerment began with a visit to his first drag show at Celebrities nightclub in Vancouver at the tender age of 17. Underage and awestruck, Michael recalls meeting a bevy of queens who promptly made a positive impression.
In particular, the comedian credits drag performers like Symone for helping him tap into the pride he feels today in himself and his community.
“She gave me strength,” he says. “When we’re that age we look to idols and heroes and people to help us do what we want to do, and she did that. It was people like Symone that catapulted me into not being afraid of who I am. Here is a six-foot-something black man, wearing seven-inch heels. And here I am: 18 and wondering if I want to sleep with boys. I think it was a pretty easy decision.”
Catch Darcy Michael at Laugh Out Proud VI, Thurs, Aug 26–Sat, Aug 28, with Mike Albo and Shawn Hollenbach and special guest Linda Ellis. Yuk Yuks, 292 Elgin St. 613-236-5233.