A gay farmer, a kinked-out bisexual married couple, and a back-talking bawdy brunette. What do all these characters have in common?
Sure sounds like the beginning of a joke, eh? But these characters are all performing at the second annual Laugh Out Proud night at Yuk Yuks during Capital Pride.
Howard Wagman, who has been running Yuk Yuks for 22 years, chose the best gay and gay-friendly comics he could think of. He says the club already has a significant queer clientele so this event is going to be fabulous. “It’s our goal to present a diverse selection of comedy to appeal to as many different tastes as we can. It’s going to be a fun show,” says Wagman. And it’s an officially endorsed fundraiser for Pride.
First up: the gay farmer — must-see Trevor Boris from Much Music’s Video On Trial. The 27-year-old Winnipeg native says he must be the only gay farmer in the world and he loves it.
He also loves performing in Ottawa. In his experience, local people are generally up on anything topical. The audience better not let him down.
Boris performed at an Egale fundraiser on Parliament Hill, as well as at University Of Ottawa for Gay Week. He has been headlining a comedy club in his hometown this summer and says people from high school don’t recognize him.
“I was a total dork, super-quiet. It was university that opened me up,” says Boris.
He says the hardest part about comedy is relating his life to total strangers. “You can be really funny around a campfire with your buddies, so stand-up is a little freaky,” says Boris.
Boris says, “Damn you, city hall!” at the news that Ottawa’s Pride almost didn’t happen. He’s glad Capital Xtra stepped up. “I should buy Pride. We could call it, Trevor Boris presents Pride,” he laughs.
Next up: the kinky couple, also known as The Wet Spots. Cass King and John Woods are no strangers to performing at Pride. They are best known for their song, “Do You Take It? (In The Ass),” a major Internet downloading hit. They are performing at Vancouver’s Homopalooza and performed a burlesque show at Toronto’s Pride this year.
The musical sex comedy duo met when King was taking a break from her sex column, Organ Grinder, in Vancouver’s “Terminal City.” Woods was a pop musician and they started writing kinky, hilarious songs to make their friends laugh. Their shows include bawdy sex-ed, singing and, if you’re lucky, some spanking.
They have been The Wet Spots for just over three years, but each have more than 15 years of performing behind them. Pun intended.
King and Woods are thrilled about playing Capital Pride.
“Every audience has its own rhythm, but a gay audience gets our jokes instantly, whereas straight people need to think about it,” says King. “I think it’s because gay people talk about sex more. They have to because it’s not just penis-and-vagina.”
Besides, gay audiences are better dressed.
“I think people should bring their straight friends so we can make fun of them,” says King with a laugh.
Their new CD, Hello Kinky, is out and proud. It’s a full-length studio album.
Also in the show is Jo-Anna Downey, the back-talking brunette, who’ll play host.
She’s straight but fast on her feet and anything but shy.
“I’m a storyteller. I’m flamboyant and loud, so the gay men love that,” says Downey. “They think I’m a drag queen.”
Downey has been living in Toronto’s village for 10 years and has hosted shows for even longer.
“Gay audiences are fun,” says Downey. “I hate small-minded homophobic stand-ups. They give the business a bad rap.”
She has been known to rip into celebs like Mike Bullard and Janine Garofalo if the mood strikes her during a show.
But, Wagman says of Downey, “She’s warm, outgoing and as a host, makes everyone feel instantly welcome.”
Downey is more modest and self-deprecating. “You can always go and feel good about herself and say, ‘Thank god I’m not her!'” says Downey.