“I was in Bozeman, Montana, and, of course, nobody came because nobody knew who I was. This straight couple came up to me afterwards and introduced themselves. The man had tears running down his face and said he understood his gay son better after seeing my show. That was pretty special.”
You’ve got to love a gay man whose publicity still shows him in a butch T-shirt, with a sexy smile, smouldering gaze… and a Wonder Woman tiara on his head. But that’s Paul Hutcheson in a nutshell.
“Wonder Woman was always a total inspiration for me, even as a young child,” says Hutcheson. “I watched the show and collected the comic books.” Hutcheson’s admiration for the amazon heroine continues to this day, even if emulating her is a little tricky to pull off as a 30-something gay man. Fortunately, the comedian is as fearless about his heroine as he is about standup comedy.
“I went into this store and they had these kid costumes for sale,” he says. “I bought the Wonder Woman one, and the saleswoman asked me if it was for my child. I said, ‘Nope, it’s for me!’ I was basically skipping out of the store, I was so excited about putting it on.”
Hutcheson has long been a fixture on the national comedy scene, thanks to an impeccable sense of timing, an infectious booming laugh and the willingness to cheerfully skewer himself and others without resorting to malice (I’m looking at you, Tracy Morgan).
Recently back from a cross-country tour of his show the Canuck Cabaret, the comic has pulled together a cadre of his favourite performers for Paul’s Pride Package, a comedy/burlesque show that is part of Buddies in Bad Times’ Pride schedule.
“It’s an amazing group of artists who I admire and love working with,” he says. “None of us are making a lot of money, so it’s a chance to make this nice community and not make money all together.”
Joining Hutcheson will be artists such as Sharon Nowlan, comic troubadour Mae Moore, the Screw You Review, and perky comedian Diana Love, who Hutcheson describes as “just like Mary Tyler Moore, if she talked about fingerbanging.”
For his part, Hutcheson will be doing some standup, as well as lending a hand in skits with Tamara Robert, Meghan O’Shay and Rose Cullis. He’s looking forward to Toronto’s savvy audiences after playing to relatively conservative crowds in the Prairies. “When you start with a shit-and-vomit story and end up with a 13-man orgy, all these men are just sitting there with their faces dropped to the floor.”
Prairie shows aren’t all hardship, though, and they occasionally offer some special moments.
Catch Paul Hutcheson’s Pride Package (A Comedic Cabaret) in Tallulah’s Cabaret at Buddies in Bad Times, Tues, June 21, 8pm.