Arts & Entertainment
2 min

Six reasons why queer people should write queer characters

Paul Bellini explains why we should take his sketch comedy writing workshop

Paul Bellini, known for his work writing for TV shows Kids in the Hall and This Hour Has 22 Minutes, wants to teach you how to write queer characters. Credit: Paddy Aldridge

There’ll always be queer characters in mainstream comedy, and we should be the ones creating them. At least that’s the contention of Paul Bellini, known for his work writing for TV shows Kids in the Hall and This Hour Has 22 Minutes. His upcoming sketch comedy workshop is aimed at getting queers to write queer characters. Here are six reasons why he thinks this is important.

1. We can make anal sex seem fun (or at least not awful)

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Many straight comedy writers don’t deal well with bum sex. “It’s the most horrible [thing]. It’s rape. You’re going to prison,” Bellini says. “But that’s not the same experience for everybody.” We can show it in a more favourable light.

2. We can do away with “pet fag” characters

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There are many examples in comedy of gay characters that are merely accessories for hot girls. These characters exist to spit out sassy comebacks, and it’s hard to imagine them having any sort of life when they leave the girl’s presence.

3. We can help the straights figure out polyamory

It’s about time they got with it, and our characters might show them how. “Straight people have very guarded relationships with each other, and for them to see something like that, and see it work, would be a real eye-opener,” he says.

4. We could put an end to solitary, isolated gay characters.

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They’re the ones without partners or a community — “they almost exist in some kind of bizarre isolation,” he says — and it gives the eerie sense they’re being somehow punished for their orientation. No more.

5. We can change people’s minds  

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Comedy is a powerful tool for influencing people — for changing their minds about things like sex. We can use this. This is especially valuable when writing for a primarily heterosexual, mainstream audience.

6. We should help create the new queer stereotypes.

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Stereotypes are necessary for comedy to work, but straights don’t always get them right. We can help introduce the world to better ones. “I’d rather a lesbian write a lesbian character than me,” he says. “I could do a good job, but she’d get it right.”