Comedian Gavin Crawford, a former This Hour Has 22 Minutes cast member and Gemini Award winner, will be performing at this year’s Pride Toronto.
“Because it’s a Pride thing, I can do my gay stuff, and it’s to an appreciative crowd, so that’s always fun,” Crawford says.
Though he might touch on some of the controversies Toronto Pride has faced in recent years, he stresses that the comedy comes first.
“Some of the Pride material I did at a Pride show last year . . . was all about what Pride’s like now and the different notions about how Pride has changed, the people who don’t think it’s important anymore, the people that do, why it’s so important, that kind of stuff. Those kinds of politics were all folded in but always underneath the jokes,” he says.
Crawford says he falls into the category of people who think Pride is still relevant.
“If you’ve been around a long time or if you’ve been to a lot of Prides, you tend to start dissing the crowds and all the annoying things — people are like, There’s too many drunk people or there’s too many straight people or there’s too many this-or-that people. But the bottom line is, if you think back to the first time you ever went — especially for me, when I’m from a little small town — it’s pretty astonishing and it’s a really great feeling, and it’s important to keep that in mind.”
Crawford grew up in Lethbridge, Alberta, in the 1970s, a place that he says was distinctly not gay-friendly. “I don’t think I could have come out in 1980 in Lethbridge and made it out,” he says.
Lethbridge recently made the news for two homophobic hate crimes. In December 2011, Mark Young was hospitalized following a fight that allegedly took place because a passerby noticed he was wearing a rainbow bracelet and attacked when Young said he was gay. In July 2010, someone broke into Mark Spracklin’s garage and painted his car with homophobic slurs. But in spite of these incidents, there has been improvement.
“Things have changed a lot in the past 20 years, but there’s still a long way to go. I grew up in a pretty religious place. Being gay was about as much of an option as walking to the moon at that point,” Crawford says.
Instead, he came out after university and has been out in his work ever since.
“I have always been out, and I mostly do character stuff, so I never really thought about it. I didn’t set out to push any boundaries particularly, but I also didn’t want to hide who I was,” he says.
Crawford will appear at Toronto Pride as part of Andrew Johnston’s Bitch Salad Gives Back, along with Christina Walkinshaw, Emma Hunter, Julia Hladkowicz and The Cheeto Girls. Part of the proceeds will go to the AIDS Committee of Toronto and Buddies.
Bitch Salad Gives Back
Fri, June 29, 8pm
12 Alexander St