Showing posts with label Comedy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Comedy. Show all posts

Friday, October 13, 2017

A Conversation With Bruce Vilanch


Bruce Vilanch and Drew Wilson on the 16th Street Mall in 2010
Famous funnyman Bruce Vilanch has worked with everybody, won every award, and he'll be back in Colorado on Saturday, October 14 as part of Boulder Jewish Family Services' fifth annual Reel Hope Boulder. This fundraising event will include a wine and beer reception and all proceeds support the life-transforming work of Boulder JFS, which provides older adults, adults with disabilities, their families, and individuals in crisis with services to enhance their quality of life.

We had a chance to talk to him about being gay and Jewish, legalized marijuana ... and taint.

Drew: Hey, Bruce, it's Drew with MileHighGayGuy.
Bruce: MileHighGayGuy? A gay thing? Good, so we can talk about taint and all of that.

Drew: I’m hoping that the majority of the conversation will be taint-related but first, tell me about your upcoming appearance at Reel Hope Boulder with Jewish Family Services.

Bruce: Well, the Jews have got me. I’m visiting my people. I was wandering in the desert and now I’m visiting my people.

Drew: Your people are both the Jews and the gays. How would you say your Jewishness and your gayness have shaped your life, personality and career.
Bruce: Interesting question. When you’re Jewish you’re kind of automatically in show business and I think that’s because that was what we were allowed to do early on. So we became showpeople. There’s a lot of emphasis on that. Same thing when you’re gay. When you’re gay you’re always kind of in performance mode. At least we used to be, because that’s what made us distinctive. Now that we’ve become so mainstream, not so much.

But what really binds them together is the idea of being outside of the mainstream, a fairly exotic minority. When you grow up Jewish you learn that a lot of people hate you and they’re not going to help you so you have to do it yourself. You have to take care of your own because you can’t rely on anybody else to do that. And that is also a great mantra for the gay community. There’s a joke Jewish people have that every Jewish holiday can be summed up in three lines - They tried to kill us. They lost. Let’s eat. And it’s the same thing with the gay community.

There are valuable lessons to be learned from the Jewish experience by gay people of all creeds. I love that word, creeds. So I guess that’s part of it. Other than all of that, nothing.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Memoirs Of A Gay Show: The Return of Denver Pride Comedy

By Mona Lott

I remember several years ago when every June not only brought us PrideFest and a Pride Parade and Pride Day at Elitch's, but it also brought us Pride Comedy with the Laugh Out Loud Comedy show. This was before text messaging so the show title was actually spelled out as opposed to being just LOL. It was a lot of fun, bringing nationally touring gay comics to town like Bob Smith, Kate Clinton and Suzanne Westenhoefer. I found it very refreshing to laugh at comics who weren’t being misogynistic or homophobic like the more popular comics of the time, for example Andrew Dice Clay and Sam Kinison. Both were funny comics, Kinison being a favorite of mine, but neither of them drew the sort of cruisy, hot crowd that the Laugh Out Loud Comedy Show did. For me though, it was realizing how much we all had in common and being able to relate to the comics and their stories and for once being allowed to laugh about being gay from our own point of view that made this event one of my favorites.

I miss those shows and those comics. Clinton and Westenhoefer are mostly doing shows on the East Coast and Smith, I was sad to discover, has stopped doing stand-up due to the progression of ALS which he was diagnosed with in April of 2007. I’m not sure who was producing those shows back then and I’m even less sure why they stopped. I would hazard a guess though that the decline in the popularity of stand-up comedy in the late 90’s brought an end to those annual shows. But comedy is having a resurgence and gay comics are much more mainstream these days, so I wondered, why not have a gay comedy show for Pride week again here in Denver?

So I presented the idea to Amy Jenssen King at The Denver Improv. I also suggested to her that I create a float for Denver’s Pride Parade promoting the show and the club. King loved the idea and I was off and running, well as much as a 300-pound drag queen can run. I was also proud to be representing The Denver Improv for Pride as this club has been more than gay friendly to me in the past and well worthy of being exposed to the gay community in a positive light. Though the club is known for booking more urban type comics they also booked my show, “Stripped Down Stand Up” for several months as well as my friend Chuck Roy (who let me feature for him when he headlined his own show there). Roy is a popular Denver comic who hosted Film On The Rocks for many years and is now featured in Ralphie May’s Filthy Animal Tour on Hulu. I was thrilled to have Roy agree to sling some jokes in my Pride show, 'Memoirs Of A Gay Show' playing on June 24th at The Improv.

Roy found me almost three years ago doing stand-up at a popular gay bar on Colfax and asked me to perform in a show he was booking at a gay bar on South Broadway. This led to a show we worked on together for several months featuring myself, a transvestite comic and a transgender comic, or, as we referred to ourselves, The Holy Trinity Of 

Chuck Roy
Cross Dressers. That bar is now gone and so is the show, but Roy and I have remained friends and continue to do shows together. So I decided to ask Chuck some questions for this article and found myself intrigued by his answers.

Mona: When did you first start doing comedy?
Chuck Roy: I first tried to tell jokes when I was all alone in my parent’s living room. I hooked a microphone up to my Dad’s tape recorder and improvised 45 minutes of "comedy." It was terrible, all cursing. Not much has changed! My first real set was July 27, 1992 in Boston.
 

Did your material identify as gay when you started or did you keep that hidden?
I came out on stage in 1994. The guy who owned the show fired me. Jimmy Dunn was in the office and raised Holy Hell. He called everybody. Greg Fitzsimmons, the headliner of the show, called the club owner and said if I wasn’t on the show he wasn’t leaving New York. The best club in Boston called me and said, “What happened to you is unfair. You work here now. Try your bits, gay, straight, whatever. We know you are funny.” All that from Jimmy Dunn, the best mentor a Bear could have!
 

Do you think of yourself as a gay comic?
Fuck yeah! I’m “Bearly” gay and wicked proud of it. Frankly, as soon as Joe Biden forced President Obama out of the closet on gay marriage then things got a lot easier to tell jokes. At just about that time I was learning to use ‘date night’ to relate to the audience. If I talked about ‘dating a girl named Steve’ then the audience could relate. The more I related to the audience about dating in a genderless, numberless way the more the audience agreed that it was the funniest approach.
 

Do you think there is a lot of homophobia in stand up?
Fuck yeah there was, until Todd Glass cut ‘em all down. I’ve never heard the podcast interview he did to rip apart homophobes. I just hear their private apologies.
 

Have you ever been heckled by someone for being gay. How did you handle it?
Yeah, do you mean gay people heckling me for saying ‘fags’ or bigots heckling me because they hate fags? I still have a bruise from a fight with a bigot last November. I’ve steeled my nerve and readied my fists 1,000 times to tell jokes. It wasn’t easy in 1994 to try gay jokes in South Boston or Northern Maine but I did. Every time I failed I got back up again. I still do. I win a lot of heckles. And since Joe Biden changed the nation I’ve shown homophobic hecklers that they are outnumbered. It’s not about the bruise or the fight in November, it’s about the audience that insisted I finish my set while cut up and bleeding. “You tell your jokes, Bear!” Nobody thinks it’s cool anymore to be homophobic. You can have your opinion but to shout out hate during a comedian’s routine? Not a lot of audiences are going for that lately. Unless it’s you performing, Mona. The audiences want you to become a Republican.
 

HA!! Yah right. How do you think the comedy scene in Denver is in regards to gay comics and gay acceptance?
I moved here because I thought Denver audiences would be the first to enjoy my using the word ‘boyfriend’. Now, I think that’s true. People in Denver go to shows, any kind of shows, with a lot of gay acceptance. I don’t think the audiences here really care about gender, race, sexuality, etc. They care about quality. As far as the Denver comedy scene goes, I quit that shit about a year ago. The Denver comedy scene is irrelevant to the audience. People go to a comedy show to see outstanding comedy. I don’t think they give a shit about the Comedy Prom Committee or who’s commenting on Facebook.

I hope Chuck wasn’t referring to me and my love affair with Facebook. Though I’ve never been on any Prom Committee, I do post ad nauseam on my page and you are welcome to friend me there or follow me on Twitter, both being full of plugs for my show, 'Memoirs Of A Gay Show'. 


Stacy Roquemore
Stacy Roquemore is also booked to do some “gay comedy” on this show and recently posted on his Facebook page, “My view point is that funny is funny! As subjective as comedy is, I think it's my responsibility to bring a voice to the stage that represents the LGBT in a positive light.”

Roquemore is a Denver comic, who recently returned from the West Coast where he was developing his chops and racking up credits. A comic who easily reads gay, Roquemore states, “… to be a comedian who is gay and puts it out there, is hard as hell to pull off, with all the people who try to keep you pigeon holed into a tiny bubble, even though your jokes are solid and well written.” But Roquemore doesn’t let that stop him and continues to progress in his career and build a fan base.

As for myself, I love being openly gay and appearing on stage in drag gives me no other option. I haven’t found any hatred directed towards me on stage for being a stand-up comic drag queen, with the exception of one drunken guy who yelled out to me, “Where are you from, Oz?” I shut him down quick by retorting, “When I want to hear you speak, I’ll pull my dick out of your mouth!” But mostly I find a great deal of acceptance, if also confusion, when I walk onstage. I usually address it fairly quickly, though, and put the fire out. I actually address people in the audience who have that look of shock on their face and tell them, “It’s ok; I’m just a drag queen.” Then I joke with them and make them feel relaxed and I think it gets them on my side. I don’t do a lot of what I would call "gay comedy" anyway. I mostly joke about pop culture, my weight, celebrities and some politics. I find that my biggest fan base is middle aged women who ask me for makeup tips and swoon over my jewelry. When I do play a gay crowd though, it’s great fun as I can relax a lot more and they allow me to make a lot more fun of the straight people in the crowd. I’ve had to sit through some homophobic sets from other comics, but I always take them to task when I get on the stage and I think I may have shamed a few of them into cutting those jokes from their sets. I think the more authentic I am, the more the audience is ready to go with me regardless of how different I may be.

And so yeah, a Pride Comedy Show is back, this time with local gay comics who will make you laugh and hopefully give you something to relate to. You can see all three of us, myself, Chuck Roy and Stacy Roquemore on the Denver Improv Pride Float this Sunday and you might even get some valuable coupons to see our show, 'Memoirs Of A Gay Show' on June 24th.

'Memoirs Of A Gay Show' plays on Wednesday June 24th at The Denver Improv Comedy Club and Dinner Theater. The club is located at 8246 Northfield Blvd Unit 1400 at Stapleton North and you can reserve tickets by calling 303-893-4100. Mona Lott is a drag queen stand-up comic and has been seen on Comedy Central, The Game Show Network and NBC. Named 'Denver's Outstanding Drag Queen' by OutFront for 2014 she is more popular than ever!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Bianca Del Rio Brings 'Rolodex of Hate' Show to Denver

Bianca Del Rio, Season 6 Winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race brings her hilarious one-queen comedy special “Rolodex Of Hate” to the Paramount Theatre on May 28.

$50, $35 & $20 reserved seats are on sale now at www.altitudetickets.com or charge-by-phone 866-461-6556. $75 VIP reserved seats including a meet and greet with Bianca are also available.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Chris Parente Is A Queerbot

By Drew Wilson

Chris Parente is about that life
Emmy-award winning Chris Parente has been a fixture of Denver's entertainment and gay scenes for years. Now he's combining the two with his latest project, the Queerbots. The Queerbots are an LGBT improv comedy troupe who have been doing monthly shows at Hamburger Mary's for the past year and their next one is coming up on Saturday, March 14.

Drew: You’ve been out and openly gay for a long time but now it sounds like you’re doubling down on gay with the Queerbots.
Chris: Doubling down on gay? Sounds like a new casino game in Vegas. I want to double down on the gay!

I’d be at that table.
Let it ride! You haven’t been to a Queerbot show yet, have you?
No, but it sounds like my kind of show. How did Queerbots come about?
Well, Queerbots started about a year ago. I studied improv many years ago with Second City in Chicago under a guy named Martin Demott who has since passed away. He was a brilliant teacher who was also gay ...

Does that mean sometimes he was under you?
How do you think I got in the school? It was eye opening. Improv is probably my greatest passion. I love it. I love the freedom. I love the mindset of creating something out of nothing. But I’ve found that gays and lesbians aren’t very well represented in the improv world. Especially the women. It’s kind of a guy’s thing. I wanted to start a troupe that could explore the gay experience – what it means to be in the LGBTQ community - and do it through improv and have all the players be either gay, lesbian or transgendered. So I got together with probably the best improviser in Colorado, Sarah Kirwin, and we got together and started figuring out how we could make it happen. And that was the birth of the troupe.
Sarah Kirwin is better at improv comedy than you
We started doing shows last September and have been doing them monthly ever since. We have four lesbians and two gay guys in the troupe right now and our keyboardist is a gay Asian. That’s right, a gay Asian. Even the gaysians are represented!

Ooh, the elusive Colorado gaysian!
That’s right. That’s like Bigfoot or a UFO; a gaysian keyboard player. We struck gold! And I really wanted the troupe to have more women than men because I think women are doubly underrepresented in improv. Even in the gay community the lesbian perspective isn’t always out there as much as it needs to be. So it’s really cool to have that mix in the troupe.

One of the things I like about the troupe is we’re not trying to hit people over the head with the gay experience. It’s more like life filtered through someone who happens to be gay. The last four shows we’ve done the audiences have been largely straight audiences, which I love because it’s a real chance to really have some understanding through laughter. It’s hard to hate somebody when you’re laughing. We have a lot of fun doing sends ups of all the clich├ęs and dismantling the stereotypes by exploring them.

The human experience ain’t that different whether you’re gay or straight or lesbian. At the end of the day we’re all faced with the same struggles and ups and downs and that can be explored through comedy, I think, more easily than any other venue.

The Dalai Lama
How would you say improv influences your human experience?
Oh, it’s about to get deep in here. I’m gonna go Dalai Lama on you. The whole essence of improv is actually the complete opposite of what we’re taught in American and western civilization. At the heart of improv it’s all about cooperation, not competition, and that’s why I think it’s important for kids to explore improv. You’re not there to compete. You’re there to work with them and it only works when you cooperate. It only works when you support the others. And that’s our number one motivation; to support the others and make them look as good as possible. And that’s when the magic happens.

One of the precepts of improv is “yes and” which means whatever someone offers you you agree with it and build on it. We’re kind of wired to argue and disagree but in improv it’s all about “yes and-ing.” Whatever anybody says to you - if someone says you’re the biggest leprechaun I’ve ever seen - all of a sudden you are a big leprechaun and away you go. It’s the whole nature of improv. And when it’s hitting on all cylinders, it may sound stupid but, at times it’s almost spiritual because something is created in that moment and it’s a really beautiful thing.

Chris Parente is on his way to take your man
And improv must help with your day job. Keeping the mind agile and the words tripping off the tongue.
It would help anybody with their day jobs. On top of all those other elements of thinking differently and cooperatively and building and supporting on top of all that it also really forces you to … you can’t anticipate. You have to totally and completely live in the moment and be in the now. That’s the only way it works. Improv is literally an art form that is created moment to moment. It forces you to let go and just be in the moment.

And there really is no wrong choice because no matter what you say, you’re going to be supported by the other players up there. So you don’t have to worry about saying something wrong or stupid of making a fool of yourself. There are no mistakes in improv. You find a way to embrace it, to justify it, and just go with it. It’s a really cool thing.

What's a typical Queerbots show like?
The show is based entirely on audience suggestions so it’s a different show every time. It’s created on the spot. You never know where it’s going to go which adds to the electricity of the night. It’s an entirely spontaneous night of theater.

In each of the last several shows we’ve done a completely improvised gay marriage. We call up two people from the audience who don’t know each other and who, in fact, aren’t gay. We get the stories of their lives and recreate each of their childhoods onstage. How they meet and fall in love and we marry them right there on stage in front of everybody and God.

Legally? Is that the joke?
Yes, considering that they aren’t gay. Sorry, it’s legally binding. You’re gay now!
Yay, lesbians!
Argh, my greatest fear come true!
We’re converting you all! We also do a completely improvised musical. This is where the gaysian comes in, we get suggestions from the audience and make up a musical on the spot.

We also do all sorts of fun games with the audience to mix things up. Basically, we have an outline for the show and then whatever happens happens. So the March show is a tribute to St. Peppermint Patty, Patron Saint of Lesbians. So you will be seeing Marcy and Peppermint Patty and the Little Red-Haired Girl we’ll be exploring leprechauns and pots of gold and all that. 

We also incorporate audio and video. In my job with the station I’m able to go out and interview a lot of actors and so I usually ask them one or two questions about the gay experience. We play their responses on the monitors and use that to inspire scene work. For March we talk to a couple of Irish actors, Liam Neeson and Colin Farrell.

Nice. Tell them Drew says “hi!”
Yeah. Especially Colin Farrell, baby! That’s my kind of Irishman.
Liam Neeson and Colin Farrell can both get it
How can we be good improv audience members?
Great question! The audience does need to be warmed up a bit because improv gets people out of their comfort zones. Unless they’re really drunk, which you may or may not be on St. Patrick’s Day. A lot of us are taught to be quiet and polite. We don’t want to be put on the spot. But in improv it’s all about feeling free to shout out whatever’s on your mind. There’s no such thing as a bad idea. And as the night goes on people become more and more comfortable. It doesn’t have to be brilliant. It doesn’t even have to be funny. It’s our job to find the humor in it. So the key is to relax, let go, and not be inhibited. To feel free and join in and shout out whatever’s on your mind. 
What’s next for the Queerbots?
We’ve been doing monthly shows at Hamburger Mary’s and so far they’ve all sold out so we’re gonna continue that through May, I believe, and then take a summer hiatus to work on some other projects and our hope is to pick it up again in September. 

???
In a nutshell the shows are just a lot of fun. It’s a very fun, lighthearted look at being gay and lesbian in today’s world and we welcome straight, gay, lesbian, transgender, trisexual, androgynous, everybody is welcome. Bears, cubs, otters, you name it!

Things they haven’t even come up with yet!
Totally! We’ll take koalas. We’ll take platypuses.
I feel like a koala would be really cute.
You know what? I agree. What would that look like?
Maybe cuter than a cub? Shorter?
We may need to talk more about this later.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Aziz Ansari Comes to Colorado Springs for a One-Night Stand-up Comedy Event

Aziz Ansari will be performing live at Pikes Peak Center on January 29. Tickets go on sale today at 10 a.m.

Aziz Ansari is one of the biggest stars in the comedy world. Rolling Stone put him on the cover of their special comedy issue labeling him “the funniest man under 30."

He recently debuted his much anticipated third hour-long stand-up special Buried Alive on Netflix in November. The special was named one of the best standup specials of the year by The Onion AV Club and Paste Magazine.

Ansari co-stars opposite Amy Poehler in the beloved Emmy-nominated NBC series Parks and Recreation. Ansari’s portrayal of government employee ‘Tom Haverford’ has earned him critical praise including Entertainment Weekly naming him one of their “Breakout TV Stars,” TV Guide naming him a “Scene Stealer” and People Magazine naming him 2011’s “Funniest Dude in Prime Time.” 


Tickets can be purchased at www.pikespeakcenter.com, all front-range King Soopers, by phone at 719-520-SHOW, World Area box office, or at the Pikes Peak Center box office. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sexy Denver Native Matt Iseman Comes to Comedy Works

Matt Iseman will be coming to Comedy Works South at the Landmark this January. Originally from Denver, Matt Iseman became a doctor but left his medical practice behind to become an actor and comedian. 

You may recognize him from TV's 'Clean House' or from his appearance as a MileHighHotGuy back in 2010. I haven't seen his comedy so I can't speak to that but if you wanna see him half-naked and doing mildly homoerotic things, just check out the video below!
 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Margaret Cho: The Hardest Working Woman in Show Business Brings Her New Tour to Denver!

By Drew Wilson

Margaret Cho returns to Denver with her new Mother Tour on October 18 at the Paramount Theater. In addition to the tour, Cho is also currently starring in the new season of Drop Dead Diva as Terri Lee as well as a new web-series called In Transition where she plays a woman recently released from prison. But wait, there's more! The hardest working woman in show bidness also has a podcast called Monsters of Talk and in her spare time serves as the go-to guest-host on The View. 

I had a chance to chat with Ms. Cho recently and we talked about all of the above in addition to much, much more.

Drew: Hey Margaret, you've got a ton of stuff going on so let's just run right on down the list. The new season of Drop Dead Diva started not too long ago, are you still enjoying that gig after all this time?
Margaret: Yeah, it’s been about five seasons and it’s very cool to be able to go back and play a character after all this time. You really learn who this person is and it’s very interesting.

What do you find interesting about your character?
I think she’s interestingly different, she’s fun and strong. I personally have never worked in an office but I feel like I have worked vicariously through her. She’s cool she’s really like the boss of everybody. She controls everything and calls the shots even though she’s not the boss she is a boss!

You're also doing a web-series called 'In Transition'. What can you tell me about that? 
It's something I wanted to do with all my friends. I wanted to do this thing where it was easy and I could just hang out with people I enjoy and don’t get to see enough. A lot of them are from The Cho Show,which was my reality show years ago on VH1, and we just kind of made the series so we could have fun together and also it’s funny and cool.

It's also kind of timely with this Orange Is The New Black, prison-chic kind of moment in entertainment. Are you watching that?
I haven’t seen it but I loved the book. I’m saving it and planning to watch the whole season all at once. I actually prefer to watch TV like that and I think a lot of people do it nowadays. We just wait and watch the whole thing at one time, which is fun.

Just hang up the Do Not Disturb sign and disappear for a weekend?
Yeah! So cool.

I just found out that you have a podcast and I happen to be in the market for some new podcasts to listen to. I will be subscribing directly after this interview.
Oh good! It’s really great, it's called Monsters of Talk and it's all different people we interview. Recently we had Lady Bunny and Exene Cervenka. We went to a furry convention which was cool. It runs the gamut of entertainment and social stuff and people I run across. My co-host Jim Short it really funny. So we just go everywhere and interview really cool people.

Margaret, how is it you’ve got like 25 jobs and some people ain't got any? Seriously, I know a lot of people who are unemployed or underemployed and it seems like you are someone with some serious insight into how to find work. How do you do it?
I think the key is to start doing a job before you get paid for doing it. Find out what you really love doing. I spent a little bit of time doing comedy before I got paid for it and then when I got paid for it became a different thing. But I think with anything, there’s an investment in time where you have to make it more about the journey and the work and then generally you get compensated after. It can’t be like; oh, I want to be rich. I don’t think it ever works that way. It’s more like deciding 'I want to do this particular job' and then finding out all the ways you can do it. And then just do it.

I know you were lobbying for one of the recently vacated seats on The View. I would have loved to see you nab a permanent spot!
You know nothing is ever for sure and I’m definitely their temp at the moment. I’m kind of on call for that. It’s a great thing, to go on that show. I say that I wanted to be on it so much that I dressed up as Catwoman like Sean Young years ago when she wanted to be in Batman. It was funny. It’s a really great thing to be able to do it whenever they ask me. I’d love that job permanently.

The Mother Tour comes to Denver October 18. Speaking on behalf of longtime fans, is there anything left that we haven’t heard about your mother?
I think that there’s a lot of things left to joke about with her. There’s also a lot to do with my own kind of struggles with aging and my own idea about how old I am and how everybody kind of looks at me as a mother figure. 

There’s a period when you’re a woman in your 40s that everybody assumes you’re a mom and that’s kind of an identity for me as well. 

I have people who call me 'mother' as well so there are a lot of different meanings to the name.

As a longtime LGBT advocate and member of the community, what are your thoughts all of the recent changes and gains in terms of LGBT rights?
I don’t know exactly because it’s just so different all over. I live in Georgia sometimes and I travel all over and I wonder what does it all means for some of the more conservative states. I’m waiting to see how it plays out. I don’t understand exactly how something like marriage is going to work since it’s not legal everywhere. It’s definitely exciting. I’m curious about how it’s going to affect everybody, federal or state-to-state, what does it all mean? It’s an exciting time.

I’ve talked to you many times over the years and what always strikes me is how different your public persona is from your personality in these interviews. You're so bombastic on stage but kind of quiet and soft-spoken in person and in interviews as opposed to, say Kathy Griffin or Joe Rogan who seem, and I could be wrong, the same onstage as they do in their personal lives. Do you see yourself in those terms?
I definitely know that I’ve had to develop a stronger presence as a performer. When I started comedy I was so young and it seemed to be an insurmountable thing. Succeeding at comedy seemed like such a big task that I had to, um, be a sort of like, very strong, very forceful performer. It’s not that I act different, it’s just sort of that being on stage requires that iron will a bit. You just get very strong and unrelenting. I don’t know if it’s a different persona or anything, I’m not sure.

I posted on my Facebook that I was going to be interviewing you and I asked my friends if they had any questions they wanted to ask you. Author Michael Thomas Ford wanted me to ask you if
you think the platypus is an example of intelligent design or a failure of Coco Chanels’ warning to remove one accessory before leaving the house.
(Laughs) Well, intelligent design is not so intelligent all the time so it would probably be answer 'B', Coco Chanel.

And finally, what message do you have for readers of MileHighGayGuy and why should they come see the Mother Tour?
Well, I haven’t been there much recently so this will be exciting for me to come back and hang out. Also, your lungs are stronger than most because of all that altitude so I think that you’ve all got to come out and really laugh it up and show off that lung power. I think that would be amazing.

Margaret Cho’s new standup comedy show MOTHER is a complicated and completely original take on sex, queer politics, drugs, guns, identity and madness, proving time and time again, boundaries uncrossed are meaningless. Nothing is sacred, least of all, this MOTHER. Click here for tickets.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Download Free Passes for Special Screening of The Heat Starring Sandra Bullock and Mellissa McCarthy!

Do you want to see a special screening of the new comedy, THE HEAT on Tuesday, 6/11, at 7pm in Denver? Just click the link http://bit.ly/114jCF3 to download your printable pass for two! As a reminder, screenings are first-come, first-serve and these passes do not guarantee you a seat, so arrive early! THE HEAT opens in theater June 28!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Denver PrideFest 2013: Gay Versus Straight Improv Comedy Battle

Spark Theater will celebrate Denver Pridefest with the very funny Gay Versus Straight Improv Comedy Battle! 

Find out once and for all who's funnier....Gay or Straights as Team Gay and Team Straight go head to head improv style. Each show they put together new teams and new challenges to test mental and physical strength...and to see just how funny they really are. The winner is determined by a non-partial bisexual judge and you the audience! 

Show is on Saturday, June 15th at 7:30 p.m. at Spark Theater, 985 Santa Fe Drive in the Santa Fe Art District of Denver. Tickets are $10 and available online at www.sparktheater.org or if seats are available $10 cash at the door. Part of the proceeds will be donated to The Center.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Stand Up Proud: A conversation with openly gay comedian Thai Rivera (Part 1 of 2)


By Drew Wilson

Openly gay comedian Thai Rivera (along with pals Shawn Pelofsky and Dina Martinez) brings the Stand Up Proud comedy tour to Denver's Comedy Works this Sunday, April 29 at 7pm for one show, one night only of comedy by, for and about the GLBT community. 

I caught up with Thai on the road recently and we had a chance to talk about the tour, his personal brand of politically incorrect comedy, and homophobia in the world of stand up comedy. 

Here's part one of our two part interview.

Drew: Hey Thai, tell me how the Stand Up Proud Comedy Tour came about.
Thai: I was on the road with a comedian named Jo Koy for about a year and while I was on the road I would always meet other gay people and a lot of them told me they were glad to see me because they don’t usually go to comedy shows because sometimes they don’t feel comfortable because a lot of times comedians will say things that are homophobic. So I decided to put together a tour.

And how did you go about putting together a "gay" tour?
Well, this is gonna sound bad but I get tired of watching the same stereotypes on stage over and over. Whenever there’s a gay person, they’re ridiculously flamey and that’s cool and I know that’s a part of the gay community but that’s not all we are so I wanted to show a different side of what we are.


What different side of who we are do you feel you represent?
Actually I think I represent the majority of the community. When it comes down to it I don’t think gay people are that much different from straight people. I just think that a lot of times people are pushing the same things over and over again when it comes to being gay, like we’re all trying to get married. The gay media seems to be pushing the sames things over and over.

How would you describe your comedy?
I'm not politically correct at all. I say pretty much anything I want. I hit every demographic in my act, including gay people. It’s all in fun. It’s all good-natured. It’s very rare that people don’t get me. I just poke fun at everyone.

How did you end up teaming up with Shawn Pelofski (pictured, with friends) and Dina Martinez, the other performers on the tour?
A friend of mine named Steve Trevino brought it up to me. I don’t even know why but he thought I should start a tour in Texas. I don’t know why he was thinking of me so much but he called me out of nowhere and suggested that I have Shawn Pelofski and a different lineup but then I stumbled onto Dina Martinez who I think is great and asked if she wanted to come along and that’s how we ended up.

And how did you get hooked up with Comedy Works here in Denver? Did they jump at the chance for a night of gay comedy?
I worked there with Jo Koy so I already had a little bit of a relationship so when I came up with the tour I figured I’d give a call. It seems that Denver has a pretty good population of gay people and I’ve noticed that straight people in Denver don’t really seem to have an issue with gay. I haven’t noticed much homophobia when I’ve been there. Denver has this live and live attitude.

Check out part two of the MileHighGayGuy/Thai Rivera interview later this week. And stay tuned for free ticket giveaways to Stand Up Proud. Tickets are now available for Stand Up Proud at Comedy Works. For tickets or more information click here

Monday, April 9, 2012

Stand Up Proud - a night of comedy presented by Comedy Works and sponsored by MileHighGayGuy

Stand Up Proud with Thai Rivera and Shawn Pelofsky at Comedy Works.

A gay Mexican walks into a bar with Jewish girl from Oklahoma. Haven't heard that joke yet? That's because you haven't met Thai Rivera and Shawn Pelofsky. In a country where everyone is supposed to be treated equally, discrimination still exists. Bullying is on the rise and more people are standing up for what is right.

Now comes a comedy tour to defy the norm. It's time for no more hate and to STAND-UP PROUD with two of the edgiest comics today, Thai Rivera seen on Comedy Central's Live at Gotham, One Night Stand Up , SiTv's Latino 101 and Shawn Pelofsky, a regular on Chelsea Lately, NBC's Community and Showtime's Lip Service.

Stand Up Proud is presented by Comedy Works and sponsored by MileHighGayGuy for one night, one show only on Sunday, April 29 at 7pm. Stay tuned for more information and free ticket giveaways!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Go With Your Gut and Then Go With Your Gay: A Conversation with Anjelah Johnson

A Conversation with Anjelah Johnson
by Drew Wilson

Comedian Anjelah Johnson returns to Denver's ComedyWorks in Larimer Square this January 13-16.

Johnson began her career with a splash with one of the most successful viral videos of all-time, 'Nail Salon' but she may be best known from her time on MADtv as Bon Qui Qui, the King Burger employee who would cut you for placing a complicated order.

I had the chance recently to talk to Anjelah about her upcoming Denver appearances, why everybody thinks she's a lesbian, and the possibility of bringing Bon Qui Qui to the big screen.

Drew: Hey Anjelah, welcome back to Denver!
Anjelah Johnson: Thank you. It's been a couple of years since I was in Denver. I liked it there but it was colder than what I'm used to.


I'm afraid it's gonna be cold this time too.
I know. What is it, like, six degrees or something ridiculous?

Yeah. You're gonna freeze, girl.
I know! I don't know what I'm gonna do. Should I buy some longjohns? I predict I'm going to be completely unprepared for Colorado weather.

Anjelah, I have to tell you that I'm personally looking forward to seeing your show because, like every other gay man in the world, I'm a huge fan of Bon Qui Qui.Thank you!


How did the character of Bon Qui Qui come about?
Well, Bon Qui Qui is part my alter-ego, and a little bit of a lot of peole I've met throughout my life, but mostly she's a girl I encountered at a Burger King drive-through in Memphis, Tennesee. She was a mess. And another part of Bon Qui Qui is my little brother, who happens to be a ghetto-fabulous gay man.

You may not know this but pretty much every gay man in the world quotes that sketch pretty much every day. Are you aware of how much the gays love Bon Qui Qui? Yeah, it's crazy. I am aware that the gay community loves Bon Qui Qui and I love it but I think I have even more of a lesbian following because they think I'm a lesbian a little bit.

Why do they think that? Are you?
No, but I asked a girl one time. She had messaged me on myspace - this was when myspace was hot - and she was like 'Um, are you a lesbian?' and I said, 'I'm actually not but I'm curious to find out what makes you think that I am because I do get that fairly often'. Her response was basically because in my 'Nail Salon' video I wear my hair in a ponytail, I mention that I don't have a boyfriend, and I mention that I like my fingernails short.

Ha, well you can't blame a girl for trying!
I know! I was like 'Hmmm, that's all it took, huh?' But I love the gay community and I have my go-to gay boys that are near and dear to my heart at all times. Like, say you're getting ready to go out and you don't know if you look cute or not. I always say 'Go with your gut and then go with your gay!'

I see. And when was the last time one of your go-to gays decided you were not looking cute?
Yesterday. I was going to an audition and my brother and his best friend were at the house and I was wearing a scarf with my outfit. They didn't even say anything to me. They just full-on walked up to me, took the scarf off of me, and re-wrapped it the correct way. No words were said but the expression on their faces was all, "Oh, honey."

With as popular as the Bon Qui Qui sketch turned out to be, how is it possible MADtv didn't have you do any more?
You know what's funny? I was let go from MADtv before that sketch became popular. They let me go during the writer's strike. There were a lot of cutbacks and budget cuts and by budget cuts, I mean me.  And then, next thing you know, to everyone's surprise the sketch blows up on the internet. But it really benefited me, of course, and we've contemplated doing other things with Bon Qui Qui like possibly a movie or something but nothing's really felt quite right yet.


I'd pay to see that! If it was up to you, what would be the plot of the Bon Qui Qui movie?
Oh, hmmm, I don't know. I think maybe she would be given the opportunity of a lifetime that she really screws up and she has to redeem herself in the end.

I'd like to see her maybe start off in jail for a crime she didn't commit and have to get out and find the real criminals.
Yeah, there we go!


So, what can we expect to see from you in your show at ComedyWorks?
You know, I'm very observational and I talk about a lot of stories from my life. Right now where my act is, is I bring out some of the classics from my Comedy Central special and my time on the road and the people I encounter. It's almost like taking people on a little journey with me from Hawaii to Guam to Virginia and sharing things from my life.


Do you like being on the road so much?
No. No, I don't.

Ha, so it's pretty horrible?
It's hard. There are pros and cons but some people are just cut out for the road. They love it and it brings life into them but I'm such a homebody and I love to be home with my family and friends so it's difficult for me.

Also, it's one thing if you're a guy on the road becuase you can go out with fans after the show and hang out in bars and stuff. But when your'e a girl and you're young and people want to talk to you it's hard because you have to be aware of what you might be getting into.


So Anjelah Johnson is not trying to get with groupies?
Yeah, you know what I mean. I have to be cautious. When I'm on the road I go to the club, do my show, and go back to the hotel to sleep. If I'm lucky I'll get to do some sightseeing and that can be fun. I just started working with a road manager so now I've got company but I used to just go by myself.

That doesn't sound fun.
But it pays off. I love when people come up to me after a show and let me know how I've impacted their lives. It makes it all worth it and reminds you why you do what you do. You know, I don't wake up at four in the morning and go to the airport to wait in line for two hours for myself, I do it for my fans.


What message do you have for readers of MHGG and why should they be sure to come see you at ComedyWorks?
You know what? It's gonna be a great time and it's just all love. My show is just basically love and stories of my life and I invite you all into my life and eveyrbody is welcomed, accepted, and loved.

Anjelah Johnson will be appearing at ComedyWorks in Larimer Square January 13-16. You can follow her online at twitter.com/anjelahjohnson or at  www.Anjelah.com. For tickets to the show or more information, call 303-595-3637 or visit www.comedyworks.com

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cho Dependent: A conversation with Margaret Cho


Comedian, TV star, author, musician, belly dancer, Margaret Cho's been so famous for so long and for so many reasons that it's hard to believe that she's only 41-years old.

And, now appearing on the current season of the insanely popular 'Dancing with the Stars' - where she took out none other than David Hasselhoff on the first episode - whilst simultaneously crisscrossing the nation with her new Cho Dependent comedy tour, it's possible that Cho is at the pinnacle of her 20-year long entertainment career.

I was able to snatch a few minutes of her time recently to talk to her about 'Dancing with the Stars,' The Situation, Sarah and Bristol Palin, and, on a serious note, the recent spate of anti-gay bullying suicides.



Drew Wilson: How did you come to be involved with 'Dancing with the Stars' and are you going to be able to incorporate any of your belly dancing in your performances?
Margaret Cho: I was asked to do it and did some belly dance moves in my samba routine! It's hard though, because belly dance and Latin and Ballroom dancing are such different disciplines. Hopefully I will be able to incorporate more later if we stay in!


Was that you booing Sarah Palin?
There wasn't booing for her! They were booing the judges at the low scores given to Jennifer and Derek!


What was it like being up against The Hoff for elimination after the first episode? Did you think you were gonna be able to take him out?
No! He's so famous! He really is an international icon so it was amazing to have survived that! He's also a very nice man and really an elegant personality.



You're a self-proclaimed fan of 'Jersey Shore'. What's The Situation really like?
He's actually very shy, which is surprising. You'd never expect someone like that to have a shy side but he really does!

Have you had a chance to meet and discuss politics with Bristol Palin?
We haven't talked politics - just dance! She's a really nice person and very supportive and sweet.

 How in the heck are you managing to do 'Dancing' and tour the country with the Cho Dependent Tour? On a scale of 1-10, just how exhausted are you?
It's an 11. I’m completely tired physically but having a blast. I love doing both!

You're coming to Denver this Saturday with with the Cho Dependent Tour. What can Denver audiences expect from the show?
It's all new material - lots of surprises. It's my best show yet!


On a serious note, what are your thoughts on the recent spate of anti-gay bullying suicides?
It's heartbreaking. I used my storyline on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ to celebrate gay pride and reach out to the gay youth of our world. The bullying needs to end. The gay suicides need to end. We need to heal from this and teach our children to take care of each other.

Have you ever been bullied? What's the meanest thing a bully ever said or did to you? What would you say is the best way to respond to a bully?
Yes, I have been bullied. I have been told that I should kill myself - that this is a better option than being myself. It's terrible. I feel so much for all these kids going through this. The best way to respond is to love yourself and know that you are loved.

What message do you have for Denver's gay community and readers of MileHighGayGuy?
I can't wait to see you!

Margaret Cho brings her Cho Dependent Tour to Denver on Saturday, October 9 at the Paramount Theatre. Her album of the same name is now available and features comedy songs including 'The Bear Song.'