For LGBT comics, Gay Pride Month is like our national trade show. Comic troubadours fan out across the land to Gay Pride parades, rallies, block parties, garden parties, and hootenannies. No wait, the hootenannies are for National Coming Day. We emcee rallies, introduce local politicos, ride in open convertibles waving sweatily to spectators pointing at us and mouthing, “Who’s that?” Sometimes we even get to perform short sets in between mega-amped, lip-syncing divas of the dance club scene.
In June we are Comics Without Borders. Our theme song is Johnny Cash’s “I’ve Been Everywhere, Man” and we get to all of the cities in his classic song. In the sixth line of the fifth stanza, between Hennessey and Spirit Lake, is Chicopee. I can now say, “Been there, done that.”
After a raucous evening, reading my book I TOLD YOU SO at the LGBT Center in New York and a delightful interview the next night at the 92nd St. Y with the hilarious Randy Cohen, “The Ethicist” of the Sunday New York Times magazine and the NYT blog “The Moral of the Story,” I headed to The Comedy Connection at the Wilbur Theater in Boston.
The last time owner Bill Blumenreich brought me to his classy club it was the week after 9.11 and his club was at Fanueil Hall. Time has passed, thank goodness, and Bill recently moved to the wonderful Wilbur Theater all newly renovated for comedy shows. It was great to do a full show in Boston again, although I did sense that attendees familiar with my emceeing Fenway Community Dinners were worried I would start to auction off theater seats or offer the chance to rename the Wilbur to the highest bidder.
For years, Bill, a legendary comedy booker, has also booked the Comedy Connection at the Hu Ke Lau, a huge sprawling Polynesian restaurant in western MA, known for its banyan trees, tropical hand-painted murals and flowing waterfalls. I did not get a chance to ask Mrs. Yee, owner and operator of the Hu Ke Lau, how the family ended up in western MA from Polynesia, but they rightly advertise that they bring “the magic of the islands to New England.”
My show was at 9 o’clock, leaving time for the hardworking staff to clear the crowd from the Polynesian Fire Dance Dinner Show at 7pm and to set up the room for my show. If you ever need a quick banquet room turnover, call me.
Fans from all over the tri-state area came to the show. Also two confused straight couples that kept waiting for me to whip out some tiki torches. I played to a room dotted with flickering fires of dying sterno flames under giant pupu platters. It was a blast even though we all were disappointed that the favorite daughter of Northampton, Rachel Maddow, was not in attendance. Too bad. We love her – especially how she’s been relentless on domestic terrorism at women’s clinics. She would have loved the Hu Ke Lau - they had adult beverages with paper drink umbrellas!
It was great to celebrate some Gay Pride in MA, the home of marriage equality. On this, the fifth anniversary of gay marriage in MA, I am happy to report from the field that the Commonwealth still stands. Someone please tell that to the people in Obama’s Justice Department who just defended the Defense of Marriage by likening the horror of gay marriage to pedophilia and incest. What would Obama say if he didn’t like gay people?