By: K. Pearson Brown
Let the pride begin. It’s June, and if you are gay, you know what that means. A month-long celebration of being gay. It’s a concept I’ve never quite understood, as sexual orientation is not something to necessarily be proud of — it’s like being left-handed or blue-eyed–but I do appreciate that in a sense gay pride means being out and honest about being gay, so in that case, let the celebration begin!
For starters, there’s a Showtime special, airing June 2, 9 pm ET/PT, Pride: Gay and Lesbian Comedy Slam, taped right over the hill in the Valley, which makes for a couple Westside snob jokes that only locals will understand. It features satirist and Oscar show-writer Bruce Villanch, Alec Mappa of Ugly Betty fame, Sandra Valls of Latin Divas of Comedy, Poppy Champlin of Logo, and Scott Kennedy, who has done 35 tours in Iraq to perform for the troops — you go guy!
The production values are good – love the colorful set design and disco bumper music in between acts – but ironically the best acts that really stand out focus on universal themes that have nothing to do with being gay, or at least where being gay is incidental.
Villanch is subversively funny as usual, name dropping and gossiping about some of the great talents in Hollywood he’s rubbed elbows with, including a bit about Sophia Loren and Jack Black, which has nothing to do with anything, but apparently he just wanted to tell the story. Mappa focuses a lot on sex and his role as a bottom, which is definitely TMI. Valls has some good laugh lines, but like some of the other performers, she gets down and dirty with bathroom humor, literally, in a gross story about a filthy restroom. Poppy Champlin is a bright spot in the show, and is totally endearing with her tales about flying with her dog, even if she does chuckle at all of her own jokes. Lastly Scott Kennedy, a big straight-looking guy, gets some belly laughs for his nobody-thinks-I’m-gay jokes, but his teasing of a squirming hetero in the audience goes a bit too far and verges on sexual harassment (though the guy has a good sense of humor).
Overall the show is good fun, though the recurring theme of bathroom humor was cringe-inducing at times. I wondered if straight people will watch the show and think, “Boy, those gays really are fixated on farts and poop.”
I bet their moms are very proud!