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Getting to know ComedyFest's funnies

Chris Azzopardi

Need a laugh? Meet this year's Michigan LGBT ComedyFest bunch: Chantal Carrere, Erin Foley, Chris Doucette and Diane Amos (the Pine-Sol Lady!), all performing as part of the 16th annual event at 8 p.m. March 10 at Dearborn's Ford Community & Performing Arts Center.

Chris Doucette

Baby, were you born this way?
Totes. After I was born, I got a tattoo that said, "I'm never doing that again." I've never taken the scenic route since.

What do you find funny?
So much! The fact that people who run half-marathons brag twice as much as people who run full-marathons. Calvin and Hobbes. Elizabeth Smart got married and her honeymoon was in an "undisclosed location." You'd think she'd be sick of that place. And the YouTube video of that guy screaming at his cats? It kills me every time. "I will end you!" LOL.

Santorum. What's the first thing that comes to mind?
Sanitorium. You can't spell it without Santorum. (I might be a Words With Friends geek.) I feel like Santorum's campaign is the "Custer's Last Stand" of the white Christian population before the power finally shifts to our Chinese and Mexican overlords. Who, by the way, get half off at all my shows. Love you guys!

What's unique about your coming out story?
I came out in college and my dad threatened to stop paying my tuition. I had to remind him that I was paying for everything with student loans. He said, "OK, well, at least I can say that I tried something."

What was your life like before you became a comedian?
I worked for 10 years for a variety of nonprofit organizations in Washington, D.C., until, one day, I realized that I get no actual fulfillment from helping people. It's pretty scary when your aha! moment is that you're kind of a dick.

Chantal Carrere

Why comedy?
I didn't realize there was another choice! I love comedy. It's who I am and what I'm best at. I'm a truth teller, extremely high-energy and have a rhythm and delivery that is unique. I live to see people laugh.

What were you doing 10 years ago?
Winning competitions, hustling and laying the foundation for my career. I was also eating pudding pops and laughing out loud randomly as I flat ironed my hair.

Who's your celebrity crush?
There are so many hot women, but Stacey Dash is pretty wicked! Why? Have you seen her body and face – she's cute and hot!

Santorum. What's the first thing that comes to mind?
Sanitation and someone who won't win the president's seat.

What's unique about your coming out story?
I'm what's unique. That, and I had a hangnail. It's not an ideal way to start out as a lesbian. Who wants a lesbian with a hangnail? Well, there is someone. She was a masochist.

Diane Amos

Baby, were you born this way?
Baby, I was born this way – born to perform, born to be on stage making people think and laugh. At 4 years old I knew I was a performer. I put on shows for my mom and her friends – and yes, I charged them. A quarter, dime or nickel, sliding scale – my mom had a lot of hippie friends. I was politically correct before it was popular. I sang, danced and mimicked her friends. Can I get two eggs with that ham?

What do you find funny?
People are funny to me. Full-on human beings make me laugh. We are predictable and unpredictable, sometimes at the same time. My comedy is about folks, real folks we love to love… and hate. I bring characters to the stage so you can laugh at them without getting your ass kicked on a bus or at a party.

Santorum. What's the first thing that comes to mind?
People screwing wildly without birth control and a huge population explosion – mostly black, brown, non-white – speeding up the whites as a minority concept. And Santorum's therapist – he will need one – being a fine ass gay man who sets him straight… in a good way.

What was your life like before you became a comedian?
I took serious drama all through school, stumbled into Improv in high school in San Francisco, became professional at 15 and never looked back. I went to college for one year to appease my academia mother, quit, worked in banks, and then large-size women's clothing stores for years to support my acting habit. I went on three game shows, won lots of money, quit my day job, and the rest is history. I have two kids; oldest remembers me having day jobs until he was 8, and my youngest has only known me as a comedian… and the Pine-Sol Lady.

What did being the Pine-Sol Lady do for your career? And did you get a lifetime supply?
That I did! It allowed me to do other things that I enjoy doing in this business. I can do stand-up, movies and plays, and it's given me respect in the entertainment community. You keep this job because people like you.

Erin Foley

Why comedy?
Because life is exhausting. And ridiculous. And overwhelming. And I hate alarm clocks and nude nylons.

What were you doing 10 years ago?
Trying to figure out how to write jokes, perform them, get paid for it and not lose my mind in the process. See present day.

Who's your celebrity crush?
It's a tie between Halle Berry and Heidi Klum. Why? Because I'm really gay. Honorable mention is Jennifer Lopez when she's not speaking. I would also like to be held by Meryl Streep. I've yet to determine the length of time.

Santorum. What's the first thing that comes to mind?
Toe tapping. In an Amtrak bathroom stall somewhere in middle America. That's my prediction anyway. It's always the most outspoken men in politics that are the gayest. Except we don't want him. We, of course, meaning the entire gay population. I speak for the entire gay population once a week.

What's unique about your coming out story?
Perhaps it's unique because my mother asked me if I was gay at 7:30 a.m. over breakfast. Specifically, Rice Chex. You remember the small details during traumatic events. 7:30 a.m. She knows I'm not a morning person so I was ripe for an ambush. After some roundabouts, I said I was gay and she said she was devastated. Then about an hour later she gave me an article from her AARP magazine about creativity as if our conversation never happened. We never spoke about it again. I never had a conversation with my dad. About a month later I asked them if I could bring my girlfriend home for Thanksgiving. They welcomed her as they would every woman I've dated. My parents are the loveliest, funniest, most adorable, non-communicative people on the planet. Oh, Irish Catholics!

ComedyFest
8 p.m. March 10 ($35)
Dearborn's Ford Community & Performing Arts Center
15801 Michigan Ave.
http://www.comedyfest.org

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