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The “Miss Congeniality” is your pageant dyke. A “Speed” dyke can effectively drive a 40-foot transit bus. And witchy lesbians can all see themselves represented in “Practical Magic.” Who knew that the best way for lesbians to categorize each other is based on the Sandra Bullock movie that they relate to most? Or that the easiest way to end a date with a perfectly timed first kiss is by ordering your love interest an Uber and using the app’s built-in timer? Thankfully, these secrets and more have been steadily cracked since 2017 for the benefit of all lesbiankind by the veritable gay gurus Rachel Scanlon and McKenzie Goodwin of the “Two Dykes and A Mic” podcast.
Normally based in Los Angeles, in addition to being a regular podcast, “Two Dykes and a Mic” is a standup show that showcases not only the comedy of hosts Scanlon and Goodwin but features brand-new and seasoned queer talent in an LGBTQ-affirming space. However, on Thursday, Oct. 10, Michigan fans can get their own taste of the live show experience when it visits The Magic Bag in Ferndale on tour. Ahead of their Michigan stopover, BTL caught up with the hosts to learn more about their comedic starts, parse out what being a lesbian in today’s society means and how the elements of a show come together.
May I just say that the Sandra Bullock lesbian movie meter is highly accurate? I’d like to think of myself — particularly during this time of year — as a “Practical Magic” lesbian.
McKenzie Goodwin and Rachel Scanlon: (Laughs)
Goodwin: Yes! Listen, I’m right there with you; ’tis the season! We love our witchy dykes.
So, how did you two meet?
Scanlon: I’m so glad you asked how we met. I started doing an open mic and it was called “Two Dykes and a Mic.” And one day, McKenzie came in to watch this open mic. Little did she know, that that was the day that my girlfriend and I broke up on stage.
Goodwin: Yeah, it was so funny. I was watching and I was like, “These girls are hilarious!” I thought it was a bit. I had no idea it was real.
Scanlon: It was very real. That’s why we do not date comics anymore (laughs). And then after she sat around for a while and realized it was happening she decided to send me a DM.
Goodwin: I slid in her DMs.
Scanlon: And said, “If you need another lesbian to host with you now that this girl is not dating you anymore, let me know.” And I got that DM and I was like, “Oh, this girl wants to sleep with me. Obviously.” Turns out, just business, no pleasure (laughs). And McKenzie and I started hosting that open mic together and we then turned it into a podcast. And, from there, it turned into a monthly live show in Los Angeles. And then, in this past year, we’ve been touring around the country with Two Dykes and a Mic live.
The content of your podcast is broken up by various categories like “Rachel’s Toolbox” and a gay news portion. Are those categories interchangeable? And how do you organize your episodes around them?
Goodwin: They do, yes. So, we kind of rotate them in and out depending on what’s going on in our lives. So, we also have another segment called “Bumble Bumbles,” which is because I date online a lot — Tinder and Bumble and Hinge. And I’m just really bad at it. So, I’ll do a segment every couple of weeks where I’ll talk about how bad my dating life is going.
Scanlon: And yeah, we make them so that we have so many segments that it is flexible to do. So, if we have week where Taylor Swift is on the VMAs riding a giant gay rainbow, we’re going to do heavy gay news and focus on that. And if we have a week where McKenzie, I don’t know, bites her tongue so bad that she’s gushing blood so hard five minutes before a date then we’re going to do more “Bumble Bumbles” stuff. And based on how we want the week to go, we’re able to talk about whatever’s relevant to us within those segments. And also, ones that are evergreen like “Rachel’s Toolbox.” I always will have more sex tools to review (laughs). And we review a lot of lesbian movies as well. And there are so many of them.
McKenzie: And they’re mostly really bad.
I’m definitely guilty of watching three seasons of terrible content just to get to a scene with some rumored lesbian subtext.
McKenzie: Yeah (laughs). Although we won’t watch three seasons just to get one gay scene, we’ll go straight to that scene and just watch it. Although, in my life personally, I’ve watched too much content for one lesbian kiss.
That would save me a lot of time, just going to the gay part, but I love a backstory!
Scanlon: Of course, lesbians love a backstory.
Goodwin: We love a backstory!
So what’s yours? How did you get your start in comedy?
Scanlon: So, I moved out here from Minnesota, started doing open mics. Once I started doing open mics, I was doing them every day. And then that turned into doing shows, and then that turned into doing your own shows, and then once I was able to — once McKenzie basically wedged her beautiful way into my path — then we were really able to take over. We basically built our own little comedy world for people like us and for ourselves. So, we were able to make space for queer women in LA to have their own show that’s thriving and not just —
Goodwin: One comic on an all-male lineup.
Scanlon: Right. Or is an all-gay show that kind of has a following, but it kind of fizzles out. We have a consistent space that is a really well-run show that has really good comics on it that didn’t exist before. And even when the show was small and just open mics the reputation of our room was that it was a really supportive space to be able to try new stuff, run by two open lesbians doing material that, whether it’s queer or not, we try to just do that.
Goodwin: I’m from Arizona. I started standup and I wasn’t as into it as I am into writing, but once I met with Rachel I started doing it a lot more often. And we just had so much fun together onstage that it definitely pushed me to do standup more than I would have regardless. And I think that Rachel and I have so much fun together, and we just love to do comedy together.
Scanlon: Here’s the thing: we weirdly have a lot of similarities that we would be drawn together cosmologically. But comedically? We could not be more different.
Goodwin: I know. Truly.
Scanlon: McKenzie is like very written, planned out, slow burn; Like a genius, a low-energy genius. Big punchlines coming at you that are just like daggers. And I am basically a —
Goodwin: A ginger clown.
Scanlon: A ginger clown! Very lewd, can do crowd work, can kind of get lost in my own high-energy machine gun. And also, dating-wise we’re very different. So, when you put that together it’s very fun to see two queer women that are platonic best friends with very different experiences and very different styles comedically.
That must be incredibly grounding, to have a comedy partner to bounce ideas off of regularly.
Goodwin: Totally, yeah. We pitch jokes to each other at all times.
Scanlon: At all times! Almost constantly. Whenever we’re going to or from any type of show it’s, “Do you like this? Is this a good idea? How do you like this?” And also like a hype man, too. We don’t want to speak for all of the queer world, and we want to tell our specific stories in a way that includes everyone. So, to bounce ideas off of each other and to have a built-in hype man for you that understands comedy, understands you and is just like, “Let’s do this together, have fun and you’re so funny. Let’s take over the world” [is great].
Since you’ve started the podcast and live show what have you learned about what it means to be a lesbian today? Has your perspective changed since starting the show?
Goodwin: Yeah, actually, it really has. Even if I listen to some of our older episodes, I feel like we’ve both grown so much in the queer community. And being able to both understand what everything means and being more aware and inclusive, So I know that I’ve definitely grown.
Scanlon: Comedy comes from your specific point of view, and then being able to be inclusive to an entire community I think has made us grow comedically to be able to reach a wider audience of the queer community that is not just white lesbians. You’ve got to keep in mind how to stay relevant for a community that is only expanding and becoming more inclusive to a wider group of people. It’s easy to stay in a little hacky lesbian bubble of, “Lesbians be like this!” And, “Wear your Birkenstocks and go to Home Depot!” And we’ve heard that so many times it’s tired. How can we make this — without pandering to a straight audience, without being the lesbian clown —
McKenzie: [Be] fresh and new and not a cliché.
Scanlon: And how can you do that in a way that makes people feel like, “Hey, I feel seen by that joke.” Or, “I see myself in that story on the podcast.” And without having to be serious totally, because a lot of lesbian material is pretty freaking somber stuff. And without doing it from yesterday? So now what? It’s like basically, lesbian content 3.0. It’s like now we’re here in a world where it’s post coming out, it’s post everything’s a problem. Now what? And we’re funny, and so what? It makes you kind of grow up as a writer as well as a lesbian performer.
It does feel like today, compared to 10 or 15 years ago, LGBTQ comics are much less the butt of the joke now and more relatable to a wider audience.
Scanlon: Right, the comedy is less about, “Oh my gosh, you’re gay!?” It’s specifically: What is a McKenzie Goodwin point of view? What is a Rachel Scanlon point of view in its whole? It’s specific to how we see things, and part of our lens is that — and I hate to say that it’s that we’re gay, but it’s a part of the story as opposed to the butt of the joke that you’re gay. It’s that these are our point of views and stories and perspectives and are told through women in that we are gay women and what else can we say.
So for those fans who have only listened to your podcast and haven’t been able to make it to a live show, what can they expect that will be different when it comes to The Magic Bag?
Goodwin: So, at our live show we have a host who comes out and performs and they’re always going to be either a female or LGBTQ. And then each of us do about 20 to 30 minutes of standup. You get a little bit more of our perspective and our individual sets. And then we come together and at the end we do the podcast, which is a lot of like “Ask the Dykes” so the audience can participate and ask any questions they want to know about either us, or our views on things or certain things like that.
Scanlon: Yeah, and we can talk about specific things that have happened in that day, too.
Goodwin: It’s very tailored to the particular audience that day.
Scanlon: It gets intimate! And it’s super fun doing the podcast live. And it’s such a treat, because when we perform standup live this is us. We have put years into the material and we’re doing it. And when you see the podcast live we get two stools, we’re sitting, we’re really enjoying the moment that we create onstage. And those are personally lived by the people who show up in that moment. And they’re kind of magic.