One night. Two shows. Five comics.
“It’ll be interesting to see,” says Dewey Chaffee, whose first boyfriend was a Puerto Rican drag queen.
“It doesn’t get any gayer than that,” the comic says. And, well, he’s right – for the most part. On Saturday, five gay comedians will share one stage. And that’s pretty damn gay.
Dewey wasn’t always vocally funny. As an introverted child, he was far from the class clown in school. “Some [comedians] were [class clowns], but most were not,” he says. He’s managed, however, to make a career out of comedy by impersonating Ace Ventura and working in a Disney improvisational comedy troupe in Orlando.
“Comedy just comes along and just saves you from insanity,” he says.
Dana Goldberg knows what it’s like to be saved. Not by God or any supernatural figure, but by 600 “crazy” lesbians during her first 7-minute spot.
“When I hit my first big joke, I heard the most deafening laughter I had ever heard and I went into this zone and nothing could’ve gone wrong,” Dana says. “Everything that came out of my mouth was golden.”
Recently featured as one of Curve’s top 15 up-and-coming comics in the nation, Dana feels fortunate. “There’s a lot of people trying to do what I’m doing and to be chosen like that from one of the magazines I respect so highly is so great,” she says.
Snappy with her comebacks, Dana is quick to respond to a mention of Dick Cheney’s recent run-in with a hunter. Calling the incident “hysterical,” she continues, “It’s nice to know that everyone in the administration can’t hit the target they’re shooting for.”
San Francisco resident Rene Hicks had a different take on the incident. “It makes me think that’s probably why Colin Powell never went hunting with him,” she says. “I could just picture Cheney saying, ‘It was getting dark, I couldn’t see.'”
Dana is looking forward to meeting Rene and recalls performing with fellow ComedyFest headliner Ronn Vigh in California. “He’s a fireball on stage,” Dana says.
Ronn is having an “Anna Nicole Smith moment” by shoveling blackberry bread pudding into his mouth as he tells me he is, or was – and at this point it’s unclear – in the midst of dating a guy that would rather make scrambled eggs than give him head. “I don’t need it all the time,” he says. “But I need more than a little peck on the cheek after six weeks.”
Another week passes, still no sex and now, no more eggs. “I didn’t even get a granola bar this week,” he says, pouting. It’s not like Ronn is picky about pitching or catching. “The simple answer is: can be both, has been both, will do both for the right amount of money,” he says.
Currently, he’s shooting scenes for a Bravo reality show, which hooks him up with, interestingly enough, straight females. “Some of us will do anything for our 15 minutes of fame,” he says.
Ronn calls himself the anti-gay gay. But after bringing George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex” to Mrs. O’Connell’s sixth grade gym class to do warm-ups to – and getting kicked out of class for it – he decided to go for something milder, maybe even gayer, as Dewey would put it. “I brought Mariah Carey’s ‘Vision of Love,'” he says, laughing.
Rene, who performs on Olivia Cruise Ships, is all too familiar with Mariah and, unfortunately, her debut flick. “I don’t blame Mariah for the breakdown,” she says. “I went to see her in the movie ‘Glitter’ and I had a breakdown right after that ’cause I spent eight f–king dollars to see such a terrible movie. It took me months to recover my own damn self and I wasn’t even in the movie.”
Some people weren’t even aware Mariah ever slipped under the radar. Poppy Champlin, a former Joan Rivers impersonator, is one of them.
After performing Joan River’s material for years, Poppy realized “it was sort of illegal.” Poppy’s comedy career blossomed after she finally picked theater as her major at the University of Rhode Island and performed a monologue in a play produced by the Oceanography department. “We were all fish, I was a stand up fish – a fish stick,” she says.
Her oceanic-gig drew so many laughs that “people were spitting out their food and falling out of their chairs.” Without a comedy career, Poppy would be doing some type of manual labor. “I’d be shoveling dirt somewhere,” she says.
Thankfully, the only thing these comics will be digging up this weekend is laughter. Rene puts it best when describing the need for comedians. “I think people need to be able to escape the daily grind,” she says. “Laughter reduces stress.”
One night. Two shows. Five comics.