Queer comedians break ‘OUT’ in new series

 If laughter is the best medicine, a new queer comedy series is ready to write prescriptions and let the healing begin.

A diverse lineup of out comedians recently brought its collective sense of humor to the small screen for “OUT on Stage,” a new live comedy showcase on Dekkoo, the streaming service for gay men.

Comedian and Pittsburgh native Gloria Bigelow is one of the performers on the series, which also features Jonathan Rowell, Brendan Scannell, Casey Ley, Julian Michael, Irene Tu, Jared Goldstein, Raneir Pollard, Kyle Shire, Jordan Pease, Chris Bryant, Eric Hahn, Daniel Webb, Joe Dosch, Anthony Desamito, Janine Brito, A.B. Cassidy and Zach Noe Towers.

Bigelow said that being a part of such an eclectic array of LGBTQ talent was “an absolute delight.”

“It was great to be part of something where so many letters of the spectrum of queerness were part of it, and just seeing friends that I’ve known in the standup world that I haven’t seen in a while that were working on the project,” she said. Comedy specials geared toward LGBTQ audiences typically are subdivided, mainly focusing on gays and lesbians, with trans and nonbinary performers often under represented or not featured at all.

Bigelow, who has been in the comedy business for the better part of 30 years and has worked with the likes of Wanda Sykes and Ellen DeGeneres, is happy to see those barriers separating queer comedians start to dissolve with this series.    

“I did my first special 10 years ago,” she said. “It was a mix of lesbians and gay men. What I like about this is it’s all of us together. I’ve seen stand-up specials that have featured lesbian comics or gay men or up-and-coming gay comedians. What’s great about this is that it had everyone included.”

With more LGBTQ performers getting mainstream exposure and attracting mainstream audiences, is a showcase series like “OUT on Stage” as vital an outlet for queer comedians now compared to 10 years ago? 

“If you’d asked me two years ago, I would have said something different,” Bigelow replied. “I would have said that we’re part of mainstream culture and moved into more acceptance and queer visibility. But then I feel like recently things have taken a step backwards. That’s why I feel like a project like this is super important right now.

“Culturally now I’ve felt that more isms are more prevalent; the racism, the sexism and the homophobia,” she added. “All of those things feel more prevalent right now. That’s why I feel like having this kind of vehicle for stand-up is important, but also having this vehicle for others who aren’t stand-ups so that they can see that we’re just like everybody else. There are all kinds of jokes and all kinds of people making those jokes, and I think that’s good for an audience to see. Even though the area featured is Hollywood, but we’re from all over.”

“OUT on Stage” streams on Dekkoo, which is available internationally via iTunes, Google Play, AppleTV and Roku. For more information, visit www.dekkoo.com or www.globigelow.com.