A FESTIVAL FOR THE REST OF Y’ALL
Well, gay pride weekend has come and gone, and sadly, this year, it coincided with what I’m dubbing Unfunny Gay Comedy Weekend. It all kicked off with a trip to see my friend Victoria’s stand-up show at a local laugh joint. Vic was just about the only comic whose set was neither unfunny nor gay-obsessed. I’m all for the gay jokes people, but in 2004, your observations need to have a bit more depth than “men rape men in prison” or “gay people have sex in the ass” or “[insert celebrity here] looks like a faggot”. An hour of this and one bonus drink over the two drink minimum left me with one riled-up boyfriend on my hands.
What better way to detox from all of this than with some bad straight (unintentional) comedy. So it was off to the midnight screening of “Showgirls”, where we met up with Other Drew to relive the adventures of Nomi and her breasts and the breasts of various people she met along the way. We left the theater at around 2:30 am laughing and tired and pondering why the character who looks like Joe Eszterhas turns out to be the evil rapist. It seems an odd coincidence, although maybe Joe didn’t mean for him to be a bad guy, since after all, he did let his bodyguards go first.
Saturday night we debated seeing “Dodgeball”, but rumor has it it’s full of gay jokes, so rather than risk a repeat of Friday night at the comedy club, we decided to see “The Stepford Wives” instead. What a relief. “Wives” has no jokes at all. What it has instead is what Paul Rudnick seems to think are jokes these days, which is a sentence uttered by an actor that has the setup and rhythm of a joke but without the funny part at the end. Example: “Stepford is a perfect town. It has no crime, no poverty and no pushing.” This from the guy who once wrote movies with actual comedy in them like “Addams Family Values” and “Jeffrey”. Other Drew coined a new term to describe Rudnick’s brand of humor: “bon nots“. (It was a lone respite of funny gay comedy in Unfunny Gay Comedy Weekend.)
On Sunday, we headed out for the gay pride parade, and we had an Ant sighting! Soon after we got there, we realized there was a bona fide Last Comic standing right next to us. (Gosh, I hope I’m not outing him.) I felt kind of sorry for the star of America’s favorite rigged reality show, because in the brief time he was near us, he got noticed about a billion times, mostly by the people on the floats passing by, and he seemed a bit embarrassed by all the attention. (Guy waving from the back of a convertible: “Hey, I saw you on TV!” Ant: “… and I’m seeing you in a car!”) After about ten minutes or so, he finally slinked away, perhaps hoping for a return to anonymity. (Soon enough, Ant. Soon enough.)
Even less funny were two guys standing across the street from us holding wooden crosses. It wouldn’t have been quite so disturbing if there were any indication they were there to ward off vampirse, and if the guys weren’t so redneck-looking, and if the crosses weren’t ten feet tall. It takes a lot of oomph to hold up a ten-foot-tall cross for two hours straight. It’s a safe bet that anyone who’s doing so is either trying to make a serious and creepy point, or is preparing to die for mankind’s sins. We kept our distance — and a suspicious eye on them — the whole time.
At the festival, attendees pretty much fell into three groups: 1) people wearing t-shirts with funny slogans on them; 2) people wearing no shirts; and 3) me. This year, there were actual rides, which seemed like fun at the time. A bit of advice from me to you: cheap margaritas and rickety old carnival rides are not a good mix. Another bit of advice: Clown Town isn’t nearly as much fun as its name suggests. Since spotting Clown Town from the street the day before, it was all I could think about. I spent most of the morning imagining the wonders I’d find inside. Sadly, Clown Town turned out to be only about 60% operational. There were moving walkways and moving stairs and a shake shack like in “Grease”. But some of the walkways didn’t work, so you had to pretend they were difficult to walk on if you wanted the full Clown Town experience. There was a mirror that made you look short, a mirror that made you look tall, and a mirror that needed to be cleaned. Then there was a painting that said “Clowns of the Year” with sketches of buildings labeled “Enron” and “WorldCom”. Even the social satire in clown town was clunky and out of date. The best part promised to be the spinning tube you got to exit through. Buzzkill of the day: the sign above this tube that said, “No handstands”.
From there, it was just a couple of mojitos until bedtime. I missed the primetime performances by K-Lo and Tamyra, but at around 3 in the afternoon, I did see a group that was introduced thusly: “They toured last year as Klymaxx 2.0, and now they’re called Kontroversi!” Let me ask you this: is there really any controversy about this band, except perhaps for their poor spelling?
On our way out, we saw the guys with the crosses again, standing on a corner across from the festival. With a couple of martinis in him, Drew was brave enough to chat them up. It turns out they were there to spread the message that God loves everyone, and true Christians aren’t like the jerks with the gay-bashing signs who yell nasty things at the paradegoers. It was a relief, but I wanted to tell them there’s a reason the gay-bashers hold signs: it makes it clear why they’re there and lets us know not to bother hitting on them. Next year, instead of holding those big, scary crosses, why not make up a nice banner that says “Jesus Loves You (Which makes him kinda gay, too, in a way)”. Or better yet, put it on a t-shirt.