Clockwise from left; Bridget McManus, Ted Morris, Gloria Bigelow and Jackie Monahan

The Laughing Stock

Meet This Year's ComedyFest Performers

By Samantha White

Some of the country's funniest comedians are coming to Michigan's LGBT ComedyFest at 8 p.m. March 9. Bridget McManus, Ted Morris, Jackie Monahan and Gloria Bigelow will perform during the 17th annual event at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center in Dearborn.

Bridget McManus

How long have you been funny?

I guess I have been funny since I was about 3 years old. But I am not sure if other people thought I was funny back then.

When and how did you come out?

I told my older gay sister I was queer when I was about 14 and she pretty much gave me a high five. She lives in Seattle now with her wife and my nephew. I'm actually expecting my new nephew in April. I came out to my mom when I was about 20 years old. She took it hard but she came to accept it after a lot of time and love.

Who makes you laugh?

My wife and my dogs make me laugh. Eddie Izzard is great. I love Amy Poehler. I really like Aziz Ansari. Zach Galifianakis is brilliant. I love comedians that don't always do the same things and constantly surprise themselves.

Who is the easiest celebrity to joke about?

I like writing about Hillary Clinton and Judge Judy - strong women who are just bad ass.

What's the best and worst part about being a comedian?

The best part is that it is a fantastic way to connect with people all over the world. I have had the opportunity to go to France and Germany - no matter where you go, people love to laugh. The worst part is when you are alone writing and constantly self-editing. I will ask my wife or family how they feel about a joke, but the writing part can be maddening.

Where were you five years ago and where do you see yourself five years from now?

Five years ago I was living in a studio apartment; my wife and I weren't quite together yet. We celebrate our five-year anniversary later this year. Five years from now I hope I am working with people who don't know how brilliant they are, like Lena Dunham. I love the show "Girls." Who knew how brilliant she was five years ago?

What are you looking forward to most about the ComedyFest?

I love doing gay shows. The audience always seems to have really open arms, minds and hearts. And I get the chance to perform with my friends Gloria and Jackie.

Ted Morris

How long have you been funny?

I've been funny since the womb. But, I've been doing standup for about 12 years. I was an improv guy and one day I went to support a friend who was trying standup - he wasn't really good. I found it interesting and I thought I'd like to do that.

When and how did you come out?

I was in vet school at the University of Guelph. I didn't realize that you had to come out to date people. So I was a late bloomer and came out when I was 24 or 25. I had a coming out party and invited everybody.

Who makes you laugh?

Debra DiGiovanni makes me giggle a lot. I like Mike Wilmot; he is one of my favorite Canadian comedians.

Who is the easiest celebrity to joke about?

Anyone who is full of themselves.

What is the best and worst part about being a comedian?

The best part is making people laugh. I love when you push them to the point that they snort their drinks out of their noses. The worst part is when that doesn't happen.

Where were you five years ago and where do you see yourself five years from now?

Five years ago I decided that I wasn't just going to do comedy as a hobby. I wanted to push myself. Five years from now, I hope I am doing this full-time in the States and the U.K., and working on a sitcom.

What are you looking forward to most about the ComedyFest?

I don't get to perform in front of gay audiences a lot. I don't know if I am gay enough for them here in Canada.

Jackie Monahan

How long have you been funny?

I've been funny since I was about 3 or 4 years old. I would run up to people with mustaches and call them daddy just to freak out my mom. We'd be at the grocery store and my mom would tell me to pick out the cereal I wanted and I would say "OK, as long as you don't beat me again."

When and how did you come out?

Coming out was easy for me. I told my mom and she went straight to therapy. If I would've known she was going to have that reaction, I would've come out when I was three years old. I identify now as a bisexual. I'm really just attracted to energy.

Who makes you laugh?

My best friend, Tom Van Wie, is the funniest guy I know. He and I have a sketch show at The Comedy Store in L.A. right now. I love Madeline Kahn - her timing and her quirkiness.

What is the best and worst part about being a comedian?

It's the best excuse for everything. Anytime I get into trouble I say, "I'm just kidding." I am 37 and I act like I am 23. I can get away with it now. The worst part is that a lot of other comedians take comedy too seriously.

Gloria Bigelow

How long have you been funny?

I've been funny since I was a kid, but back then it was as a defense when I was the only black kid in my neighborhood.

When and how did you come out?

I knew I was gay when I was about 12 or 13. I came out on my 25th birthday to a girl I knew was a lesbian and was hot.

Who makes you laugh?

I have a lot of laughter in my life. I work at a small charter school in Hollywood and the kids make me laugh. It's funny because they come to me, of all people, for discipline.

What is the best and worst part about being a comedian?

The best part is making people laugh and watching someone double over. There is nothing better than that feeling. The worst part is sitting through a homophobic, misogynist comedian who goes on before me. That happens a lot because comedy is so male-dominated - and it's annoying every time.

What are you looking forward to most about the ComedyFest?

Being able to do a show with Jackie and Bridget is going to be so much fun. I did my first special with Bridget. It's so great to do a show with them and just sit, watch them and laugh.

ComedyFest

8 p.m. March 9 ($35)

Dearborn's Ford Community & Performing Arts Center

15801 Michigan Ave.

http://www.comedyfest.org


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