Transgender comedian Harvie not afraid to ... transgress
Nice guys don't finish last, especially when that nice guy used to be a nice girl. No, this is not the start to a brainteaser; the answer to that quandary is one of the nation's only transgender female-to-male standup comedians, Ian Harvie.
Harvie is a part of the critically acclaimed Come Out Laughing Comedy Tour, which is coming Jan. 24 to the Cruze Bar in the Strip District. The tour is a buffet of comedy flavors that also features lightning-rod lesbian comedian Dana Goldberg, along with the founder of the tour, “the gay next door” Jason Dudley.
The Come Out Laughing Comedy Tour is geared to anyone who feels like somehow they don't belong, which could include almost anyone. The performers are three funny people who happen to be gay.
Speaking to Harvie, you get the impression that he is finally home and very comfortable in his skin.
Question: What does each comic bring to this show?
Answer: Jason is the clean-cut comedian of the tour. His style is very off-the-cuff and natural. He is very easy on the ears and makes awkward subjects palatable.
Dana is a fiercely independent lesbian comedian. She is so smart and political. Even if you don't agree with her, you still like her.
Me, I feel like I'm the surprise of the tour. Not that I'm dirty, just some of my jokes are sexual in nature. I'm incredibly honest. Someone once said to me because of who I am (transgendered) that I shouldn't be an identity comic. I said, “Everyone is an identity comic.”
Q: Who were your role models in comedy?
A: Richard Pryor. Whoopi Goldberg — she was her characters; she was just a little girl wanting to be liked. Bill Hicks, Paula Poundstone and, of course, Margaret (Cho), she doesn't bat an eyelash — so honest. I like comedians that leave a piece of themselves up there. Also, there's comedian Fortune Feimster, who is really funny.
Q: How hard was it to do comedy when you first made the transgender transition?
A: The first time, I was very nervous, but if you're nervous, then the audience is nervous. I got more comfortable, and the audience got more comfortable. You get back whatever you put out. I am very comfortable in my own skin.
Q: What's something that people don't know about you?
A: I love chick flicks. I don't think there's anything (else) because I bring it all to stage.
Q: Any advice to any young people who are struggling with their sexuality?
A: I would say to anyone who is struggling with, whether they are gay, that who you are is not open to debate.
Comedian Matt Wohlfarth is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.