Comedians descend on Strip District for evening of ‘Cake’
Suzanne Westenhoefer and Chrissy Costa are comedians.
They don’t want to be labeled solely as female comedians or gay comedians.
They are simply comedians.
They’ll perform in Pittsburgh at 8 p.m. Saturday at Cake Pittsburgh nightclub in the Strip District. The event is called “An Evening of Laughing and Dancing and Eating Cake” and is hosted by iCandy Pittsburgh, an LGBTQ event-planning service.
Nationally known, Westenhoefer is from Columbia in Lancaster County. She attended Clarion University and lives in Los Angeles.
She was the first openly lesbian comedian with an HBO special and the first lesbian comedian to appear on “Late Night with David Letterman,” according to her website.
She said all people should feel free to come to this show — gay, straight, male, female.
“What I have to say is funny to them, too,” she said. “This is not a lesbian event. It’s a comedy show, and I am a lesbian.”
Westenhoefer feeds off an audience and will change up her act if what she starts with isn’t making them laugh. She said being a comic is like being a storyteller.
“Hey, I am there for them,” she said. “If you aren’t making them laugh, jump to something else. This is a night out for them and some of them are paying for baby-sitters. They paid for this show and some of them also paid for parking.”
Westenhoefer was bartending in New York City when a customer suggested she try stand-up comedy. She won an open mic contest in 1990, and the rest is history.
People connect through laughter, said Costa, who lives in Braddock and grew up in East Liberty. She will be the opening act. She is looking forward to taking the stage the same night as Westenhoefer, whom she considers a mentor. Costa said Westenhoefer shows she is able to relate to different audiences and share what they are feeling to make a connection.
With her style of comedy, Costa said she tries to stay relevant — as well as random, extravagant, silly, intelligent, satirical and thought-provoking.
“My favorite comedians are the ones who can make me laugh and think respectively,” Costa said. “I’m constantly working on ways to do this on stage. I’ve always considered myself a stronger writer than performer, but I do standup to challenge myself. To grow. I also do it to relate to others.”
She said she’s always been silent about her struggles, but humor, laughter, and comedy saved her.
“I don’t label myself as a gay comic,” Costa said. “I’m just a comic who happens to be gay. But there is more to my story than my sexual preference. I perform in front of many different audiences with the intent of being relatable through stories and life experiences. I believe the more we label ourselves, the more divided we become.”
Cake Pittsburgh is located at 1900 Smallman St. in the Strip District and offers casual-type seating options throughout the venue, including couches, bar stools, and balcony seating.
Tickets are $25.
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 412-320-7889, [email protected] or via Twitter .