Why “OUT on Stage: The Series” is Very Important

It’s no secret that straight, white males have dominated the stand-up comedy scene since its creation. Luckily for members of the LGBTQ community, there’s a new TV series dedicated to changing that. OUT on Stage: the Series showcases LGBT comedians breaking OUT of stand-up comedy’s status quo and presents to the world something groundbreaking that will make a place for queer comics in the stand-up comedy world for years and years to come.

Hosted by Zach Noe Towers, OUT on Stage was filmed in L.A. in front of a live audience and features comics Gloria Bigelow, Janine Brito, Chris Bryant, A.B. Cassidy, Anthony Desamito, Joe Dosch, Jared Goldstein, Eric Hahn, Casey Ley, Julian Michael, Jordan Pease, Raneir Pollard, Jonathan Rowell, Brendan Scannell, Kyle Shire, Irene Tu, and Daniel Webb. The series consists of six episodes that run roughly around 35 minutes, three queer comics performing each episode and sharing their comic routine. You may be asking what’s so revolutionary about that?

After all, LGBTQ comedians aren’t exactly new. I mean, hello? Ellen Degeneres, Tig Notaro, Wanda Sykes, Lea DeLaria, and Jaffe Cohe n are only but a few of the many revered queer comics. The list goes on and on and hopefully will continue to grow as we move forward into the next decade and progress as people. But here’s what really sets OUT on Stage apart from the LGBT comedians before it: it’s queer comedy for queer people.

In the past, LGBTQ comedians performed for primarily straight, cisgender audiences which begs the question: were they truly being accepted or were they just the butt of the joke the whole time? In the world of stand-up comedy, most comedians will take whatever laughs they can get whether it’s at the expense of other people or even themselves, and queer comics are no exception. “I have built a career out of self-deprecating humor, and I don’t want to do that anymore… I put myself down in order to speak, in order to seek permission to speak, and I simply will not do that anymore, not to myself or anybody who identifies with me. If that means that my comedy career is over, then, so be it,” says queer comic, Hannah Gadsby, in her Netflix special, Nanette (2017). But what if this arena where self-deprecation is key to a queer comic’s success is based more on the heteronormative audience than the comic themselves? More to the point, maybe Gadsby’s notion of quitting stand-up comedy isn’t quite the right idea. Maybe all queer comedy needs is the right audience.

With that in mind, what makes OUT on Stage so great is that it doesn’t cater to a straight, cisgender audience, and actually supplies these queer comics with a primarily queer audience. It’s in this uncensored space where LGBTQ stand-up comedians can unabashedly thrive without fear of judgment or persecution, sharing their queer experiences with queer people. In fact, the key to this show’s magic is the experiences that both the audience and the comic share having lived the life of someone who identifies as queer. Whether intentionally or not, this series has given queer stand-up comedy the chance to truly come OUT of the closet and show off its big guns.

While OUT on Stage is a major step for queer-identifying people everywhere, there were also a few drawbacks (that—for the record—could be chalked up to these comics being used to catering to non-inclusive, patriarchal audiences in order to make headway in the stand-up comedy industry). The biggest flaw with the series was that it was incredibly male-centric (although it could also be argued that gay men haven’t had a chance to thrive in the comedy industry because straight men find them threatening to their ideas of manhood and that lesbians created a space because they’re deemed “non-threatening”). Lesbians Irene Tu, Janine Brito, A.B. Cassidy, and Gloria Bigelow showcased their talents on the show, but a more diverse group of LGBTQ comedians would have been even more revolutionary.

In fact, aside from the gays and lesbians, it seemed that the other letters of the acronym were particularly lacking. Seeing as we’re still fighting for trans rights to use the bathroom, maybe comedy isn’t yet quite a safe enough place for transgender people. And bisexuals, I’m sure, are clinging to the low-side of the Kinsey Scale in order to relate to their straight audiences. You can’t exactly blame the oppressed for playing the hand they’re dealt.

Another observation that was less than ideal was the reinforcement of some negative stereotypes amongst the community such as enforced “traditional” gender roles amongst same-sex partners, unsafe sex positivity, and fat shaming. Maybe this analysis is a bit too critical considering it is a stand-up comedy show where political correctness and progressive ideals are put on a slight pause. Regardless, OUT is innovative, and hopefully, we can look forward to the second season of OUT to break down some of these barriers.

At the end of the day, OUT on Stage is a great show for the LGBTQ community to finally get a taste of what comedy aimed at their own experiences is like. If you’re looking for some gut-wrenching laughs, OUT on Stage the series can be streamed on Dekkoo, a gay-centric streaming service. It’s what queer people deserve. One step for gays; a giant step for LGBTQ-kind everywhere.

Very special thanks to Austin for sharing! You can watch OUT on Stage now on Dekkoo.

New This Week – 1/18/19

Dekkoo and Comedy Dynamics present ‘OUT On Stage’, an absolutely hilarious and one-of-a-kind original stand-up comedy series. Hosted by Zach Noe Towers – OUT Magazine’s “One of the 10 comedians to watch in 2018”, ‘OUT On Stage’ brings sixteen of the funniest LGBTQ comedians working today into your home! Binge the entire first season of ‘OUT On Stage: The Series” now!

Award-winning male-erotic photographer Ohm Phanphiroj’s explores desire in a singularly artful and frank way with these short films. ‘DESIRE: The Short Films of Ohm’ are available to stream on Dekkoo!

When his partner Cody dies in a car accident, Joey learns that their son, Chip, has been willed to Cody’s sister. In his now solitary home life, Joey searches for a solution. The law is not on his side, but friends are. ‘In The Family’ is available now on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week: A gay series about an up-and-coming young rapper fighting the music industry and his own insecurities surrounding his sexuality.

Don’t Miss OUT on Stage, the New Dekkoo-Original Comedy Series!

A Dekkoo-Original, co-produced with Comedy Dynamics, OUT on Stage: The Series is now available!

OUT on Stage is THE absolutely hilarious and one-of-a-kind, originally produced comedy hosted by Zach Noe Towers. The director and star of Killer Friends (on Dekkoo now), Zach was one of OUT Magazine’s “10 Comedians to Watch in 2018.” Comedian Sarah Silverman calls him “So, SO, SO Funny.” He’s also the current host of The Elite Daily Show on Verizon’s Go90 Network.

Experience the party when Zach and 16 other top-rated LGBTQ stand-up comedians discuss taboo subjects as only they can. The massive cast includes: Jonathan Rowell, A.B. Cassidy, Casey Ley, Julian Michael, Chris Bryant, Eric Hahn, Janine Brito, Jared Goldstein, Kyle Shire, Jordan Pease, Irene Tu, Raineir Pollard, Daniel Webb, Anthony Desamto, Gloria Bigelow and Joe Dosch.

Gather your friends for a full season of comedy you won’t soon forget! Check out the trailer for OUT on Stage below.

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Spend 4 Days in France

Writer/director Jérôme Reybaud’s remarkably accomplished feature debut 4 Days in France is a sly and sophisticated take on gay romance in the 21st century.

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On a seemingly ordinary night in Paris, Pierre (Pascal Cervo) takes one last look his lover Paul’s sleeping body, then steals away into the early morning light. Where he’s headed, neither of them know. Pierre’s only guide is his Grindr app, which leads him on a series of encounters with an indelible cast of characters across the French countryside. Upon realizing that his lover is gone, Paul (Arthur Igual) sets out after him, using his own phone to track Pierre’s movements in a strange and wonderful game of Grindr cat-and-mouse.

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4 Days in France earned ecstatic reviews from critics when it was released in a limited theatrical run last year. Slant Magazine called it “A kind of ode to cruising writ large,” and said “There’s something endearing, if not uncanny, about the way the film evokes universal truths about erotic wandering.”

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Watch the trailer for 4 Days in France below. The film is now streaming on Dekkoo.

Short Film Spotlight: What About Shelley

Shelley and Billy (Alyssa Owsiany and writer-director Kyle Reaume) are best friends, but their friendship is greatly tested when Shelley’s boyfriend, Adam (Daniel Kelly), secretly comes out to Billy… the only other gay man he knows.

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A stylish, smart and funny 12-minute short film, What About Shelley was funded through the inaugural Inside Out BravoFACT Pitch Competition, a $50,000 prize awarded to director/star Kyle Reaume by the Inside Out LGBT Film Festival and BravoFACT.

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What About Shelley premiered at Inside Out and went on to screen at eighteen different film festivals worldwide. You can watch the full short now at Dekkoo!

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Pushing Dead finds genuine humor in a deadly serious subject

Dan (“Psych” star James Roday) has been living with HIV for the past 22 years. He’s got his $3,000-a-month pill regimen down like clockwork, but when he deposits a $100 birthday check, he suddenly finds that he’s $70 over the financial assistance limit and no longer qualifies for his regular healthcare plan. Now he has to scramble to get his life together… or risk losing it.

Co-starring heavy hitters like Danny Glover, Khandi Alexander and “Deadwood” and “Big Little Lies” star Robin Weigert, the savagely dark new comedy Pushing Dead tackles seriously weighty topics and tenderness and humor. Writer-director Tom E. Brown recognizes the inherent absurdity of our current health care predicament and exploits it for laughs while never selling short his characters or their circumstances.

Watch the trailer for Pushing Dead below and catch the full film now on Dekkoo.

Short Film Spotlight: Jackpot

Man, it was hard to get gay porn discreetly before the internet! Especially if you were still coming of age.

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Writer-director Adam Baran’s acclaimed short film Jackpot takes place in 1994 – not long ago, yet so far away – and follows a closeted 14-year-old kid named Jack (Ethan Navarro), who hears about a valuable stash of gay porno magazines hidden in a dumpster across town and sets out on a quest to retrieve them before they make their way to the dump. Like any good cinematic quest, there are obstacles to be overcome. In Jack’s case, they take the form of a form of a pack of homophobic bullies who have been taunting him. Luckily, he’s got an imaginary friend on his side to help coach him through – “Jackpot” cover boy Ricky Swayze (Adam Fleming).

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Clever, well-directed and surprisingly heartfelt for a film about one young man’s mission to masturbate with a visual aid to match his hidden desires, Jackpot was a massive crowd-pleaser when it made the rounds at film festivals all over the world. The film is now available to watch on Dekkoo!

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