"And, once I started hearing people making They, Them, Their jokes, I was like, okay, I just need to be a Gender Fluid comic. I just need to be honest about that to try to create some representation here."
JR: So, in your experience, and with everything you have studied, do you feel comedy is a sign of where feminism is headed? Or a reflection of where we are or have been have been as a society?
AB: I feel feminism has always been in comedy, a lot of women that first branched off from patriarchal norms were up telling dirty jokes, like Joan Rivers and stuff like that, you know. So I think comedy has always been a way for women to be like, ‘no, we are not following along with your patriarchal rules’. There’s also a freedom in it and I think stand-up gives people the opportunity to have a voice and to say something. And if you are feeling oppressed, you get the ability to go up there and talk about that, which is freeing for anybody that feels in a box. So I think feminism is great for comedy! But I also think it can get difficult when people are super PC about things. There’s all different elements to it. It is good, but I think people should treat it more loosely.
JR: I was watching your Tedx talk the other day where you were talking about failure. So, I was wondering, where you feel you are now in your failure journey?
AB: Oh, god, I’m so glad you watched that, thank you for watching that. That was really nice of you. I’m definitely improving, but I’m still failing. No, but at the time, that was the coolest thing that I had ever done and I couldn’t even believe that I was doing it. But if you had seen the other people, there was a guy who worked for NASA with five PhDs that was speaking. I was up there like, this is the coolest thing I’ve done and I think I felt the need to address that immediately because it made me more real and connect with the audience in that sense. And that’s what I try to do the second I get on stage, just address the elephant in the room, you know, like, this is my first time doing this, whatever. Since then, the movie Lez Bomb came out, and I appeared on ‘This is Us’ on NBC. I’m doing a lot of writing and now I have Dekkoo, ‘Out on Stage’. Obviously a lot more, but at the same time I’m still living, exactly what I said in my Tedx talk, I’m still taking my failure and growing from it. Like, I’m still hearing a lot of ‘no’s’ but I never let that stop me, I still grow from that, you know. I think, in comedy, you could be the most successful person, look at Tiffany Haddish on New Year’s Eve, they just ripped into her. She’s a comic, comic’s bomb sometimes. That happens. There’s always that failure there, but that’s when you learn from it. You know, (laughs) you learn not to drink before a show. I hope that I’m always failing because that’s when I learn the most and I hope I don’t get to the point where I’m only doing great, because I learn best from my failure.
JR: You talk about gender and LGBTQ issues a lot in your work, and I imagine that’s not always embraced by everyone in all audiences. Do you have a self-care routine or how do you help yourself thrive in this environment where you are putting yourself out there on a regular basis?
AB: I love your questions so much. This is so nice for me because I can tell you guys actually care about representation and really hearing people. I think these questions are important and I appreciate you asking them. This is a tough question for me because I’m still figuring it out. You know, for a long time I was only talking about being a butch lesbian and it was funny and that’s something I have been confident in because I’ve been out since I was 13. I can talk about being a butch lesbian, and it’s whatever. Then I felt I was doing a disservice, like I was playing on these stereotypes, that it wasn’t fair to a marginalized community that didn’t have a lot of representation. And, once I started hearing people making They, Them, Their jokes, I was like, okay, I just need to be a Gender Fluid comic. I just need to be honest about that to try to create some representation here. And in that process I found it’s really hard, because when you are still trying to figure out your own identity….and you’re onstage talking about it to everybody and they are learning from you, you know. People would turn to me with a lot of questions or comments, I’ve had so many comics make rude comments to me or people in the crowd, it’s kinda unbelievable. I was at the Improv last week and I told a lesbian joke and some guy was like, “I want to watch”. To which, I was like, immediately, “I’m not sure you do. (laughter) I don’t even want to watch. I got to cover all the mirrors.” I think that, one, laughing is how I take care of myself. But I’ve been trying something new these past few weeks because I kinda hit a frustrating wall. I’ve been taking a lot of time to just be with myself. Whenever I do a long weekend of shows, I shut down for, like, three days. I’ve always been like that. I just want to be in my apartment with my cats, and just chill. And people are like, ‘we’re just going to go to this little…’ and I’m just like, nope. I don’t even want to go out. It’s like I just recharge and I think I’ve been trying to do that in more healthy ways so I can really focus in on what I’m feeling. I’ve been mediating a lot. I meditate every morning and that really helps clear my mind. I’ve been on this whole, health thing this past year and I lost 50lbs in the last two years. So, I eat really healthy now and I take all my vitamins and I check in with myself, because I think it’s so important. I think it’s important to check in with how your feeling, especially when you are going on stage. You better know who you are and if you’re okay with what you’re representing and how you’re presenting yourself. I think it’s really important to focus in and listen to what your body, mind, and soul are telling you that day.
JR: Does it help you find the comedy in what you have experienced on stage too?
AB: Absolutely, because it lets me actually stop and think. Because nowadays it’s like, I’m telling you, things are changing, and different comics are PC about things, and the whole culture and society is changing. How I wanna come off and what kind of jokes I want to tell really matters to me. And I think it’s really important because I don’t know a lot of other gender fluid comics, I don’t know any. I think the last couple months, I have changed my set a lot recently, I have a whole new set right now, and I feel there is always comments after it. Even if the joke does really well, someone will make some kind of comment, or they’ll yell out, or after the show, someone will make some kind of thing like, ‘I don’t understand why lesbians use dildos’. I feel like I’m answering all these questions to these angry… mostly straight, white men. So, I think taking time to check in with myself and be like, okay, I know that this is a bigger picture. So, tuning in with myself and seeing where I’m at with the jokes I’m telling.
JR: I think that’s a great place for reflection and self-discovery, because I would imagine that being on stage can be therapeutic in a way.
AB: It’s my best therapy.
JR: And then there are people there and they say things that are not therapeutic.
AB: That’s exactly it. I started doing stand-up when my brother, my only brother died, seven years ago in February when I was 19, he was 20. He struggled with the disease of addiction and that’s when I started doing stand-up because I was like, I got to start laughing and I need to surround myself with these walls of laughter. I think you hit the nail on the head there, because that’s always been, the stage is my therapy and now people are coming at me with questions that I don’t even know, and I’m like, can’t I just tell a joke? So it’s been a lot of reflection, but also I’m a writer. I know so many comics that go up there, I call them actors, because they repeat the exact same thing, verbatim. They don’t want to play with the audience, they don’t want to be thrown off, and they just want to repeat things that they know work. And for me, I do comedy as an outlet, I constantly write things that are happening, I’m writing jokes all the time. My set is never the same. So, it’s good to sit down and reflect and be like, okay, I’m going to mention the guy that yelled out, “I want to watch”, I’m going to take that into my set. I’m not going to be upset about this, I’m going to focus in and be like, how can I make this a funny joke. Turn it right back on them.
**Coming to Dekkoo January 17, 2019**
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!
Check out the trailer now before the series premieres exclusively on Dekkoo January 17th, 2019!
JR: If you could have people leave your show learning one thing, what would it be?
AB: I guess, some form of acceptance. Just seeing someone like me and being like, okay, they’re just like me, they’re funny, and they are just the same. I think as soon as I come on stage people are thinking that ‘you’re some snowflake who will be like, you have to accept gay people’. I don’t do that, I come out immediately and am just aware of who I am and I think that I want them to leave feeling like we are all just the same, we are all normal. That’s kinda my whole goal. And people will come up to me, and people, I swear…I started opening for Jeff Garcia and he’s a big Latino comic, most of his fans are Mexican and a lot of them would come up to me after the shows and be like, ‘I’ve never met a gay person’, or, ‘my daughter just told me she’s gay and I was kinda freaking out, but your hilarious. Things like that, where I’m like, I don’t know how to help you, but I think seeing someone like me being able to make them laugh, they’re like, ‘I never would have thought it’.
JR: I saw you in Lez Bomb, it was such a fun movie. You have a lot of credits and successes, acting, producing, writing, stand-up, where do you see your career heading or where are you hoping to dedicate more time in your career?
AB: I do love stand-up, but it’s something that’s fun and an outlet for me, but what I’m hoping to do with my career and focus more time on is writing and with that, acting. On a much bigger scale than stand-up is TV and film right now. Which we don’t have any people like me, or we’re not a lot. Even the gender fluid people they’re showing, their almost like genderless and it’s like a certain type but there’s not just some big character like me that’s like some six foot, 200 pound diesel dyke, slash kind of a boy person. I have so many friends like me and we’re friends with straight people, and we live normal lives but you don’t even see us. So, I kinda got sick of waiting for those characters to appear, so I have been working on a screenplay and my goal is to finish it and hopefully star in it. I’m going to get my movie made because we need more characters like me out there because there is no reason people like me aren’t playing the Melissa McCarthy and Rebel Wilson roles. Like, why does it have to be some big thing. I mean, I love Lez Bomb, I think that it’s amazing, but I want something that’s not just a coming out story. Like, there just happens to be a gay character and it’s whatever. We need to start normalizing. It’s insane that it’s always such a big deal if somebody’s gay.
JR: And it’s such a powerful time right now with representation in the LGBT community. I was at Clexicon last year and that’s the huge focus is finding that representation and having more people from the community playing all different characters in the community as well as having representation of us in the media.
AB: Absolutely, I go in for so many auditions, and I put this in my set a lot. Like, I’ll go in for Truck driver number 2 or androgynous person. I always have to play that. It’s the same thing with trans, like, why can’t cis gender people play trans roles… because trans people only get to go out for trans roles. Laverne Cox never gets to just play someone who is not a trans person, that’s crazy to me. But when I got cast for the role on ‘This is Us’, it blew my mind, because it was a producer on the show…and it could have gone to anybody…and they said, let’s pick someone we don’t always see. I thought that was the coolest thing ever. It was just a couple lines, but it was so nonchalant, that’s what I want to be seeing more of, characters like that, where we are just cast in it, it’s not a big deal. They’re not Truck driver number 2, their just the random pizza person or the producer.
JR: There’s not a lot of LGBT representation in holiday themed movies. If you could write an LGBTQ themed holiday movie, which holiday would it be and why?
AB: That’s a good question. I guess Christmas because it’s Christian and that’s hilarious, and I’m also a gay Christian. I’m all for it. I think that a good Christmas… ‘Guess Who’s Coming Homo’…like a bird cagey type Christmas movie. Like, the Birdcage meets Christmas with the Cranks. I’m just kidding. Maybe, ‘Homo Alone’. That’s the Christmas movie, just me in a house keeping the bad straight angry men away with traps and I sit and put aftershave on and scream.
JR: For the last question, and you have kind of touched on some of your future projects. You are going to be on ‘Out on Stage’ so I want to talk about that experience and what other projects you have coming up that you want people to know about?
AB: I have a lot of shows coming up, I’m doing a whole bunch of stuff and anybody can check out my tour dates. I mostly post on my Instagram, which is @funnyLezbo. I’m always posting shows there and giving out free tickets if anyone wants to check it out. But I am doing a really awesome show, which I should promote because my friends running it, it’s called Magic Dyke and it’s basically Magic Mike for lesbians, like a drag king type show, and I’m hosting it. It’s a big queer welcoming party on January 26th at King King Hollywood. I definitely should promote that because I like creating queer safe spaces. Besides that, besides my shows, I’m writing a lot so just look out for some upcoming projects I have in the works. I’m writing the script and I’m really excited about where it’s headed, so be on the look out for some new stuff in 2019. And Out on Stage was a great experience, I’m glad they are doing that. Again, visibility, so it’s awesome that we had this opportunity. I do a lot of queer shows at the Laugh factory, and LGBTQ nights.
JR: Thank you so much for your time and for promoting positive representation. We will link this to your Instagram so we can help people find you.
AB: Thank you. Your questions are awesome by the way, I think you should be the next Ellen because you actually ask good questions.
You can follow AB Cassidy on Instagram and Twitter @funnylezbo
Copyright © April 2018 Lesbiancharacters.com - All Rights Reserved.