Writer/comic Kelly Beeman and the women of Gayco know their way around gay-themed comedy. A not-for-profit theatre, Gayco has been bringing the LGBTQ fun since 1996. This year, Gayco presents Breast in Show, an original lesbian sketch piece.
Overcoming her fear of public spelling, Beeman spoke via e-mail with Our Town about the show adding, “You can make fun of my spelling if you want. I'm from Virginia.”
Don’t worry, she’s been edited.
Our Town Why a lesbian comedy show?
Kelly Beeman [At] Gayco our audience and most of our ensemble is gay [but] we find in some gay and lesbian shows, the lesbian material gets overshadowed by the big crazy gay material.
OT What’s the line between laughing at and with a minority group?
KB I always think its fine to laugh at yourself. And it’s always fine to laugh at someone when they are being ignorant (looking at you Fox News). For me, its like how I can make fun of my family, but you better not.
OT What writing the show like?
KB Our director Katie Watson gave us a lot of assignments. Instead of bringing in a fully written scene, we improvised off concepts and beat sheets. It made this show a truly collaborative effort.
OT Tell us about your co-performers.
KB Well, there's Judy Fabjance, one of Gayco’s founders, an amazing, smart improviser and writer, great at taking issues from her life and writing about them. Kathy Betts is a fellow nerd. Her Ellen impression is great. Kelly Yacono is the "actress" of the bunch, drama as well as comedy. She has an amazing singing voice. Michelle Marquardt is one of the best improvisers in the bunch and a great dancer. Arianna Wheat is the newest to Gayco and has a great future ahead. Her spoken word poem scene is amazing and something you don't normally see in sketch comedy.
OT You’ve been active in comedy for a while. Is being spontaneously funny instinctive or learned?
KB You can hone it through education and practice [but] it’s something you’re born with. People who find that talent later in life had it all along; they just needed someone to help them find it. Just like those late life lesbians!
OT What are some of your comedic influences?
KB I consider myself a writer first and a performer second, so Tina Fey is one of my influences. Mary Scruggs who recently passed away was my writing teacher and really inspired me. I simply adore Claudia Wallace. She's a Second City Main stage Alum and doesn't know it yet but I’m stalking her. My sisters influence me. We quote a lot of "Simpsons," "SNL" and "Seinfeld." If I say a line of my own and they laugh and ask where it’s from, I know it’s funny.
OT What sort of audiences is the show attracting?
KB When we originally workshopped the show at Second City's DeMatt Theater it was hard to get a lot of women out. The show was at ten-thirty p.m. and lesbians in committed relationships are in bed by eight forty seven. [Now] we’re getting a good amount of women [and] a fair share of men.
OT What can audiences expect from the show?
KB We have a super goofy closer, a song for geeks, a couple of smart social and political scenes, poetry, dancing, singing, boobs; it's all there.
A freelance writer with an MFA in Creative Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sarah Terez Rosenblum, when not writing, supports herself as a figure model, Spinning instructor and teacher at Chicago's Story Studio. Inevitably one day she will find herself lecturing naked on a spinning bike. She’s kind of looking forward to it actually. Follow Our Town on Facebook and Sarah on Twitter: @SarahTerez