Gay for Pay with Blake and Clay

It’s a funny week, even if nobody seems to remember what “funny” means anymore.

I didn’t laugh at Dave Chappelle’s SNL monologue. I walked out of the room during the big announcement the other night (one too many lies) even if I remember Trump’s presidency as a brief golden age for comics.

Tonight not only did I need to laugh, but I needed to feel okay about laughing. Thank God I got my fix, watching Gay for Pay with Blake and Clay, a gay for pay production in association with Crow’s Theatre: where tonight was opening night. It’s a Fringe Show getting a well-deserved revival, written by Daniel Krolik and Curtis Campbell starring Jonathan Wilson and Krolik, directed by Campbell.

Jonathan Wilson and Daniel Krolik

The premise is that we in the audience are a bunch of straight male actors, looking to get work in film or theatre, taking a training seminar with two gay actors showing us how to be gay. It’s not such a crazy premise when you recall that gender and modern life are totally performative nowadays.

One of the great things to notice about Gay for Pay with Blake and Clay is that, wow, being gay is so normal now that we can joke about it, about the sex, the body parts, the clichés.

Or so it seems.

But I’m looking through the filter of some of the other questions of representation that I’m thinking of lately. There’s Kent Monkman’s indigenous drag-queen persona, regularly confronting me with the question “is it okay to laugh at this”? On the weekend Dave Chappelle seemed to be an angry separatist uninterested in any kind of reconciliation.

Tonight’s show was magical, as we segue from this ongoing laughter, possibly improper and even sexist, to gradually noticing that there’s some very serious questions underlying the show. We get to have our cake (laughter) and eat it too (the serious politics underlying the show). No guilt.

Forgive me if I sound too serious in writing this. But I laughed through most of the show, while many around me laughed even more than I did. This is a show that deserves to be seen and heard. Opening night was made up of people who knew about the show and came ready to laugh.

If you need a laugh, if you want to feel okay about your laughter, or if you’re just an actor who wants to find out how to play a gay man? see Gay for Pay with Blake and Clay, at Crow’s until November 27th.

There’s a bonus if like me you’re hesitant about being in a theatre without a mask. This show requires the audience to wear masks.

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