In 2009, surrounded by a sea of adoring gays that packed the main dancefloor in Voyeur, Jess Carpenter ( pictured) took home the coveted Outstanding Comedian prize at the Gayborhood Games. Three years later, he can’t draw a gay audience to save his life. That doesn’t mean he isn’t working, though. The 42-year-old comedic storyteller performs regularly in regional casinos and comedy clubs and hosts his own show, “Comedian Deconstruction,” every month in Bella Vista. So where are all his queer supporters? Stuck in a “gay bubble,” he says.
“If a show isn’t in the [Gayborhood], it’s hard to get the word out to gay people.” Plus, “finding support from the LGBTQ community [is nearly impossible] … if your performance isn’t a drag show or doesn’t involve strippers.”
Though he’s grateful for his devoted hetero audiences, he says performing for that demographic limits his ability to talk about gay issues or write jokes about being queer. “I’m getting more work if I keep the gay out of my set,” he says with a sigh. But he’s not losing hope.
For Pride month, he’s organized his first all-queer Comedian Deconstruction. He was hesitant to put it together after a similar performance recently held at Queen Village’s Shubin Theatre drew all of four people, but he decided go all out — from drawing up Wizard of Oz-themed postcards to asking some of Philly’s most popular gay funny people to join the party. Performers include Camp Tabu host Alejandro Morales, trans creator of Comedy Test Kitchen Julia Scotti and up-and-coming eight-person improv team Malone. The theme for the evening is “stereotypes,” so let’s pop his assumption about the gay bubble and fill that house like nobody’s business. The strippers’ll still be shaking their wangs tomorrow.
Thu., June 21, 7:30 p.m., L’Etage, 624 S. Sixth St., 215-592-0656, comediandeconstrustion.com.