Creator-director queer BIPO Quentin Lee wanted this comedy festival which he is turning into a feature film – Laugh Proud – that will be shown at a variety of festivals and he hopes eventually on one of the stations.
Having previously done three television comedy series with Asian-American comics and loving comedy and variety shows, he is currently in development on an indigenous comic series in Canada (for APTN and Canada Media Fund) and then realized there was nothing out there for LGBT comics. Quentin wanted to celebrate the power of humor, amplify diverse voices, and foster a sense of unity and strength during the 2023 Pride Season.
Aware of the increase in hate crimes against Asians and LGBTQ+, Quentin wanted to push back against this and show others the diversity of those in the gay community.
Quentin Lee plans to do other versions of this event and perhaps switch comics around, but each and every comedian who performed was auditioned several times before he decided who would be on this prime special.
The event was shot on Saturday night, July 1, 2023, 8 pm, at the historic Renberg Theatre at the Los Angeles LGBT Center in Hollywood, Ca.
The opening warm up was Kit who talked about his adoption and his coming out and acceptance into the gay community. People gaslit him and having been in an abusive relationship, he had to learn to stand up for and parent himself before he finally found forgiveness for his father. “Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.”
Jazzmun Nichcala Crayton, a larger than life drag queen comedian in a beautiful multi-colored caftan hosted the 90-minute event.
Most of their comedy was based on their realizing who they were, coming out, relationships with their families- some who have not accepted them yet, dating, and how they dealt with the world (or not) and how they broke into show business.
The eight diverse LGBTQ+ standup comedians performed for ten minutes each. They included half-Latino Brian Clark (aka Brucey), Los Angles actress Rowan Niles, Italian Amanda Alvich, comedian Christian Cintron , 7G Seven Graham-a hermaphrodite (intersex – who is born both with a penis and vagina) comedian, Seattle based trans-female Juno Men, African American Lesbian comic Asha Hall, and headliner actor Jewish Jason Stuart.
Jason Stuart, whose been in the entertainment industry for over 25 years, was a pioneer gay comedian who came out at a time when it was still difficult for gays to admit their authentic selves. He and Quentin Lee have worked on several films together and have other events planned for the future.
The LGBTQ+ center, built in 2000, has a wide variety of services for those in need. These include health programs, social services and housing for those whose families have rejected them, therapy sessions, especially for those who do not have money, teen and senior programs, culture, and education. While this is the main center, it is but one of several in the Los Angeles area.
The theatre has many specials as well as showing independent films, plays, and other events.
Quentin Lee , who attended UCLA film school in 1993, can be followed on Twitter (@leequentin) and Instgram (@gayhollywooddad).
A second film is being considered for next summer.