One of New York City’s favourite and ‘OUT’standing comics will be a featured guest at the Rochester Fringe Festival (rochesterfringe.com) September 14/15/16/21. As Get Out Magazine’s Comedian of the Year, Ike Avelli,will be presenting his self-produced, award winning show: 50 Shades Of Gay, an adult variety show filled to the brim with laughter, song, and a Queen. The showcase stars Ike and features entertainer Tym Moss and drag queen Villainess, and is packed with audience participation, musical numbers, and endless laughs.
Aside from festivals Ike Avelli can be seen at New York’s top rated comedy clubs and theatres, Atlantic City, and at times touring the nation. I caught up with Ike on a beautiful evening in the heart of the Village, while dodging several homeless men getting out of limos and a man on the phone preparing for a nuclear invasion.
Besides being one of the funniest men around, Ike Avelli is also one of the sweetest men in the industry. We spoke of his motivation in becoming a humourist, his funniest moments and his future projects….
What’s new and upcoming?
We have 50 Shades of Gay which is still going strong after two new years now. We just had our second anniversary at The Duplex. So for September we were picked for the Rochester Fringe Festival, which actually started in Edinburgh, and they adopted it. We submitted the show and got picked so we will be there for 4 nights, September 14/15/16/21, and tickets are selling like crazy already. In December I’ll be doing 50 Shades of Gay in Rehoboth Delaware. Then in December, I didn’t even announce it yet, but I’ll be bringing my You’re A Mean One Ike Avelli show back to New York.
You just did announce it
Don’t print it, the venue doesn’t know yet….Then I have a podcast coming out in the fall. It’s called Tea and Dirt, and we’re going to gossip on everything! We are going to have a lot of fun with it. We’re going to play games, have interviews, call-ins….
What’s your favorite Trump joke?
I have two of them. “We shouldn’t be praying for materialistic things, we should be praying: dear God, please find a man with good aim for 2020″. And “Vote for Trump because we’re overdue for an assassination”.
That is my favorite one. So what made you decide to become a comedian?
It actually started at a holiday party in 2009, when a drag queen backed out. I wanted to test out some stand up. I did, and the laughter sealed the deal. From there I stared doing open mics, writing …. I was ad’Dick’ted. It was like a drug. It literally was. Once I got that laughter I decided “this is what I’m doing”. So I started traveling. I lived in Pennsylvania at the time, and I traveled here for two hours, did five minutes of stage time, and went back home. So after a while I started to rent out theatres for my own productions, and here we are today, seven shows later.
Describe the inspiration for “50 Shades of Gay”.
50 Shades of Gay, ….I wanted to do a show for Pride weekend in 2015, and 50 Shades of Gray was out…I thought, “oh, here we go, 50 Shades of Gay”, it’s perfect”. The night before the show, marriage equality passed. The night after when we did the show the place was packed with people ready to party and celebrate. It’s been good to me. I’ve been traveling with it…
What was the name of your birthday show?
I Thought I Would Be Dead By Now. My very first show was called, I’ve Slept My Way To The Top Twice. There are so many others, I’d have to look in my own bio.
What happens if you’re standing in front of an audience and no one is laughing?
“Are you this much fun on Viagra”? You always get a couple of those people, always.
How do you deal with a mistake on stage?
I probably laugh at myself. Sometimes I’ll catch myself on a story and think, “was that supposed to be in there…or was that from the last show?”
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I wanna do MSG, and I don’t mean the Chinese place on the corner. I want to do MSG. I want to do that small little theatre and just be able to pack it in…big dreams right? That or have one of my shows in Vegas.
Who is your favourite comedian?
JOAN RIVERS! Since I was 13 and I accidentally put on the TV set and she was telling these jokes. It drove me crazy.
If you could choose your very last words on Earth, what would they be?
“I want the deep dish apple crumble”.
What do you most want to be remembered for?
That I made people laugh.
See Ike at the Rochester Fringe Festival- tickets here
All words by Eileen Shapiro. More of Eileen’s writing can be found in her author’s archive.