10.08 Transgendered Comedian Ian Harvie
By Jesse Sader
Transgendered comedian Ian Harvie is the creator of his own live comedy talk show, “The Ian Harvie Show,” that he performs at the music and comedy club Largo at the Coronet in Los Angeles.
His show is similar to late night TV, but all the guests are queer or queer-by-proxy (supporters of the GLBTQ community). You can check it out on YouTube (youtube.com/ianharvie).
Ian was born female, and believes that sex and gender are two separate things. “Gender is something I get to craft and modify as I see fit, not something that is defined by science,” says Ian. “Other than being held under the same topic umbrella by much of mainstream, non-queer and some queer culture in conversation, I don’t believe that biological sex and gender are necessarily even related.”
Ian knew at six years old he was transgendered, but he didn’t have the language for it. “I only began learning language for my masculinity when I came out as queer when I was nineteen,” says Ian.
It wasn’t until Ian was at a community forum in Lewiston, Maine, hearing two transgendered men speaking about their lives, that he found his first clear words for himself. “Going there, I had no idea what to expect, but when they opened their mouths, they spoke to my heart,” exclaims Ian. “I looked at them and saw myself. I kept thinking, ‘Oh my God, that’s me!’ and I began to cry with fear and elation.”
Ian was bitten by the comedy bug seven years ago. As a kid he was obsessed with “The Carol Burnett Show,” Flip Wilson, “Hee Haw,” “Laugh-In,” and “SNL.” “As I grew older, I tried several different types of artist performance mediums, I learned how to play guitar mediocre and I sing poorly, but comedy just clicked for me,” he says. “It’s an honor to make people laugh and educate them at the same time; I don’t think I could do one without the other, for me it’s important they are linked.”
Soon after, he left Maine and headed to Hollywood, where his motto was: “Say yes to everything!” “From open mic night to performing on television, I’ve said yes to everything that has come my way.”
He has performed on “Outlaugh on Wisecrack” on LOGO and just filmed “Byron Allen’s Comics Unleashed” for ABC. He has acted in some short independent films and music videos and was the executive producer of numerous music videos that have landed on the Top 10 of the “Click List” on LOGO. He is currently working on short scripts that are in pre-production, which he hopes to submit to festivals.
His favorite project? His own comedy show, of course! He has been doing the show for about a year and half and has had the pleasure of entertaining guests such as Jorja Fox, Jane Lynch, Buck Angel, Ant, Margaret Cho, Alan Cumming, and Rex Lee. “I’m super lucky to have interviewed each of these talented people,” says Ian. “Eventually I’d like the program to be on Bravo, Oxygen, or a large, queer friendly, cable network.”
Has this star ever been star stuck? Only by all the stars on his show! But there was one moment in particular he remembers on a gay cruise where he was performing with Margaret Cho: “Kyan Douglass from ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’ was on board the ship. I was gaga and begged Margaret to nonchalantly introduce me to him and then when she did I was without words. He was so authentic and kind… and cute! So I got all silly and couldn’t really talk, but I did get a photo and it’s proudly on my MySpace account.”
Ian is currently booking a college tour and hopes to be in the Northeast soon. For more information or to check tour dates, visit www.ianharvie.com.