Qmmunity: Queer Comedy Pipeline

Ivy Le talks the impact of Tongue in Cheek, a queer comedy open mic providing fertile ground for Austin’s LGBTQ comics

Tongue in Cheek host Ivy Le (Photo by Riley Blanks Reed)

A strange situation faced Ivy Le and Aira Juliet at the start of 2022. Their desire to produce a live show in the vein of 2 Dope Queens (but gayer, obvi) butted up against a pretty small pool of LGBTQ comics in Austin. Why weren't there enough queer people, an inherently funny group, to fill a monthly comedy lineup? "But it makes sense if you spend time at open mics," Le says, referencing the often homophobic material onstage. "If your existence is a punchline, why waste your talent there?" In Feb. 2022, Le and Juliet decided to change things.

First Thursdays at 8pm, Swan Dive becomes home to queer comedy pipeline Tongue in Cheek. Le now hosts solo, as Juliet left to focus on her variety show Black and Queer AF. No particular style of comedy or comic rules the sign-up sheet, although Le says she encourages risk-taking. With audacity as Tongue in Cheek's mandate, each performer travels their own unique path. Le recalls comics whose material presumed a hetero audience bombing and bringing back more elevated work at the next show. "I've seen comics who signed up not quite in good faith realize while ON STAGE that they aren't just allies," she adds. The show is magic, Le says, and part of that magic is watching talent blossom in real time. "When you come just one month, you get lots of laughs and a great night out at Swan Dive," Le explains. "If you come back month after month, you're witnessing the creative process. People are evolving their art here."

As a mother and member of the queer community, Le describes a lack of support at most open mics. In-person sign-ups, poor lineup placement, and a schedule mostly taken up by child care meant Le couldn't justify the amount of energy required to succeed in the Austin comedy scene. That changed once pandemic-era restrictions forced many opportunities online. With online sign-ups, she could plan ahead, and Zoom classes from ColdTowne Theater meant she could build a community from her own home. Oh, and she also sold her podcast, FOGO: Fear of Going Outside to Spotify. The hilarious venture into nature by "an Asian mom with severe allergies" is now in its second season, with Le tackling the Texas pastime of hunting.

Because of her own experiences, as well as a desire to develop and change the culture of the comic scene, Le picks Tongue in Cheek's co-hosts with an eye toward career diversity. "I try to invite guest hosts who can expose the standups to different comedy career pathways," she says, "different styles I haven't seen represented, or shows that have on comics they might not have considered going out for like podcasts or storytelling shows." Most funny people pay the bills in a variety of ways – Le herself included – and showing newbies myriad journeys to comedy success is Le's way of being "an Asian Mom about this, nagging T&C comics about their careers and taking care of me in my old age."

Tongue in Cheek has grown and will continue to, thanks in part to a city of Austin grant. Le is also developing a ticketed show, the Cheekiest Comic Competition, as a résumé-builder for the open mic's comics. To all aspiring queer comics prepping for that first stand-up set, Le advises courage and confidence. "If you're in the alphabet mafia and you think you're funny, you probably are." Sign up for a spot on the Tongue in Cheek lineup at slotted.co/tongue.

Q’d Up

A Formal Fetish Affair A night of glam gear, organized by the kinky crew at Boop Society of Central Texas and ASHwell clinic. Sat., Sept. 30, 6-11pm. The Belmont, 305 W. Sixth. Donations encouraged, ashwellatx.org.

Mystic Market Austin Queer Connection and Queer Black Women Alliance present an evening of food, games, music, tarot, and more. Sat., Sept. 30, 6-10pm. Kind Clinic, 101 W. Koenig #300. $5, includes one free drink. queerblackwomenalliance.org.

Lavender Legends Costume Ball Rainbow Connections ATX fundraises with a costume ball hosted by World Famous *BOB*. Sun., Oct. 1, 7-10pm. Wax Myrtle's, 506 San Jacinto. $50. fb.com/rainbowconnectionsatx.

Dungeons & Drag Enjoy a live Dungeons & Dragons tabletop event with award-winning host/Dungeon Master Dylan Zaner for a session featuring Lawrie Bird, Venus Rising, Sir Beau Elliot, and Embry Officially. Tuesdays, 8pm. Oilcan's, 211 W. Fourth. fb.com/oilcanharrys.

Extra! Extra!

The Little Gay Book Club Crack open a new queer lit section every month with the Little Gay Book Club, a subscription-based "community of booklovers and bibliophiles that share in our passion for reading through conversations, monthly meetings, and events." Meetings are available virtually and in person. The Little Gay Shop, 1902 E. 12th. $0-50 per month. thelittlegayshop.com.

Rainbows Over Radio Hosted by Mars, this brunch features fabulous drag talent as well as delicious brews both caffeinated and alcoholic. Thu., Sept. 28, noon-2pm. Radio Coffee & Beer, 4204 Menchaca Rd. instagram.com/radiocoffeeandbeer.

Swim Session No. 12 DJ Veneer Splash around during a three-hour set by DJ Veneer, plus a pop-up shop from Future Front, snacks and drinks from Veracruz Tacos, and tons of weekend energy. Thu., Sept. 28, 7-10pm. The Line Hotel Austin, 111 E. Cesar Chavez. $10. futurefronttexas.org/comethrough.

The Jigglewatts: Drag-Strip-Tease The Jigglewatts are standing in solidarity against Senate Bill 12 with their siblings in art, the Texas drag community. Featuring an all-star cast of gender-illusion ecdysiasts: Jigglewatts Ruby Joule, Cosmic Danger, Ruby Lamb, Selma Bawdy, and Something Blue. Also, Nashville's homegrown skinsation and founder of the Rhinestone Cabaret, Mona Von Holler; the naked rhinestone of burlesque, Eddie Divas; award-winning duet Queertini Time; and Miss Austin Pride 2023 Monica Monáe Davenport. Thu., Sept. 28, 7-11pm. The Ballroom, 2906 Fruth. $20-150. ballroomtx.com.

Comedy Queen Ruby Dickulous hosts a royal flush of comics: Genivive, Roxy Castillo, Dylan Sullivan, Reier Cammerman, and a special performance by Xtra. Thu., Sept. 28, 8pm. The Creek and the Cave, 611 E. Seventh. instagram.com/rubydickulous.

Hard Served Soft: Queer and Trans Textiles From woven tapestries of ocean garbage to quilted scenes of trans injustice, this group show brings together 10 artists who explore hard stuff in soft ways. Featuring works by Ben Aqua, Kendra Bergman, Beth Schindler, Michelle Devereux, Grayson Hunt, Jessica Gritton, Carly Ostler, Jasmine Amazing, Bella Maria Varela, and Ian Gerson. Through Oct. 14. MASS Gallery, 705 Gunter. massgallery.org.

Queer Movie Night: Hocus Pocus Get your seat for a night with the Sanderson sisters. TLGS will have popcorn, snacks, and drinks available for purchase. Fri., Sept. 29, 7-10pm. The Little Gay Shop, 1902 E. 12th. Free but RSVP. thelittlegayshop.com.

RuPaul's Drag Race UK Watch Party Maxine LaQueene, Eileen Dover, and Chique Fil-Atio invite y'all across the pond for a viewing party of the fifth iteration of Drag Race's UK spinoff. Fridays, 8pm. The Iron Bear, 301 W. Sixth. instagram.com/theironbearaustin.

Kingdom Behold the majestic sights and sounds of drag royals Brigitte Bandit, Selma Bawdy, and Kino Kino at this happy hour sensation hosted by Alexander the Great. Fridays, 9-10:30pm. Oilcan's, 211 W. Fourth. No cover. fb.com/oilcanharrys.

Freakin' Fetish Friday Mz. Daddie and Wil Wever host this celebrqtion of all things kink: leather, lace, sports, gear, etc. Last Fridays, 10pm. Oilcan's, 211 W. Fourth. fb.com/oilcanharrys.

Paws on Chicon Doggy and Cat Drag Show A "fur-tastic" fashion show where drag queens and pets perform in glam outfits. Plus over 50 vendors, food, music, and raffle gift baskets valed at $75 or higher. Funds raised through raffle tickets go to Out Youth and Roland's Silly Goose Crew. Sat., Sept. 30, 11am-3pm. Paws on Chicon, 1301 Chicon #102. Free. instagram.com/pawsonchicon.

Khush ATX Evening Hike Local South Asian queer hangout group Khush ATX hosts a 3.2-mile hike through Twin Falls and Sculpture Falls. Sat., Sept. 30, 6-7:30pm. Twin Falls, 3918 S. MoPac. Free but RSVP. instagram.com/khushatx.

This Is Your Sign Balance yourself with Libra season laughs hosted by zodiac queen Jen Rose, featuring local comics Margaret Hunsicker, Isaac Garza, Patrick Sirois, and Maxine Dillon. Sat., Sept. 30, 7pm. Fallout Theater, 616 Lavaca. $10. instagram.com/thisisyoursigncomedy.

The Best Drag Show Ever Join host Ritzy Bitz for a night you won't forget, with cast members like Justice, Casady Milan, DeeGee Rey, Celia Light, Emerald Van Cartier, and Evah Destruction. Remember: "Flash Photography is strictly MANDATORY and drinking is fundamental!" Saturdays, 9pm. Oilcan's, 211 W. Fourth. Free but RSVP. fb.com/oilcanharrys.

Nostalgia: 90s Rewind 2023 Champion of Comedy Rochelle McConico directs an improv send-up of the classic Nineties family sitcom. Featuring the comedy talents of Juan Castañeda, Jose Da'Hype, Yuki DeSouza, Garrett Goode, Steve Guntli, Katarin Nuñez, Didi Ohri, Morgan Seaman, and Tiana Stuart. Sat., Sept. 30, 9pm. Hideout Theatre & Coffeehouse, 617 Congress. $7-15. instagram.com/hideouttheatre.

Serving Face Support Boyz of Austin co-founder Max Morrison as he pursues top surgery, and enjoy tons of great drag, music, and more at p1nkstar's fundraiser party for "taking care of trans folx in Austin." Featuring Lavender Thug, Cherry Crush, Bobby Pudrido, Honey Baby, Veronica Valentine, Syzygy, Mars, ATM, and Nixi. Sat., Sept. 30, 9pm. Cheer Up Charlies, 900 Red River. instagram.com/p1nkstar_.

Sad Dad's Midlife Crysis DJ Sad Dad hits the big four-oh with a night of good music, dancing, and cake. Plus: Lone Star Queer sellin' primo merch. Sat., Sept. 30, 10pm. The Iron Bear, 301 W. Sixth. instagram.com/eatmorechique.

Coco Cxnts Drag Brunch Bohemia, Arinna Dior Heys, and Brigitte Bandit take over Coconut Club's rooftop with host Honey Baby and weekly special guests. Saturdays, 1-4pm. Coconut Club, 310-B Colorado. No cover. instagram.com/coconutclub.austin.

Sundown Sirens Ruby Knight, Tatiana Cholula, Mandy Quinn, Noodles, and Gothess Jasmine werk fantasy lewks on the rooftop terrace. Sundays, 10pm. Neon Grotto, 318 Colorado. instagram.com/neon.grotto.

OutFitness Trans Masc Workouts Open to both trans folks and allies, these workouts are designed to build a muscle line physique. Modifications are available for all exercises. Sundays, 9am. OutFitness ATX, 404-A Powell Cir. outfitnessatx.com.

Vixens of Volstead Brunch like a true queen with the Vixens. Sundays, 1pm. Hotel Vegas, 1502 E. Sixth, 512/524-1584. instagram.com/vixensofvolstead.

Sunday Fundaze Louisianna Purchase and Chique Fil-Atio throw a brunch kiki as a mother-daughter duo, featuring mimosas, a special brunch menu, and all the drag you can handle. First Sundays, 1:30-3:30pm. The Iron Bear, 301 W. Sixth. fb.com/theironbearatx.

Package Austin Grand Opening Tea Dance Dance away the afternoon and celebrate the opening of Package's new location. Featuring music by DJ Tony Castro Jr., tattoos by Gully Cat and Nikki Knuckles, lube wrestling, a pop-up by ASHwell, and of course big ol' sales. Sun., Oct. 1, 3pm. Package Austin, 2008 S. First. fb.com/packagemenswear.

TST ATX Social Socialize with yer local Satanic Temple, who'll be going over their agenda as well as local and national TST news. Sun., Oct. 1, 4-7pm. The Glass Coffin, 3009 N. I-35. fb.com/thesatanictempleaustin.

Queer Skate Night Whatever wheels you rock are welcome at this meetup of local queer skaters. Sundays, 7-9pm. Southeast Greenway Skate Park and Pump Track, 3730 Manor Rd. instagram.com/queerskateaustin.

Camp Karaoke Basüra and Adam Stone host a night of unforgettable karaoke fun with music, costumes, and props. Mondays, 10pm. Rain on 4th, 217 W. Fourth. fb.com/rainon4th.

Gay Enough Genderfluid lesbian comic Arielle Isaac Norman hosts all her gayest and gayest-looking friends for a night of fun, flirty comedy. Tuesdays, 7pm. East Austin Comedy Club, 1303 E. Fourth. $20. instagram.com/gayenoughshow.

The Drag Queen Game Show Celia Light and Mars host a show filled with games like Couples Therapy, trivia, and Finish This Tune that are fun to watch but even more fun to play. Tuesdays, 8-10pm. The Highball, 1120 S. Lamar, 512/383-8309. instagram.com/extragramsatx.

Drag Dive Top off your TuezGayz with this Diamond Dior Davenport-hosted drag show featuring top-notch performances. Tuesdays, 9pm. Swan Dive, 615 Red River. $10. instagram.com/swandiveaustin.

Queeraoke Belt out your favorite jams with your host CupCake. Tuesdays, 10pm. Swan Dive, 615 Red River. $5. fb.com/swandiveaustin.

TuezGayz It's good music; it's queer vibes; you know what it is, babe: It's TuezGayz! Tuesdays, 10pm. Barbarella, 611 Red River, 512/476-7766. $5 after 10:30. instagram.com/barbarella_atx.

Come as You Are A queer variety show with a li'l bit of everything – singers, stand-up, spoken word, so many different entertainers but never the same show twice. Tuesdays, 10pm. Neon Grotto, 318 Colorado. instagram.com/neon.grotto.

Queer Club: A Dose of Drag Queer Club throws their monthly drag brunch with host Miss Malibu Imported. Plus: a lip-sync showdown and tunes by DJ Aminal. First Tuesdays, 10pm. The Porch, 129 E. Hopkins St. #110, San Marcos. 21 and over, $5; 18 and over, $10. instagram.com/theporchsmtx.

Sour Duck Bingo Lady Grackle Birdbreath and CupCake host this Austin Pride bingo night with fierce prizes on the line from yer fav ATX businesses. Wed., Oct. 4, 8pm. Sour Duck Market, 1814 E. MLK. fb.com/austinpride.

Bronco DJ Boi Orbison invites all country queers to a two-step night with free lessons and line dancing. Wed., Oct. 4, 8pm. Cheer Up Charlies, 900 Red River. instagram.com/boiorbison.

Divina: Noche Drag Latinx Hostess Tatiana Cholula and special guests serve an evening of Latinx queerness. Every other Wednesday, 9-11pm. Oilcan's, 211 W. Fourth. fb.com/divinaaustintx.

I Was a Queer Child and So Were You: Toward Social and Cultural Transformation In response to ongoing political attacks on gay, transgender, and sexual rights in Texas, nationally, and internationally, the Rapoport Center and Rothko Chapel host University of Utah's Kathryn Bond Stockton for a lecture weaving memoir through new ideas, followed by a conversation with UT-Austin's Jo Hsu. Thu., Oct. 5, 5:30pm. Francis Auditorium, 727 E. Dean Keeton, UT campus. Free. rapoportcenter.org.

Latina Equal Pay Day Las Ofrendas holds a discussion on wage inequity for Latinas with a panel that includes Gabriela Lopez-Bucio, Leslie Rangel, Monica Ceniceros, Celia Israel, and DJ Karla KICKIT. Ticket price includes an open bar. Thu., Oct. 5, 6-9pm. The Cathedral, 2403 E. 16th. $25. thecathedralatx.com.

Austin Vogue Nights Attention queers: It's House of Lepore's monthly Vogue Night, with seven categories and seven chances to serve. This month features special guests from the House of Juicy Couture. First Thursdays, 10pm. Swan Dive, 615 Red River. $5. instagram.com/houseoflepore.

UnBEARable! Chique Fil-Atio and Mascara Rivers host Austin's longest-running camp comedy drag show with Basüra and Summer Clearance on co-host rotation. Each month promises special guest musicians, comics, and drag artists. First Thursdays, 10pm. The Iron Bear, 301 W. Sixth. theironbear.com.

Want more queer? Visit austinchronicle.com/qmmunity

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LGBTQ, Ivy Le, Aira Juliet, Swan Dive, Tongue in Cheek, FOGO

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