Q: How many gay men does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Two. One to screw in the bulb, and one to shriek, "Faaabulous!"
Q: How many lesbian feminists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Not funny!
Darn straight it's not. Fortunately Miami Light Project makes it possible to bag the gay and lesbian jokes altogether in favor of the genuine gay and lesbian comedy -- and the cultural insight -- of its annual Come Out Laughing summer series.
Miami Light's sixth stand-up comedy fest gets under way Friday and Saturday (June 12 and 13) with Elvira Kurt and Danny Williams, two performers whose backgrounds exemplify the dream of Light cofounders Janine Gross and Caren Rabbino of serving as bridge-builders among Miami's diverse population of gays, Latins, Jews, blacks, and the old and young. Admittedly, says Rabbino, most Light projects since the organization's 1989 start have engendered less multicultural dialogue than unicultural mirroring: "Cubans wanted to see more Cubans. Jews wanted to see more Jews. People were so excited to hear their stories told that they wanted to see more."
It would be hard to find more hands-across-the-water acts, though, than that of Kurt, whose shtick draws on her Canadian/Eastern European Jewish roots, or Williams, whose material explores his past as a Pentecostal, Boy Scout, and cheesy Japanese monster movie fanatic. Williams is actually a Come Out Laughing vet who is a bit worried about getting killed this time around, owing to a local newspaper review of his last appearance that, according to the comedian, "said the word Castro maybe 30 times." Castro, in this case, meant San Francisco's gay-central neighborhood, he hastens to explain in a phone interview from his home on that very street. "Really, I don't even like the guy." Nevertheless, as a result of the article, Williams jokes he is "eagerly looking forward to a body-cavity search" at MIA.
Other jokers scheduled to perform later in the series are Paul J. Williams, who refers to himself as the "best little homo in Texas," and self-labeled "newest gay comic sensation" Vicki Shaw on July 10 and 11; and on August 14 and 15 Dan Rothenberg, who began performing in what he calls his "small yet ill-mannered" Oregon hometown for an audience that "normally uses young Jewish boys as fishing bait." Plus Italian/Latin Mimi Gonzalez, whose nine-times-divorced Cuban dad warned her about a career in gay comedy. "We have no connections in that field," he explained. "If that's what you want to do, you must become someone's mistress."