Laughing Matters

Come Out Laughing

Sabrina Matthews, a self-professed flannel-shirt-wearing truck-driving dyke who employs the word butcher as an adjective ("If I was butcher...."), and Jason Stuart, a goateed gay actor and comedian from a "very crazy and lovable Jewish family" who has a proclivity for leather and Speedos. Put them together and you have the makings of a double bill that's as queer as a three-dollar bill, kick-starting Come Out Laughing, Miami Light Project's ninth annual gay-and-lesbian comedy series this Saturday.

Both originally hail from New York and now reside in Los Angeles; both are Come Out Laughing repeat offenders: Stuart appeared back in 1994, Matthews in 1996. And both have made their comedic marks in the mainstream as openly gay performers. As Matthews cracked on her Comedy Central Presentssolo half-hour spot this past January: "By the way, did I need to announce that I'm gay? No one's sitting up in the balcony [thinking], Sabrina -- that's a peculiar name for an adolescent boy?"

An eighteen-year veteran of stage, screen, and stand-up, Stuart performed his first gay routine almost a decade ago on a gay cruise line ("I figured, “It's in the middle of the ocean! Who will know?'"). Shortly thereafter he came out nationally on The Geraldo Rivera Show. These days everyone knows, and Stuart is busy acting both gay and straight roles on film and TV, including the recent David Spade movie Lost & Found, The Drew Carey Show, Norm, and Three Sisters; touring; lecturing; hawking his new CD, Gay Comedy Without a Dress ("Hope you want to buy one!" he prods, laughing); and starring in and producing his own indie film, 10 Attitudes.

What does Matthews spend her time on when she's not making people -- gay and straight -- roar? A noble quest that may not appeal to tourism officials in her adopted hometown but certainly would earn admiration from the men and women in blue everywhere. She busies herself in the City of Angels "trying to get people to start calling it Donut City," she notes, "because there's a donut shop on every corner."

 
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