A Sensation! With a phenomenal performance record that includes an Off-Broadway show, an extended run in Vegas, two feature films, seven albums and appearances throughout the Us, Canada, Mexico, Europe and Australia, the Kinsey Sicks hardly need an introduction. For over 16 years America's Favorite Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet has served up a feast of music and comedy to audiences at performing arts centers, music venues and comedy festivals in every kind of town you can imagine, in over 40 states! Their award-winning a cappella singing, sharp satire and over-the-top drag have earned the Kinsey Sicks a diverse and devoted following.
Humble Beginnings. The Kinsey Sicks began in 1993 as a group of friends who went to a Bette Midler concert in San Francisco dressed as the Andrews Sisters. Assuming they'd be among many drag queens, they found themselves to be the only ones (other than Bette, of course). They were approached that night to perform at an upcoming event. Their reply - "we don't sing" - was quickly disproved when they realized that all of them had musical backgrounds. They began singing and harmonizing that night, and the seed for the Kinsey Sicks was planted.
Becoming a Phenomenon. In July 1994, the Kinsey Sicks drew a large and enthusiastic crowd at their first public performance on a street corner in San Francisco's Castro District. Since then, the Kinsey Sicks have produced and performed full-length theatrical productions around the country in such prestigious venues as the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco, the Nordstrom Recital Hall in Seattle, the Broward Center in Ft. Lauderdale, the Hobby Center in Houston, the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen and the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles. Their earlies shows, such as "Sicks Appeal," "Sicks-Tease," "The Balled Sopranos," "Motel Sicks: A Dragapella Summer Vacation," "Everything But the Kitsch 'n' Synch" and "GreatesTits," all premiered at San Francisco's New Conservatory Theatre Center. Their more recent musicals - "I Wanna Be a Republican," "Condoleezzapalooza," "Oy Vey in a Manger," "Wake the F@#k Up America", "Each Hit & I", "Electile Dysfunction", and "America's Next Top Bachelor Housewife Celebrity Hoarder Makeover Star Gone Wild!" have toured internationally and have drawn the attention and devotion of unexpectedly diverse audiences.
Off-Broadway and Las Vegas. In 2001, the girls produced and starred in the critically acclaimed Off-Broadway hit, "Dragapella! Starring the Kinsey Sicks" at New York's legendary Studio 54. That production received a nomination for a Lucille Lortel award (the Off-Broadway Tony) as Best Musical and a Drama Desk nomination for Best Lyrics. In 2001, their work with OUTmedia began, and in 2005, they were inspired by Shelly Weiss, OUTmedia's founder and accepted her challenge to do a tour limited to only rural, southern, and conservative campuses, called "Changing Red States into Rosy Shades of Purple". Together this partnership made history in moving queer culture from the margins to the campus core, and forever changed the visibility of LGBTQ culture on college campuses. It played 52 conservative colleges including Methodist Rhodes, Baptist Furman, and 80% Mormon Salt Lake Community College. In 2006 the girls wowed audiences with a much- coveted extended run at the Las Vegas Hilton. The show was ranked by critics as one of the best shows in Vegas, and heralded by reviewers as "a feast for the eyes, the ears and the funny bone."
Recordings, TV and Print. The Kinsey Sicks have recorded eight albums: Dragapella, Boyz 2 Girlz, Sicks in the City, I Wanna Be a Republican, Oy Vey in a Manger: Christmas Carols and Other Jewish Music, Sicks! Sicks! Sicks! Each Hit & I, Electile Dysfunction. They have been profiled on national television, including "20/20" and "CBS Early Show with Bryant Gumbel," and were the subjects of a lengthy cover feature in the arts section of the New York Times.
Film. The Kinsey Sicks are the subjects of two feature films: a concert film, "I Wanna Be a Republican" and a behind-the-scenes documentary, "Almost Infamous," chronicling the adventure of the group's extended run at the Las Vegas Hilton.
The Boyz Behind the Girlz
When the Kinsey Sicks began in 1993, its founders were a group of refugees from successful careers as professionals and activists. Member Ben Schatz ("Rachel") is a Harvard-trained civil rights lawyer, former Director of the national Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, and one-time presidential advisor on Hiv issues. Schatz created the first national Aids legal project and authored Clinton's Hiv policy during the 1992 presidential campaign. Irwin Keller ("Winnie") is a University of Chicago-trained lawyer and linguist and former director of the Aids Legal Referral Panel of the San Francisco Bay Area. Keller authored Chicago's gay rights ordinance, passed into law in 1989. In 2004, the Kinsey Sicks were joined by actor/singer/designer Jeff Manabat, who is responsible for Trixie's inordinate glamour and soaring counter-tenor, as well as the entire group's hot couture. Beginning in October of 2008, the Kinsey Sicks are joined by the hilarious and talented Spencer Brown ("Trampolina"), a Kansas City-based actor and singer, already known for his drag character Daisy Buckët (pronounced, of course, "bouquet"). www.kinseysicks.com
When you think one of the most prolific character actors, who’s also an outrageous openly gay stand-up comedian, one name comes to mind….Jason Stuart. Stuart has been making people laugh out loud with hishysterical performances all over the country since coming out in 1993. He has accomplished what few other gay comics have ever achieved: brutal honesty with humor in a world that’s not always kind. Not only is Stuart an all-out crowd pleaser, but he transcends the boundaries of race, gender and sexual orientation with his edgy comedic style. Stuart’s material about his experiences as a single Jewish gay man living in Hollywood is original, cutting edge and just plain funny!
Stuart has performed at all of the top comedy clubs & comedy festivals and hundreds of gay events & prides, colleges & universities, and even on Broadway. Since Stuart makes such a strong connection with his audience, he is in high demand by corporate programs with his lecture, Coming Out In Hollywood, on being openly gay in the workplace.
Jason Stuart has been in close to 200 film & TV shows! He has performed in LGBT events, the Montreal Comedy Festival, on Broadway, in comedy clubs and to 100,000 people at the D.C. Millennium March. Jason is in one of the most anticipated films of the year playing a plantation owner in the Nat Turner bio pic Birth Of A Nation starring Nate Parker & Armie Hammer. The Grand Jury and Audience Sundance Award winner is coming out Oct 7 from Fox Searchlight.
He had his own hour cable special Making It To The Middle & 2 comedy CDs in addition to performing on One Night Stand Up, Wisecrack and Comics Unleashed, and Gotham Comedy Live to name a few. As an actor, he's been featured on House, Entourage, The Closer, Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Everybody Hates Chris, George Lopez, My Wife & Kids, and Will & Grace. On film, he’s been featured in Gia (w/Angelina Jolie), A Day Without A Mexican, Coffee Date, Vegas Vacation and Kindergarten Cop, and more recently in James Franco’s Holy Land, Ira Sach’s Love Is Strange opposite Marisa Tomei, John Lithgow & Alfred Molina and critically acclaimed Tangerine starring Mya Taylor
Stuart uses his talents as an openly gay actor and comedian to support the community by performing at countless benefits for issues from AIDS to the homeless. After recognizing the lack of support in Hollywood for his LGBT brothers and sisters, Jason co-founded The SAG-AFTRA LGBT Committee. Since 2006, Jason has been its national co-chair. He says, ”When you’re out, it supports all gay actors”. The SAG/AFTRA Committee conducted a groundbreaking survey with The Williams Institute at UCLA on openly gay actors in film & television.
For 6 years he produced and performed in the LIFEWORKS mentoring program. This gave him the impetus to create his latest project, the web series MENTOR with Alexandra Paul (Baywatch) and his mentee actor and comedian 25 year old actor/comic Paul Elia. Lastly, currently he hosts a chat show on TradioV.com, Absolutely Jason Stuart. His groundbreaking stand up comedy and his versatility as an actor make his career an amazing ride.
Margaret Cho was born Dec. 5, 1968 and raised in San Francisco. “It was different than any other place on Earth,” she says. “I grew up and went to grammar school on Haight Street during the ’70s. There were old hippies, ex-druggies, burnouts from the ’60s, drag queens, and Chinese people. To say it was a melting pot – that’s the least of it. It was a really confusing, enlightening, wonderful time.”
Her grandfather was a Methodist minister who ran an orphanage in Seoul during the Korean War. Ignoring the traditions of her patriarchal culture, her mother bravely resisted an arranged marriage in Korea and married Margaret’s father who writes joke books – in Korean. “Books like 1001 Jokes for Public Speakers – real corny stuff,” Cho says. “I guess we’re in the same line of work. But we don’t understand each other that way. I don’t know why the things he says are funny and the same for him.”
What Margaret did know is that she didn’t love being a kid. Racing toward adulthood to escape bullying, she began writing jokes for stand up at 14 and professionally performing at age 16. Getting picked on, and feeling disenfranchised, is a subject that’s very near to Margaret’s heart. She has become a sort of “Patron Saint” for Outsiders, speaking for them when they are not able to speak for themselves. “Being bullied influenced my adult life because I grew up too fast. I was in such a hurry to escape that I cheated myself out of a childhood. I didn’t want to go to school any more, didn’t want to be around those people any more. I want to use what happened to me to help other kids.”
Soon after starting her Stand Up career, Margaret won a comedy contest where first prize was opening for Jerry Seinfeld. She moved to Los Angeles in the early ’90s and, still in her early twenties, hit the college circuit, where she immediately became the most booked act in the market and garnered a nomination for “Campus Comedian of The Year.” She performed over 300 concerts within two years. Arsenio Hall introduced her to late night audiences, Bob Hope put her on a prime time special and, seemingly overnight, Margaret Cho became a national celebrity.
Her groundbreaking, controversial, and short-lived ABC sitcom, All-American Girl (1994) soon followed. Oddly, while chosen because of who she was – a non-conformist Korean American woman with liberal views – the powers-that-be then decided they wanted her to “tone it down” for the show. Challenging Margaret’s feelings for both who she was and how she looked, she soon realized that though she was an Executive Producer, it was a battle she would not win. “For fear of being too “ethnic,” the show got so watered down for television that by the end, it was completely lacking in the essence of what I am and what I do.”
The experience was a traumatic one, bringing up unresolved feelings left over from childhood, and Margaret developed an eating disorder as a response to criticism about her body. She was so obsessive in her goal to try to be what she thought others wanted, she landed in the hospital with kidney failure. Through out a period of self-abuse, Margaret continued performing to sold-out audiences across the country in comedy clubs, theaters, and on college campuses, working to channel her anger in to something more positive.
In 1999, her groundbreaking, off Broadway one-woman show, I’m The One That I Want, toured the country to national acclaim and was made into a best-selling book and feature film of the same name. After her experience with All-American Girl, Margaret wanted to make sure she would only have to answer to herself, making sure she was responsible for the distribution and sales of her film, taking a page from what music artist Ani DiFranco did with her Righteous Babe Records. The concert film, which garnered incredible reviews, broke records for most money grossed per print in movie history. In 2001, after the success of her first tour, Cho launched Notorious C.H.O., a smash-hit 37-city national tour that culminated in a sold-out concert at Carnegie Hall. Notorious C.H.O. was recorded and released as a feature film, hailed by the New York Times as “Brilliant!” Both films were acquired by Showtime Cable Networks, and produced by Margaret’s production company, a testament to the success of Margaret’s bold business model.
In March of 2003, Margaret embarked on her third sold-out national tour, Revolution. It was heralded by the Chicago Sun Times as “Her strongest show yet!” and the CD recording was nominated for a Grammy for Comedy Album of the Year. In 2005, Cho released Assassin, which The Chicago Tribune crowed “Packs passion in to each punch.” The concert film premiered in select theatres and on the gay and lesbian premium channel Here! TV in late 2005.
In 2007, Margaret hit the road with Cyndi Lauper, Debbie Harry and Erasure, along with indie faves The Dresden Dolls and The Cliks, to host the True Colors Tour, benefiting the Human Rights Campaign. A true entertainment pioneer, Margaret also created and starred in The Sensuous Woman, a live variety show featuring vaudevillian burlesque and comedy, which she took for an extended off-Broadway run in the fall.
Margaret returned to TV in 2008 on the VH1 series, The Cho Show. Describing it as a ‘reality sitcom,’ Margaret said at the time, “It’s the closest I’ve been able to come on television to what I do as a comic.” The Cho Show followed Margaret, her real parents, and her eccentric entourage through a series of irreverent and outrageous experiences, shaped by Margaret’s ‘anything goes’ brand of stand-up. It was beloved for the audience it was intended for, the ones who maybe don’t quite fit in, who knew Margaret is one of them.
The aptly titled Beautiful came next, exploring the good, bad and ugly in beauty, and the unattractive politicians and marketers who shape our world. The concert premiered in Australia at The Sydney Theater, marking the first time Margaret debuted a tour abroad. While touring through the US, the concert was filmed at the Long Beach theatre, aired as a special on Showtime in 2009, and then released as both a DVD and a book. Venus Zine hailed Margaret, and the show, saying “her fierce activism, which addresses bigger issues such as what it’s like to be demoralized by your country and culture…(left) no subject too taboo for the fearless stand-up queen.”
In 2009 Margaret nabbed a starring role in the comedy/drama series Drop Dead Diva, airing on Lifetime. Margaret enjoys being part of a team, and not necessarily having the sole responsibility for keeping things afloat. “(Drop Dead Diva) is very fulfilling. It’s a lot about the things I talk about, like body image, and women feeling good about themselves, and learning to be visible. It’s very powerful. I also feel relaxed because I am hired to play a role, and it almost feels like a luxury to have a project I care about so much but not have to lead or control anything.”
Never one to shy away from a challenge, Margaret stepped right up to the proverbial plate when asked to do Season 11 of the #1 rated Dancing with the Stars. Paired with pro Louie Van Amstel, Margaret was on one of the show’s most controversial seasons, dancing alongside Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, David Hasselhoff, Jennifer Grey and Bristol Palin among others. “I really wanted to do DWTS so much. I love the show and I love dancing. It seemed like it would be very exciting, which it was. It was also very difficult because I was touring as well. Louie and I would travel all week, rehearse during the day, drive back on Sunday nights and sleep in the parking lot of CBS where they filmed the show! It was a very stressful experience but I’d love to do it again.”
Margaret got a very strong reaction to her Rainbow Dancing Dress during a time when the issue of bullying, especially among gay teens, was all over the media. “I am very proud to have been able to wear a gay pride dress on a show that is so conservative. It is a wonderful thing to have every one remember me by, that I took time to acknowledge people who matter to me. I wanted to send an urgent message to gay teenagers to make them feel included and loved. That dress was my statement to them about pride.”
2010 culminated with another high honor, a second Grammy Award nomination for Comedy Album of the Year for Cho Dependent, her incredibly funny collection of music featuring collaborations with Fiona Apple, Andrew Bird, Grant Lee Phillips, Tegan & Sara, Ben Lee and more. The album received critical acclaim, with The Oregonian stating, “This was a chance to see and hear an already drop-dead funny diva growing, flexing new musical muscle, and fearlessly mature.” The album is funny, yes, but also quite musical, featuring not only her surprisingly strong singing voice, but her skill on the guitar, banjo and dulcimer. “I was inspired to make beautiful music with a comic edge. Growing up, music was an escape, but also something I was always curious about as an art form. I had a decent amount of musical ability, but also have great musician friends who were very willing to help me. I took this very seriously, taking vocal and guitar lessons while I was touring. I was very devoted to learning and understanding how I could accompany myself.”
Margaret self released Cho Dependent on her own Clownery Records, and was encouraged by the acclaim, as there are only a handful of people putting out albums of comedy music – “Weird” Al Yankovic, Flight of the Conchords, The Lonely Island, to name a few – but no women. While thrilled that her hard work was rewarded with the nomination, Margaret isn’t finished with musical comedy yet, claiming to have more music in her. “Writing lyrics is a different process for me than writing Stand Up. It utilizes the same elements, but it’s a more demanding discipline. You have more freedom with comedy writing than with lyrics, where mathematics comes in to play so the lyrics go with the music.”
In 2011, Margaret released the live concert film of Cho Dependent, which also had its cable network debut on Showtime. Audiences who caught these performances live can attest that Cho hasn’t lost any of her edge on Cho Dependent, her sixth live concert DVD. Shot at the Tabernacle in Atlanta, GA, Cho remains uncensored, but never unhinged, taking aim at the Palin family, her stint on Dancing With the Stars, smoking pot and living in a world with ‘sexting.’ The DVD is characteristically no-holds-barred Margaret and instantly a classic.
Margaret is currently filming the sixth and final season onDrop Dead Diva. Cho returns as “Teri” Girl Friday to Brooke Elliott’s “Jane Bingham,” whose body is inhabited by the soul of a vapid model sent back to earth after Heaven judges her as a “zero-zero” for having committed no good and no bad deeds.Drop Dead Diva is not only beloved on Lifetime, but by the many stars who have queued up to guest on the show, including Paula Abdul, Wanda Sykes, Rosie O’Donnell, Vivica Fox and Kim Kardashian.
Not one to rest on her laurels, Margaret spent whatever free time she had crafting her all new standup show, the uproariously and aptly named MOTHER, which kicked off in September, 2012, including both a US and European tour. According to Margaret, “MOTHER offers up an untraditional look at motherhood and how we look at maternal figures and strong women in queer culture. It’s probably my edgiest show to date, filled with riotous observations on race, drugs, sexuality – gay-straight-everything in between, celebrity, culture, politics – nothing is sacred – least of all thisMOTHER.”
Paradox not lost, Margaret had to re-schedule some of the shows she had booked mid-September so she could attend the Emmy Awards with her mother. Nominated for a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her hilarious stint on 30 Rock as gender-bending North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, Margaret was thrilled with the role and the nomination: “I’m so excited to have been nominated for an Emmy, especially for 30 Rock, which is an incredible show, and also for playing a deranged and deceased world dictator who has divided the small country of my origin in two. That’s the best part. I think that’s what I’d call iron curtain irony”.
Margaret is currently filming a pilot for FOX and thrilled to be working with Tina Fey and the producing team from 30 Rock. The multicamera comedy takes place at a women’s college that has just opened its doors to men for the first time. “I am so honored and elated to be a part of this incredible project and I know everyone is going to fall madly in love with this show! Also I get to work with my hero Tina Fey!! It’s a dream come true!”
While thrilled with her two Grammy and recent Emmy nod, Margaret has never turned away from the causes that are important to her. She is incredibly active in anti-racism, anti-bullying and gay rights campaigns, and has been recognized for her unwavering dedication. She was the recipient of the Victory Fund’s 2008 Leadership Award and the first ever Best Comedy Performance Award at the 2007 Asian Excellence Awards. She also received the First Amendment Award from the ACLU of Southern California, and the Intrepid Award from the National Organization for Women (NOW). Throughout her career, she has been honored by GLAAD, American Women in Radio and Television, the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF), the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), and PFLAG for making a significant difference in promoting equal rights for all, regardless of race, sexual orientation or gender identity. In June of 2011, Margaret was honored by LA Pride, receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing an individual whose lifetime body of work has left a lasting major imprint on the LGBT community.
Through her hard work, Margaret has had the opportunity to be heard, to extend her point of view and become regarded as a true pioneer in her field. She takes none of it for granted. “It’s a wonderful thing to be known as a ‘safe haven’ for people. A lot people who come to my shows don’t necessarily consider themselves traditional comedy fans. I seem to be a safe alternative for people who don’t think they’re being represented in society. They come because my point of view satisfies a lot of what needs to be said out there, and that makes me really proud.”
Is your organization or campus ready for
and needing some
EXECUTIVE LESBIAN REALNESS?...
Julie is currently a series regular on the runaway hit series on BRAVO, THE PEOPLE’S COUCH. She was the star of LOGO's BIG GAY SKETCH SHOW, and is the former comedy writer writing for E!'s FASHION POLICE, winner of the NEWNOWNEXT - Brink of Fame Comic Award, and the MAC Award for Best Headlining Comedian in NYC. Julie has been garnering massive attention around the country headlining stand up in clubs, colleges and headlining and working beside Sarah Silverman, Lewis Black, and Jeff Garlin. She has performed at Montreal's prestigious, "Just for Laughs' comedy festival, on Broadway in "Laughing Liberally", emceeing "Puppetry of the Penis". She is a favorite on Olivia cruises and 'R Family Vacations and has appeared doing stand up on LOGO, and COMEDY CENTRAL. Did you catch her performing a duet with JANE LYNCH on VH-1’s DO SOMETHING AWARDS. on BONES, or on RUPAUL's DRAG RACE?
Currently Julie is working with BRANDY HOWARD – her creative partner - on several projects, including their lesbian romantic comedy, "NICEST THING", their outrageous Zombie movie “GAY BABY ARMY” and their several irreverent web series including JULIE & BRANDY: IN YOUR BOX OFFICE – on AUTOSTRADDLE.COM and GAY STREET THERAPY.
“Kick Ass Comedian” -NY PRESS
“Charmingly Deviant” -VILLAGE VOICE
“An absolute must see” -PROVINCETOWN BANNER
"... my little partner in musical crime, the Art Garfunkel to my Carly Simon...- Jane Lynch, introducing Julie Goldman at the VH1 Do SOMETHING! Awards
We have been aware of Julie Goldman’s ability to do no wrong since 2008, when we first saw her do stand-up on an R-Family cruise and wet our pants and had to buy new pants and order laundry service."-Autostraddle's Top Ten People Who Can Do No Wrong, May 26 2010
“Call it Lesbian or feminist humor if you want but the great thing about Goldman is she transcends all those labels and makes us feel we’re all in this together” - CURVE MAGAZINE
“I peed in my pants” -Montclair State University
Julie has performed at colleges for over 10 years and has worked with LGBTQ orgs, Student Activities Boards, Hillels and Women's Centers to put on awesome inclusive major events. Julie is proud to partner with OUTmedia, and to join OUTmedia in fighting for all queer students on every campus for their right to feel safe and free.
Her mission is to not only perform an all inclusive, irreverent, outrageous, hilarious show but also to make students come away feeling empowered, supported and important
The most monumental break for Rosie O’Donnell was accepting NBC’s offer to host a variety daytime television show, also known as The Rosie O’Donnell Show in 1995. Rosie’s enigmatic personality welcomed and eased a variety of celebrities into sitting down and speaking their mind normally. The Rosie O’Donnell Show was a network hit until November of 2000, when Rosie announced that she would be leaving her talk show after her contract expiration in 2002. The Rosie O’Donnell Show went on to win a variety of Emmy awards and leave a memorable mark on American television.
Since The Rosie O’Donnell Show, Rosie has been a powerhouse of projects. Rosie has launched a charity for children, Rosie’s Theater Kids, formerly known as Rosie’s Broadway Kids, which helps children realize their greatness through the arts as they discover unity and culture. Rosie’s Theater Kids has been a non-profit organization since 2003, involving grades 5 through 12 in arts and education programs. The RTK Foundation integrates youth that would not have the opportunity to experience theater, and inspires them to inspire excellence through comprehensive classes in music, dance, and drama with the aid of thoughtful mentoring and structured academic guidance.
In 2006, Rosie O’Donnell joined the cast of The View, ABC’s renowned talk show. After leaving the view in 2007, Rosie went on to write her second memoir, Celebrity Detox. From 2009 to 2011 Rosie O’Donnell shook the airwaves with her radio show, Rosie Radio. Though successful, she decided to move on to new ventures with friend and fellow philanthropist, Oprah, who offered her a spot on the OWN Network to host The Rosie Show.
On September 15th, 2014, Rosie O’Donnell returned to her seat on the panel of ABC’s talk show The View.
Kathy Griffin is a towering figure on television, on tour and in publishing. She breaks through the entertainment clutter with her universally recognized brand of pull-no-punches comedy.
This year, Kathy made history with her 6th consecutive Grammy nomination and first win for Best Comedy Album ("Kathy Griffin: Calm Down Gurrl"), joining Whoopi Goldberg and Lily Tomlin as the only other female comedians to ever win Grammy awards for Best Comedy Album.
In 2013 Kathy was inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records for writing and starring in an unprecedented 20 televised stand-up specials - more than any comedian in history. Buoyed by her dedicated and engaged fans, Kathy's live standup performances are legendary and in a class of their own. Not only do hundreds of thousands of people flock to see her perform sold out shows everywhere from Carnegie Hall to the Sydney Opera House.
Kathy draws a huge audience to CNN's New Year's Eve special, which she has co-hosted with Anderson Cooper since 2007, beating Fox News in the coveted ratings demographic. She is one of television's go-to hosts for premier live events. After co-hosting The Billboard Music Awards LIVE three years in a row, this year Kathy hosted the 41st annual Daytime Emmy Awards LIVE and AARP's Movies for Grownups Gala.
Griffin's sure-fire hosting success led to her own LIVE late night talk show, Kathy. It was where the biggest celebrities went to have the most fun. Her boisterous and revealing memoir, Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin, debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times Bestseller List. Griffin won two Primetime Emmy Awards for her hit reality series, Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, which aired for six years on Bravo. It was nominated every single year of its run. The show also won the GLAAD Media Award for Best Reality Program and was nominated six consecutive times by the Producers Guild of America.
Kathy was a cast member on NBC's Suddenly Susan and guest starred on Seinfeld and Law & Order: SVU. She lent her unique voice to animated characters in Shrek Forever After and the award-winning television shows The Simpsons, American Dad, and Dilbert.
Griffin's other awards and honors include The Human Rights Campaign's Ally for Equality, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America's Leadership in Entertainment honor, GLAAD's Vanguard award, The Trevor Life Award from the Trevor Project, and a Gracie Award for Outstanding Female Lead. WATCH her message about gay youth that's designed to reach everyone.
Robin Cloud is a New York City-based comedian, writer, and director. She is the former host of BK Live, a daily show that showcases Brooklyn’s art, culture, and political scenes. She has been featured in Diva Magazine, GO magazine’s “Top 100 Women We Love,” Time Out New York’s “Quote of the Week”, and the Washington Post. Her festival appearances include the Women in Comedy, Ohio Lesbian, Fresh Fruit, Emerging Artists, and Hot! Festivals.
Robin graduated cum laude from Howard University's School of Communications where she studied film under Haile Gerima. In addition, she has studied cinematography at the School of Visual Arts. Her first narrative short, Out Again, was executive produced by Refinery29 as part of their Shatterbox Anthology and premiered in March of 2017.
Her production company, Cloud Creative Media, was launched in March of 2016 and focuses on creating independent narrative and documentary films and series.
“Robin was absolutely amazing to work with and hilarious to boot! As someone who books at a lot of LGBT talent each year, Robin was by far one of the best, most on point, and downright enjoyable comics I have ever worked with. Two snaps!" - Matthew Carcella, Cornell University
She was very professional, hilarious and loved by all ! When in need of a good laugh, I will definitely hire her again in the future.” - Diane Jeep Ries
She had the audience rolling in the aisles. Her set was fine tuned to our queer women of color clientele. She had those non profiters in hysterics. Robin was the perfect choice. I’d use her again and again.”
- Ashley Brockington, Producer, Rivers of Honey
“Brown Girls Burlesque loves us some Robin Cloud. She is one of those rare comedians who is actually funny as hell, truly at home on a stage and absolutely engaging whether she is telling jokes or exploring character work.” - Miss AuroraBoobRealis, Artistic Director
After being cut from the junior high basketball team, Sapna auditioned for the school play and has been acting ever since. With a B.A. in Theater and Creative Writing from Purdue University, Sapna began her career in Chicago, where she trained at iO and acted in over 10 theater productions, including understudying at the Steppenwolf Theater, and touring nationwide with Chamber Theater of Boston.
She was featured at the Olivia Travel’s 40th Anniversary celebration in the Dominican Republic, with headliner Wanda Sykes. Sapna has been active in Chicago’s vibrant comedy and theater scene for a decade. She loves this city! Other credits include LOGO TV’s One Night Stand-Up 9 and as a regional finalist for NBC’s Last Comic Standing 4. Sapna also loves acting and has been in the independent feature films Promise Land and Jamie and Jessie Are Not Together, both shot in Chi-town, and had the privilege of understudying Tony Kushner’s Homebody/Kabul at the Steppenwolf Theater. An Indian American girl with a Midwest heart (and unfortunately, appetite too), Sapna is delighted to have been embraced by the wonderful LGBT community in Chicago and by the local comedy club circuit.
Now pursuing her LaLa-land dreams living in Los Angeles, Sapna is delving into the landscape of film and television. She played a supporting role in the indie feature Promise Land, which was a Sundance Film Festival Selection, and appeared in the OUTFEST selection Jamie and Jessie Are Not Together. As a stand-up comic, Sapna has been seen on LOGO TV’s “One Night Stand Up 9,” and NBC’s “Last Comic Standing 4,” and was voted one of the 50 Hottest Women in Comedy in 2013 by AfterEllen.com.
This past year, Sapna wrapped three short films and a Web series, and will be shooting her original short in August. This girl loves to enter characters and would be willing to play a basketball player again, if a director asked her to.
Two of the hottest Latina dykes on the mic. Showtime’s Sandra Valls is one of Curve magazine’s top 10 lesbian comics. Logo’s Mimi Gonzalez is one of Backstage NY’s top ten comics to watch. Both are Olivia featured performers because wherever the Lezberados go, they’re the “taco the town.”
Seasoned comics Mimi Gonzalez and Sandra Valls joined forces in 2011 to create a nationally touring show called “Lezberados.” Valls’ Mexican pride and Gonzalez’s Cuban heritage bridge the gap between two of the many Latino cultures and forge a peace full of laughter keeping audiences asking for more.
Sandra Valls is a brash, high-energy comic and then some. She has two Showtime comedy specials under her belt, THE LATIN DIVAS OF COMEDY and PRIDE: GAY AND LESBIAN COMEDY SLAM hosted by Bruce Vilanch. She's been featured on Logo, BET, Sitv, and HBO and played countless festivals including Toronto's, We're Funny That Way. More recently, she wowed audiences in Olivia Cruises Bahama's Resort and added two more Olivia performances as a result. She includes a closing song in her act that has driven many an audience to their feet in ovation. She was the front man (woman) for an eight-piece R&B horn band in Boston for many years.
Mimi Gonzalez is a road-tested, high-octane comedian who takes the audience on a wild ride from the profound to the profane. Her television appearances include: LOGO's "One Night Stand Up," the "Today" show, Mo Gaffney's "Women Aloud," "Ellen," "Que Loco," "Funny is Funny," and "Latino Laugh Festival." She's even been a morning-show co-host on New York's WPYX. Mimi's also answered the call of duty to the U.S. armed forces and made them laugh in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, Korea, Japan, and Guam.
Bring them together or solo for Hispanic Heritage Month and NCOD!
Joy Behar is a comedic original and a leading woman both on stage and screen. Behar received an Emmy award for her performance on The View, where she was a member of the cast for 16 years and has also hosted her own talk shows, The Joy Behar Show on HLN and Say Anything on Current TV.
Armed with an MA in English education from SUNY at Stony Brook, Behar originally began a career in teaching. She then set out to pursue comedy professionally and immediately received bookings from such famous New York clubs as Caroline’s and Catch a Rising Star.
She went on to win three MAC Awards and a CableACE Award. She has starred in her own HBO specials, One Night Stand, and Women of the Night.
Other television appearances include the voice of a hilariously neurotic patient on Dr. Katz, which won the CableACE Award, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, Family Guy Presents Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Celebrity Poker Showdown, It’s Gary Shandling’s Show, Comic Relief 2006, Last Comic Standing, Bette, Spin City and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. She has recently appeared on 30 Rock, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List, One Life to Live, SOAPnet’s Relative Madness, and All My Children and Real Time with Bill Maher.
In 1983 the legendary director Mike Nichols saw her perform and, the following year, presented her on Broadway in a one-woman show of her own creation. The show was an enormous success, and brought her to the attention of Steven Spielberg, who cast her in the leading role in his film of Alice Walker's The Color Purple. Making her film debut in this coveted role instantly established her as one of Hollywood's leading actresses. Her performance in Ghostwon her an Academy Award. She followed this with memorable performances in the box-office smash Sister Act and the critically acclaimed Robert Altman film, The Player. Her other film credits include Made In America; Corinna, Corinna; Star Trek: Generations and Boys on the Side. In addition to her acting roles, Whoopi Goldberg has hosted her own television talk show and has earned rave reviews for hosting the annual Academy Awards telecast.
With Whoopi: The 20th Anniversary Show, don't think about her name or her previous credits - look at her outfit. A bandana, blue jeans, long black shirt, and purple shoes are hardly clothes befitting a major Hollywood star. She must still be the down-home girl she was when she first made a splash on Broadway 20 years ago, right? Or is she trying in vain to recapture the nascent energy she radiated when her material, like her personality, was fresh and new? The answer, of course, is both: Goldberg remains now everything that she was then, while also possessing a depth and seasoning she couldn't have had when her original show, Whoopi Goldberg, opened at the Lyceum in 1984. 20 years later, and at the same theater, her new effort Whoopi is both a tribute to that original success and an effort to make it relevant for modern, younger audiences who might be less willing to bask in her raw - yet now familiar - comic aura.
Over the course of her career, she has won every major honor awarded by the entertainment industry: the Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony Awards. She has also received the Mark Twain Award for American Humor, presented in a 2001 ceremony at the Kennedy Center in Washington.
Whoopi Goldberg has long been one of the most recognizable and best-loved figures in American popular culture. Since the summer of 2007, she has been a daily presence in American homes, as co-host of ABC's morning talk show The View. She has continued an active movie career, voicing the character of Stretchy in Toy Story 3, and appearing in the live action film Madea Goes To Jail and 2010's For Colored Girls, adapted from the celebrated play by Ntozake Shange. She has written a number of books, including a collection of humorous essay, Book, and the children's books Alice andWhoopi's Big Book of Manners as well as the Sugar Plum Ballerinas series. In 2010, she published a book of humorous observations on contemporary manners, Is It Just Me? Or is it nuts out there?
"She connects with audiences, able to reduce them to helpless blobs of laughter." - TALKIN' BROADWAY
"If you don't want gay people to be married, don't marry one."- WHOOPI GOLDBERG
Sandra is a brash, high energy, smart, outrageously funny, Latina comic… and then some! Voted by Latina Magazine as one of the Top 33 Bad Ass Comics with Latin Roots, Sandra performs to standing room only, sold out comedy shows all over the country. She’ll make you laugh till your face hurts with her frank, no holds barred comedic genius!
Sandra ignites the stage with a powerful and electric performance in 2 Showtime hit comedy specials, THE LATIN DIVAS OF COMEDY (nominated for an Alma Award) and PRIDE: LGBT COMEDY SLAM! hosted by Bruce Vilanch (both available for viewing on Hulu.com). In a time when gays and lesbians in the US are still struggling and fighting for equality, Sandra Valls unapologetically takes the road less travelled, celebrates her sexuality and steps up to the front lines entertaining and educating folks through laughter and plenty of PRIDE! It comes as not surprise that she was voted one of Curve Magazine’s Top 10 funniest lesbian comics and Top 10 faces to watch by Diva Magazine.
Her other television credits include NickMom Night Out (Nickelodeon), Outlaugh Festival, One Night Stand Up (LOGO), Comic’s Unleashed with Byron Allen (ABC), Habla! (HBO), Que Locos (Galavision), Funny is Funny, Latino 101 (Sitv), BET’s Comic View and countless other tv spots including MTV3’s Quiero mis Quince, and Wanna be Latinos!
Sandra’s hosting credits include La Femme Film Awards, Power UP’s 10 Amazing Gay Women and Men gala, and GLAAD Awards, to name a few. From hosting to touring with the Latin Divas and Queer Queens of Qomedy, and Lezberados with Mimi Gonzalez, to sharing the stage with Eva Longoria at the HBO Comedy Festival, Sandra still finds time to give back to the community by volunteering and producing comedy shows for various causes including benefits/fundraisers for AIDS, sobriety, domestic violence and LGBT rights
The California Senate presented Sandra with a Certificate of Recognition for her relentless support of people in recovery in the LGBT community as exemplified by her leadership in producing “One Gay at a Time", a comedy show that celebrates people in recovery.
Sandra Valls is also an actor, singer (go to videos for a taste) and a published author. Pick up your copy of Out on the Edge: America’s Rebel Comics. A funny and illuminating piece about what it’s like to be a lesbian and a woman of color in the comedy world!
"Valls is as true to her ethnicity as she is to her sexuality; knocking tv audiences on their behinds!"
Always an activist of human rights, Sandra was just recently honored in her hometown of Laredo with the International Woman’s Day Award for being a trailblazer and empowering women, and was chosen by Unidos-National Latino LGBT Human Rights Organization to be part of their prestigious list for Project VISIBLE Latinos LGBT in the USA and PuertoRico: Out in Leadership. GLAAD has honored Sandra’s work with a Special Recognition Award for her groundbreaking achievements in production for promoting fair and accurate representation of the LGBT community in English-speaking Latino television.
Off-Broadway and Las Vegas. In 2001, the girls produced and starred in the critically acclaimed Off-Broadway hit, "Dragapella! Starring the Kinsey Sicks" at New York's legendary Studio 54. That production received a nomination for a Lucille Lortel award (the Off-Broadway Tony) as Best Musical and a Drama Desk nomination for Best Lyrics. In 2006 the girls wowed audiences with a much- coveted extended run at the Las Vegas Hilton. The show was ranked by critics as one of the best shows in Vegas, and heralded by reviewers as "a feast for the eyes, the ears and the funny bone."
Mimi Gonzalez is a road-tested, high-octane comedian who takes the audience on a wild ride from the profound to the profane. Bawdy and political, her ferocious idealism of inclusion has been embraced by colleges, Prides, comedy clubs, resorts, festivals, cruises and even battlefields.
Mimi’s answered the call of duty to the U.S. armed forces and made them laugh in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, Korea, Japan and Guam. Seasoned comics Mimi Gonzalez and Sandra Valls joined forces in 2011 to create a nationally touring show called “Lezberados.” Valls’ Mexican pride and Gonzalez’s Cuban heritage bridge the gap between two of the many Latino cultures keeping audiences in stitches asking for more.
Her television appearances include: LOGO’s “One Night Stand Up,” the “Today” show, Mo Gaffney’s “Women Aloud,” “Ellen,” “Que Loco,” “Funny is Funny,” and “Latino Laugh Festival.” She’s even been a morning-show co-host on New York’s WPYX.
She's used her Journalism degree to commit random acts of publishing which have included interviewing Camille Paglia for On Our Backs magazine and is a featured monthly columnist in GET-R.I. You can find her on the road, working her walnut farm in Michigan or on Facebook.
Ben Lerman sings hilarious and catchy songs about love, pirates, Amish fashion, sex, and a violent bus ride in the Bronx. If Bo Burnham and Cam from “Modern Family” had a lovechild, it’d be this guy. He is an award-winning comedy musician and songwriter. Ben plays colleges, clubs and festivals as a solo comedy musician. He’s popular guest on radio and podcast shows like The Frank DeCaro Show on Sirius XM and the Keith & the Girl Podcast, and he has appeared on Logo TV and Here TV. His debut music video was featured on Atom.com. Ben was nominated for an Excellence in Comedy in New York Award for Best Musical Comedy Act in 2011. He won the award for Best Male Comedy Musician at the 2012 New York Funny Songs Festival.
In 2012, Ben started Big Band Hot 100, a monthly music party at the Ace Hotel where a 12-piece band plays covers of the current Billboard Charts with guest singers from all over the New York City performance map, including Jackie Hoffman, Julie Klausner, and Xavier.
In 2013, Ben started a comedy podcast called Serving Reelness with fellow gay comedian, David Smithyman. They watch films streaming on Netflix (seperately) and then discuss them (together) with funny and knowledgeable (sometimes both) guests.
Some of the nice things the press has said about Ben Lerman:
“Brilliant.”—New York Magazine
“Gripping.”—The New York Times Magazine
“So damn funny!” —Time Out Chicago
“Sick and brilliant ukulele comedy.” —The Bastion, Chicago
“Ben Lerman and his ukulele make one funny pair.” —Time Out New York
“Hysterical…” —Next Magazine
Hedda Lettuce, the six-time Drag Queen of the Year Award-winner (HX magazine), has received national acclaim for her poised characters, startling satire and original music. Hedda lures you into the funniest scenarios on stage with her ultra-candid, shimmering wit.
Drag-debutant, Miss Lettuce, has established herself as New York City’s premiere queen in classic cabaret venues such as Caroline’s on Broadway, FEZ and her classic movie night at the Clearview Chelsea. She has worked on such networks as Comedy Central, MTV and HBO, and in a handful of off-broadway plays. Hedda’s comedy projects include her stand-up tour deforce, The Hedda Lettuce Show; The Dixie Chicks with Dicks, the country-singing drag trio; and Lettuce Rejoice, the annual Chelsea holiday spectacular.
Hedda has appeared with the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker and Madonna on such television shows as Project Runway, Sex and the City, 20/20 with Barbara Walters, the MTV Movie Awards, The Dave Chapelle Show, and Oprah. Hedda’s film appearances include, The Look(Carol Alt), and Too Wong Foo. She starred along with Mink Stole in the play, Sleeping with Straight Men. She has also had the pleasure of working with high-profile charity events (Broadway Bares).
Steven Polito knew when he created the character of Hedda Lettuce she needed not only a look—but a voice. Polito says, "Most people think Drag Queens lip-synch, not Hedda, she uses her own voice, has her own identity."
Hedda's ability to create hilarious stories out of mundane situations is uproariously funny. The New York Times calls Hedda a "Satirist... Singer-impressario..." The Advocate hails her as "One of the best and brightest under thirty."
Miss Richfield 1981 dedicates her life to the friendly citizens and responsible merchants of her hometown of Richfield, Minnesota. This Midwestern maven is winning over theater and cabaret audiences around the country with an interactive format that combines homespun warmth and edgy improv, leaving audiences in hysterics with a truly original performance.
Miss Richfield’s national appeal includes riotous appearances on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “Today” on NBC, as well as prestigious mentions, such as The New York Post recently honoring “Miss Richfield 1981 as the must-see act in Provincetown.”
As well as sell-out performances throughout the country, including LA, Chicago and New York, Miss R continues her sold-out reputation as the most successful act each summer at the Crown and Anchor in Provincetown, Mass. Miss R also finds time in her busy schedule to headline for Atlantis Events cruises and resort vacations, the largest LGBT vacation company.
Bruce Vilanch, an otherwise unassuming blond from Paterson, New Jersey, has written for every television function and dysfunction imaginable, including the Quadruple Crown of Awards Shows: The Oscars (this year's), The Emmys (this year's), The Tonys (this year's), The Grammys (not this year's). In fact, he co-wrote the last eight Oscar telecasts, winning consecutive Emmys for two of the Billy Crystal shows. In addition, six of his other shows have won Emmys as outstanding variety programs of their respective years. He has also written the Daytime Emmys, People's Choice, American Comedy Awards, CableACE Awards, SAG Awards, World Music Awards, Ford's Theatre Presidential Galas and the Comic Relief telethons that air every year or so. He has co-written all of Bette Midler's stage and television appearances (except Gypsy, natch) as well as the Broadway concert appearances of Peter Allen, Michael Feinstein, Diana Ross, THE MUSIC OF ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER (in several incarnations) and the luminous flop musical PLATINUM, which starred Alexis Smith.
Among the people for whom he has created shows and/or special material are Lily Tomlin, Shirley MacLaine, George Carlin, Ann-Margret, Michael Crawford, Nell Carter, Joel Grey, Angela Lansbury, Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams, Cher, Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Joan Rivers, Donny and Marie (!) and others who have requested much deserved anonymity. He has also had his fingers in more pilots than the American Airlines staff proctologist.
As an actor, he has been featured prominently in the TV-Movie IT NEARLY WASN'T CHRISTMAS (opposite Charles Dorning), THE MORNING AFTER (opposite Jane Fonda), MAHOGANY (opposite Diana Ross), BOSOM BUDDIES (opposite Tom Hanks) and the immortal ICE PIRATES (opposite Anjelica Houston and a Space Herpie). As lyricist, he is the owner of several gold records courtesy of Eartha Kitt ("Where Is My Man?) and as a sitdown comic he has appeared at Caroline's, the Gardenia, Reno Sweeney, Mister Kelly's and other watering holes.
Formerly a feature writer for the Chicago Tribune, he can now be found once a month in the pages of the Advocate as author of a column entitled,"Notes From A Blond". Otherwise, he is generally occupied with one benefit or another, most of them for AIDS-related causes or Jewish or gay (or Jewish and gay) issues or groups, although he will furnish a list of other diseases, political stands and ethnic persuasions upon request.