LGBTQ Comedy Show Celebrates National Coming Out Day

Aidan Park felt overwhelmed by anxiety before his first performances as a young gay and HIV-positive comedian. Even in the early 2010s, he said the chances of an audience accepting him were a bit “uncertain.”

But it was his friend and comedic colleague Camille Solari who coaxed him on stage during his first real stand-up in Los Angeles, giving him the support – and the friendly push – he needed to kiss everything about him – even, including being HIV positive.

“When I started acting I said [Camille] “I’m nervous because I’m gay” which was still not accepted at the time, and she just said “Honey, we’re not 80s anymore, don’t worry” “she said. declared Park.

Years later, support from the tight-knit LGBTQ + comedy community in Los Angeles inspires Park and Solari to forge ahead while continuing to give back. Since starting comedy, both comics have grown into veteran headliners. Park became a bestselling author with his book “The Art of Being Yay!” and Solari created and stars in her own show called “Charlie” on Amazon Prime Video. Ahead of National Coming Out Day on Monday, the two comics teamed up as headliners and producers of “Straight-Ish Talk,” a benefit show to support the SoCal chapter from the LGBTQ + advocacy group Free mom hugs Saturday at the Comedy Chateau in North Hollywood. For those struggling to find a loud, proud, and fun LGBTQ + storefront, Straight-Ish Talk could be the rainbow-tinged breath of fresh air this weekend.

Aidan Park and Camille Solari will host the comedy show “Straight-Ish Talk” at the Comedy Chateau this weekend.

(From Aidan Park and Camille Solari)

“Some clubs tend to have a fairly undiversified lineup,” said Solari, who has hosted many LGBTQ + comedy nights, including Glam in La La Land at Hollywood Improv. “In the past, I wanted our shows to be quite diverse, including drag artists or burlesque dancers. This is the first that we have done in quite some time and now we have an advocacy group involved so we can support them, ”Solari said.

Comedy Night highlights the nerve and skill of local comedians Iggy Love Sky, Miguel Rojas, AB Farrelly, Tuesday Thomas, Deven Bouchet, Billy McCartney and Felix McNulty.

Valencia Foster, president of the SoCal section of Free Mom Hugs, said the show’s support will help fund their mission of sending parcels of clothing, stuffed animals and other FMH items to relatives of their patrons who donated to the organization during the pandemic. “We are forced to think about what we can do to move beyond a hug,” Foster said. “I never would have thought that one of the things we did would have been lining up with comedians who want to do a show to raise money for us.”

Foster and her husband Rodney, who also volunteers with FMH, first connected with Park and Solari after meeting Park at a local comedy showcase. They immediately hit it off and decided to team up to organize a comedy event to benefit the Valencia chapter of their organization.

Park said events like these bring the public together and also go beyond celebrating Coming Out Day with friends and family and help guests build lasting relationships with the LGBTQ + community in through comedy.

“We want to show people that there is a possibility to be cheerful and happy and to live your best life because when you go out for the first time it doesn’t necessarily feel that way,” the comedian said. “This feeling of isolation, especially in the LGBTQ community, is a big problem because if people suffer alone, they are ashamed of it.”

As the parents of a bisexual son, Miles, 23, the Fosters joined the SoCal chapter of Free Mom Hugs in 2019 to support him as allies. Before the pandemic, the group was present at events like LA Pride, offering hugs to people and hosting giveaways at LGBTQ + events.

Miles stands next to his mother Valencia while his father Rodney Foster smiles in the background

Valencia and Rodney Foster with their son Miles.

(From Valence Foster)

“When we give people a hug, some of whom have been totally rejected in the past, you can feel the emotion,” Rodney said. “When you ask them what it does, they say it sounds like pure love.”

As “Straight-Ish Talk” aims to move the needle of societal acceptance, it helps to look classy while doing it.

The full night of standing shows will provide VIP treatment to all attendees, including a red carpet photo installation, a suite of FMH giveaways, and refreshments from food and wine sponsors.

For Solari, the biggest reward is letting the authenticity of the comics shine through. “It’s really therapeutic to see all these different types of people going up there and doing a comedy, especially if they’re telling the truth and they’re not hackers,” she said. “They talk about what they went through and put it as a joke.”

Park said that making human experiences recounted through laughter can make National Coming Out Day the start of a new life.

“We accept you for who you are, and you don’t have to be ashamed of it,” Park said. “This is the message we really want to get across.”

“Speak direct”

Saturday October 9, at the Comedy Chateau, 4615 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Doors / red carpet / gift from 5:30 p.m., show at 7 p.m. $ 40. 21+

Javier E. Swan

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