The room hushes with anticipation as Megan Summers walks up to the microphone. She is opening for comedians Emma Willmann and Matteo Lane. This Monday night event was sponsored by the Pioneer Players and The Comedy Club for LGBTQA Celebration Week.
During her act, Summers makes light about being a bisexual female with self-deprecating jokes. At the end of her set, she fondly introduces Willmann. She is a comedienne, actress and an openly gay woman.
Willmann’s set consisted of jokes about her struggles with ADHD and dyslexia as a child. She also discussed the conflicts with her past interracial relationship. She next introduces the main act, Matteo Lane.
Lane begins his set by asking the audience about their interests and college life. He then takes the audience on an eclectic journey through the ‘Great British Bake Off’, Lindsay Lohan’s Instagram, and ‘Cats’ on Broadway. Lane also jokes about being called homophobic slurs while performing in Ohio.
Once the routine is over, the duo comes out to film an episode of their podcast, ‘Inside the Closet.’ Willmann describes it as “what two gay people will talk about when no one is around.”
During their podcast, audience members came up to ask relationship advice and discuss their past straight and gay relationships. When asked what the most difficult part about being a gay comedian is, Lane responded “Comedy is a straight driven world. Gay mainstream comedians are in the closet and come out later in their careers.”
Both Willmann and Lane agree that every night they are coming out of the closet to their audience. Willmann professed a gripe she has with people complaining about openly gay comedians talking too much about being gay in their act, “Nobody complains about straight comedians,” said Willmann.
Another question for the podcast was their reaction to the Pulse nightclub shooting. Lane said he “kept memories alive” with his group of close friends. Willmann said, “it smacked me in the face to what a self- absorbed monster I had become.” She learned to reevaluate her priorities.
Once the podcast came to a conclusion with one final tip on relationships, Lane and Willmann stayed for the audience to get pictures and give advice. Summers raffled off t-shirts as she thanked everyone for coming and supporting such an important and timely cause.
“I liked that the performance wasn’t solely about him being gay,” said Alex Delesky, the president of the Comedy Club. “I think that’s a strong thing to have in a comedian that has that sort of minority background.”
After the show, Lane gave advice to young comedians who one day would like to be in his shoes. The former oil painter and opera singer said getting stage time is the most important. It will make all the difference to practice your act multiple times and to always perform while sober.
A huge thank you to Matteo Lane and Emma Willmann for giving students a chance to laugh and feel safe to express their sexualities without criticisms.
Lane’s tour dates can be found at his website www.matteolanecomedy.com