Ian Harvie bills himself as “Stand Up Comic. Trans Man Superhero. Dog wrangler. Closet Cowboy.” Intrigued? We were so we took a moment to email him about his art and his upcoming show in Pittsburgh – Saturday, April 27 at Mullens on the Northside.
Ian’s team has graciously offered us a pair of tickets to give away to one lucky reader – see the rafflecopter at the end of this post to learn how you can register.
Have you ever been to Pittsburgh? If yes, what do you love about it? If no, what would you like to experience? I love PITT and I have some friends there that I would like to see. I know economically it has been a sad place but there is a vibe and a spirit there of working class folk, which I love, and is in my own background. I’d like to go to the most local of establishments and try to blend in for an evening. Also if it were were warmer I’d want to swimming, I’m obsessed with fresh water swimming! Might be too cold for that end of April.
Your bio mentions that you adore Carol Burnett. What’s your favorite skit or character? There’s not a single sketch I didn’t like I love Carol Burnett but I also love ALL her castmates too, Vicky Lawrence, Tim Conway, Harvey Corman, Lyle Wagner (early years). I loved Eunice, she can never get a break with her Mom, its kind of a typical Mother daughter relationship in a lot of ways. Mrs. Wiggins, the inept secretary to Mr. Tubball, their timing was spot on and brilliant. I love when they would break the 4th wall and crack up laughing, I would laugh right along with them and somehow felt part of their jokes. I was also really into Flip Wilson and his Geraldine character and all his faces. He did great faces.
Tell me about the very first LGBTQ person you met and what that meant for you. The first LGBT person I met was gay boy, that was my brother Jeff, but I didn’t know he was gay until later post high school. The next person I met was a kid in high school who got thrown down two flights of stairs for being, what was thought to be gay at the time, now I realize he was being gender-bashed for being effeminate. Most people are not gay-bashed, they’re usually gender-bashed, based on how the outside world perceives that person’s masculinity or femininity. I didn’t know that kid in high school but I definitely had sad and scared feelings for him and his life back then, but didn’t have a clue what to do with them. Then there was the first girl I kissed, she was a highly confident and sexual lesbian, named Michelle. She freed my narrow thoughts about thinking that I had to date or be interested in men. I had girl crushes for years but didn’t know where to place them. She was my first girl kiss and it changed my life in the best way forever. Then the first trans man I met was about 12 years ago at a community event, he was introducing Les Feinberg, Author of Stone Butch Blues and I was blown away and began to quietly cry at the event, saying to myself, that’s me, that’s me, that’s me!! I introduced myself after it was over and PJ was the first trans man I had ever met, and that too changed my life. I had met many trans women and beautiful gender bending queers who were bending more in the femme direction and PJ was my first example of female to masculine in a way that i really plugged into. Since my first kiss with a girl to now, I’ve been on a mission of expansion, that’s a hard train to stop once you start. I mean, once you strip away all the bullshit you’ve ever been told about how you “should be” in the world, from religion, politics, gender, relationships, and career, and rebuild it the way YOU see it; there’s kind of no turning back to that old way of thinking.
You’ve been described as “the boy next door.” What are you going to discuss in your show that will blow the image out of the water? I think that most people would think that because I’m trans that I’m going to blow you away with the information I’m going to deliver, but I think what people see in the end that what I gave them wasn’t anything that didn’t make perfect sense to them and in fact everyone probably feels the same way as I do. I think I will align myself with everyone in the audience and it will be inarguable and THAT MIGHT be something that blows the whole image out of the water. Come to the show, if we don’t agree now, we will after the show.
Your description of gender identity is pretty complex. Do you get pushback on that from the LGBTQ community? You think its complex? Is it strange that I think its super simple? I rarely get push back and I think its because how people identify is NOT up for debate. I don’t argue with sects of my community, how everyone id’s slightly differently. Some id as real 100% pure XYZ.. Maybe as an example in the “L” portion of the community there is straight-up woman on woman love, some are Butch/Butch, some are Butch/Femme, some are andro, some are sporty, some are L-Word Shane style Lesbians, some are young Justin Beiber dykes, its all beautiful and varying and I don’t dispute what anyone has come to in their life and the words they use to describeit. Its rare that others dispute mine and besides that shit isn’t up for public discussion! Sometimes people make it seem like their asking a question but they’re really questioning you if you’re sure of who you are, or trying to make it sound like what/who you are is weird/wrong. I know the difference and I don’t engage with anyone who is like that, in/out of the LGBTQ community. That would be a waste of breath. I trust that when people tell me who they are that they are not lying, I expect the same of others and I pretty much get it.
Who is your favorite LGBTQ character from television or film or literature? Ludovic from Ma Vie En Rose, a little boy who wants to be a girl and her parents struggle with allowing her to be who she is. Such a sweet and beautifully brave little kid and I love that in the end she finds her inverse in a little girl who wants to be a boy. There are some dream sequences in the movie that Ludovic fantasize shes kind of a Barbie character and her dreams are really vivid and beautiful and I remember being a kid an dreaming all things possible and how bright and cheery it all seemed back then. It reminds me of a innocence and truth that I love. I also appreciate the parents struggle and the siblings kind of not having an issue with it, and her grandma being her island in the storm. Its just a sweet film.
Words are a big deal in today’s society. George Carlin listed words people can’t say. There’s an unwritten rule that those of us who belong to a minority group can use certain rules (like dyke, homo) but even that has some limits. Do you touch on this in your show or in previous shows? I noticed your website uses “transgendered” which isn’t not common these days. If transgendered is in my web site, its a typo or someone else wrote it. But I don’t too worked up about others or my own saying the wrong words, unless its meant with malice, which is rare. Most people just don’t know how to say things. And it doesn’t make it easier that language in the LGBTQ community is constantly evolving. Its just hard to keep up with what’s proper at any given moment and I’m happy to be corrected on words that either don’t exist or hurt people. But I may also reserve the right to disagree that they DO exist and that I might own it and use it, even if it might have historically upset someone in my own community. And again it all depends on whether or not I’ve used it with malice, which I don’t.
Are you political? If so, how? Yes, first and foremost, simply because I choose to be who I am, despite what much of the world thinks I should be. Anytime you go against the grain or norm, your political. And a whole lot of other reasons that I just don’t have the energy to list here, but they all stem from the aforementioned premise of going against the grain or system.
Are there any taboo topics for you? No, if there is a way to make it genuinely funny, then nothing is out of bounds, nothing. BUT it better be fucking funny!
You can catch videos of Ian’s comedy here.