Ian Harvie is a trans comedian/actor who makes the awkward easy and the taboo hilarious. His honest and open approach to comedy landed him the special honor of being the first trans person with a 1-hour comedy standup comedy special! Harvie’s hilarious comedy special titled: “MAY THE BEST COCK WIN” just landed on SEESO (NBC’s digital network). You can access the comedy special here or by downloading the app to your favorite device.
Harvie made his acting debut as Dale in the critically acclaimed, Golden Globe and Emmy Award winning TV series “Transparent” on Amazon. Ian has guest starred as Michael on the ABC soapy, nighttime drama, “Mistresses” as Chris on FREEFORM’s hilarious, millennial sitcom “Young and Hungry” and guested on Comedy Central’s “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore”.
I didn’t get to pick my name but Ian Harvie did. He actually had his girlfriend shout several names across TJ Maxx while they were shopping to see how they fit. I am not jealous at all but I do like the name Ian. He shared some of his fun stories and ideas with Equality365. Check out our interview!
Earle Dutton: How did you become comfortable talking about these subjects to random people?
Ian Harvie: I think that it has always been in my nature to be open. I have just never been one of those people to keep things to myself. That became compounded when I started doing standup. When I first started standup, I was writing about topics and not really sharing myself on stage. As teen watching comedy specials, my favorite ones were when the people were honest and sort of left a big piece of themselves up on stage. I think vulnerability and heartbreaking humor are my favorite kinds of comedy. There is just an honesty there. I have a valuable little time slot of five to seven minutes. I can make people laugh about nothing or something. I started sharing I was queer. Then, I started sharing things about my relationships. Sometimes, I share how my relationships work sexually or about breakups. I realized that I could help change how people feel or think about other people, particularly LGBTQ people. I realized I have an opportunity here and don’t want to waste it. When I moved to LA and started working with Margaret Cho, she encouraged that even more.
ED: You refer to it as leaving a piece of yourself on stage but it sounds more like you are really taking ownership of those things you present. What do you think?
IH: Yes, I think it is both. There are comics out there that absolutely avoid revealing personal things about themselves on stage. For example, Jerry Seinfeld is a guy who does comedy about the minutia of life, the mundane. It doesn’t really reveal anything about him. You just don’t get a big reveal into his life. He is a huge talent but he isn’t leaving a chunk of himself on stage. It is a style choice for sure. I just can’t get up there and do it that way. It is ownership, yes. It is being out and taking ownership of who I am. In some ways it is not caring what the audience thinks. On the other hand, why I am doing this if I don’t care what you think. I think all comics share this need to get on stage and share something that makes people laugh. I think a few get up there and really feel vulnerable.
ED: What attracted you to Margaret Cho’s comedy?
IH: Definitely the vulnerability and honesty. I was doing what I was doing already. Then, I started touring with her and it really gave me permission to go further and share more. I had the opportunity to really open up and do it as much as I wanted, to get vulnerable and reveal real parts of myself. They may be embellished stories but they are real things about ourselves that we are revealing. I am on stage saying ‘here I am, exposed in this funny way. What do you think?’ I just don’t think I could do comedy without that part.
ED: Were you excited to land the NBC / Seeso special?
IH: Na (laughter). Yes, of course! Every comic dreams about something like this. I was so excited! My manager showed the network a one hour performance that I did before and let them know this is what I wanted to do for the special. To have someone say that this is exactly what they want, it is fresh and funny. It is just so validating. I was absolutely thrilled. It is not just that I get to have this archival piece of my art, but that other trans comics can now break through and have a special. It doesn’t just have to be that one guy did it. When one person gets to do something new it widens the path for others. I can’t wait to see other trans comics up there as well.
ED: What are you most looking forward to in 2017?
IH: Margaret has a production company with a couple of her friends. I have a show that I want to make with them. I am just super focused on that right now. I just keep trying to do new things and stretch my comfort zone.
You can access Ian Harvie’s comedy special, “MAY THE BEST COCK WIN” here or by downloading the app to your favorite device.