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Reviews/Comedy/Fringe World Festival

Bold queer comedy with a tender heart

22 January 2021

Patrick Gunasekera revels in the atmosphere of 3 Broke Gays and believes it’s one of the best stand-up shows you’ll find at this year’s Fringe.

3 Broke Gays, Cody Lam, Jackson Canny and Charlotte Glance ·
Belgian Beer Café, 16 January, 2021 ·

Though I was born in 1999, a joyous relief always floods my heart when I detect a queer safe space in public, and, consequently, such places feel suffused with a sweet and life-affirming air.

So it was in the Belgian Beer Café’s heritage Le Roi performance space, venue for the Fringe stand-up show, 3 Broke Gays, by three young and talented LGBTIQA+ comedians.

The fun and engaging line-up builds an inviting atmosphere, and viewers are made to feel seen and appreciated. Saturday night’s audience was perceptively buoyant and absorbed throughout the hour of hard-hitting witticisms and uproariously unexpected anecdotes commemorating the queer youth experience.

Each performer brandishes their own unique stand-up style. Jackson Canny’s MCing is enthusiastic, down-to-earth, and a very welcome digression from the classic brute-confrontation style typically associated with masculine MCs. Canny’s spirited sex jokes land exuberantly and respectfully with the audience.

The line-up for ‘3 Broke Gays’: Charlotte Glance, Cody Lam, rear, and Jackson Canny.

Charlotte Glance brings smart and straightforward insights that are fantastically earnest. With her finger on the pulse of the vile realities of the cisheteropatriarchy, and an upbeat resolve, Glance’s sharp quips bring an intrepid voice and a winning confidence to the line-up.

The closing set from Cody Lam is an unflinching declaration of personal ambition, delivered with a keen aim and unruffled by expectation. Lam’s punchy vexations, enriched through his avid physicality and gaze, assert a playful and political self-regard that is witty, persuasive and superbly fearless.

Last Saturday’s line-up included an open-mic session from Aves Robins, whose masterfully deadpan set was a side-splitting feat of rogue and subversive absurdity.

Many more stories and creative directions may await these comics in their professional growth, but this show demonstrates an encouraging focus and purposeful commitment to the craft of stand-up that will take them far.

Importantly, their style signals a vital new wave approaching the comedy scene, one in which care is a necessary prerequisite of a good gig. This stimulates hope in a creative scene that is often notorious for its misogyny and queerphobia.

Entertaining, exciting, fierce and loud, 3 Broke Gays is audacious comedy with a tender heart, and one of the most enjoyable stand-up events you will see this Fringe.

Canny, Glance and Lam’s vision and vitality are uplifting and encouraging. Their combined creative strengths work wonderfully together, and you’d be wise to keep an eye out for their next moves.

3 Broke Gays is on at the Le Roi performance space of the Belgian Beer Café and runs from January 27 to 30.

Pictured top: Charlotte Glance is smart and straightforward in ‘3 Broke Gays’.

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Zal Kanga-Parabia

Author —
Patrick Gunasekera

Patrick Gunasekera is a queercrip Sinhala artist working across performance, visual media, and writing. After reading a poorly written review on a show about disability, he got into arts writing to critically engage with touchy topics that affect him personally. He loved the monkey-bars as a kid because he wanted strong arms. Photo by Zal Kanga-Parabia.

Past Articles

  • A tender reckoning with right and wrong

    While Savage Grace serves a vital role in transmitting queer elders’ stories to the next generation, Patrick Gunasekera says that this incisive work is a gift to audiences from all walks of life.

  • Nurturing passion, hatching fire

    The 24 graduate artists showcased in this year’s “Hatched” exhibition have created a powerful and pensive testimonial to their generation, writes Patrick Gunasekera.

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