What’s gay culture? Is it still relevant? Questions like these led comedian Justin Sayre to head back to the basics with a “gAy-B-C’s” show in the East Village.
“I’ve never really been one to be afraid to talk about big or taboo subjects,” Sayre says. He’ll be hosting the first two of five “gAy-B-C’s: A Brief History of Gay Culture” at Joe’s Pub this weekend.
The event is set to break down notable parts of LGBTQ culture and history in New York City and beyond, like the Daughters of Bilitis, the first lesbian civil rights organization in the country, “Auntie Mame” and zebra print. In a digestible stand-up style package, the show will also touch on issues the community faces, from ageism to discrimination or HIV stigma.
“I knew I could never create a definitive list of gay culture, the task is too huge and too varied to be defined by any one person,” he explains. Instead, Sayre curated the list by narrowing down what seemed most important to him personally to “at least scratch the surface” for those who are curious.
Broken up alphabetically, Sayre will present the first part of the “gAy-B-C’s” (A through D) on Feb. 24 and the second (E through H) on Feb. 25. Dates for the rest of the projected five-part series have not yet been announced.
“Each of the shows runs the gamut from the humorous to the tragic,” he says. “I wanted to make sure there was a good mix and a good balance . . . it’s an active and changing culture, so part of it is looking at where we’ve been but also where we’re going. I think that’s terribly exciting and thrilling.”
Sayre, who’s writing credits appear on sitcoms like “2 Broke Girls” and “The Comeback,” also touches on similar topics in his debut comedy album “The Gay Agenda,” released in 2016. His LGBTQ-themed stint riffs aim to help boost mainstream representation of the LGBTQ community, but he knows it’s a big task to take on. “I hope they see that the culture is still alive and that they have a place in it.”
Visit publictheater.org for tickets ($25) and more information.