Released earlier this month on Dekkoo (a gay focused subscription-based streaming service), the outrageously hilarious, diversely all queer, stand-up comedy series “Out on Stage: The Series” has audiences in hysterics. It’s a rarity that a grouping, let alone a series, of all queer stand-up comics even exists. Baltimore OUTloud recently chatted with actor and comedian Brendan Scannell, who was part of the eclectic lineup of renowned LGBTQ stand-up comics.
“Audiences will see about a dozen comics from all different walks of life with this series,” Scannell began. “These comics are telling their stories and their jokes in a hilarious and enjoyable way. You’ll see three comics per episode and it’s a riot. It’s just so cool to watch queer people just slay and crush it at this art form that hasn’t always been the most respective to queer people.”
Scannell, whose background is in stand-up comedy, is more recently known for his lead role as Heather Duke in the reboot of the 1988 cult classic Heathers. Born in Valparaiso, Indiana, Scannell attended Northwestern University before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in comedy. “When I moved to Los Angeles from Chicago, I did a lot of improv and sketch comedy. Basically, what I felt was that I needed to be a little better on stage. I needed to be writing more, and a great way for me to do that was to go to these open mic nights – as many as I could. I fell in love with making people laugh, bombing and failing, and then tweaking jokes before ultimately finding success with them. It’s such a craft, and I just fell in love with the process of it. I’ve been doing it for four or five years now. Eventually, it was supposed to be this other thing in addition to acting and writing, but now in 2019 it’s sort of becoming the primary thing I do. That’s both exciting and terrifying.”
“I think, originally, I was drawing my inspiration from things happening in my daily life,” Scannell added. “Just those basic things like, ‘This happened to me at the airport’, etc. But over the past couple of years I’ve been able to delve into things about dating and identity. More recently, I’ve added stuff from my family and being from a small town in Indiana and having that in my DNA. It can be something as small as a customer-service situation to something as deep as my mom’s advice to me at the age of ten. I like exploring and finding the angle that’s funny.”
Scannell agreed that sometimes LGBTQ comics can get away with just a little bit more on stage than other comics. “There’s something about having a different point of view, and you’re often going into audience situations that you’re not always speaking to LGBTQ people. That gives you an outsider perspective. You can push the envelope a certain way. I think that’s sometimes also the case for people of color. Not necessarily getting away with more but having that outsider point of view.”
Scannell’s upcoming project, Bonding, was recently picked up by Netflix. Written and directed by Rightor Doyle, Bonding tells the story of long-lost high school BFFs Pete (Scannell), a recently out gay man, and Tiff (Zoe Levin), a grad student and secretly one of New York City’s top dominatrixes, who reconnect in an unexpected way.
Check out Brendanscannell.com; for Out on Stage,” it’s Dekkoo.com.
Brendan Scannell – From Heathers star to comic mining his small-town past
- Since 2011, arts writer Frankie Kujawa has covered a wide scope of entertainment stories and celebrity interviews. From the late Carrie Fisher and LGBTQ icon George Takei to comedians Lily Tomlin and Kathy Griffin to performer Idina Menzel, Kujawa’s candid interview ability brings readers past the byline and into the heart of the story. His unbiased previews of Baltimore-Washington’s theatre scene have allowed readers an inside glimpse of today’s most popular local and national performances. A Baltimore-native, Kujawa is proud to call Charm City his home.