As host of Queer Factor, Stefan Norman, right, relies on a rotating cast of queer comedians and the Butt Gay Improv troop. (Photos by Sam Brand)
Local comedy show ‘Queer Factor’ celebrates one year
RICH LOPEZ | Staff writer
One night a month in Deep Ellum, Stefan Newman plays the role of host at the Dallas Comedy Club. At Queer Factor, he introduces local queer comics for his monthly showcase, and he has just begun to dabble in stand-up himself as part of the show. For this coming Thursday’s show on Feb. 2, Newman will have a year under his belt cultivating an impressive rotating roster of funny people right here in our own backyard.
Throughout his tenure, Newman has built a roster of some 40 local queer comedians that he can feature in Queer Factor.
“Everyone on our show is an experienced performer,” he said. “Every month we usually have three to four featured performers, and we also have an improv cast of about eight to 10 performers, out of a pool of 16 who rotate in.”
The Feb. 2 lineup will feature Aaron Stout, Lucia Hardaway, Kerry Day, Andra Ginny Jacobs and Kim Wadsworth.
Queer Factor. is an LGBTQ variety show that features local talent and up-and-coming comedians — all identifying as queer. Newman gives them a stage on which they can be featured. And that’s something most of them may not have had before.
The show can also be a safe space for these performers.
“I have had performers who are comedians perform standup for the first time at my show,” Newman said. “They don’t feel comfortable [in venues where they] may not feel accepted. So I keep it in mind that we have this exclusive queer space. And what we get to do here is improve our visibility in the comedy community.”
And if it isn’t already gay enough with five featured queer comics, the Butt Gay Improv squad also performs at the Queer Factor. monthly shows. “So we ask someone in the show what their favorite movie or show is, and we recreate that onstage — but gay,” Newman said to explain Butt Gay Improv’s performances.
The Queer Factor. show began when the Dallas Comedy House closed and then reopened under new management as the Dallas Comedy Club. In an effort to create its show calendar, Newman asked the owners about an LGBTQ-centric show. They were totally down for it.
“So I asked around [to find out] who would be interested. and there were a lot of performers jumping on board,” he said.
“Our first show was Jan. 27 last year, and we’ve had a show nearly every month since then.”
As the host, Newman himself decided to try the stand-up bit recently, although he’s always been more of the improv/sketch comedy type in the past: “I’ve been doing that [improv/ sketch comedy] for almost five years now, but to be a better host for Queer Factor., I’ve been trying stand-up as well,” he explained.
Originally from Arkansas, Newman came to the DFW area in 2008 while going to the University of North Texas in Denton. By day, the 32-year-old is a data analyst. But by night, he’s show-running Queer Factor. to its highest potential.
“We want it bigger and better every time,” he said.
With the show in Deep Ellum, where does that leave the Gayborhood for some of its own comedy? Well, Newman’s budding queer comedy empire is expanding with his first Monday show in Oak Lawn.
“There isn’t an exclusive comedy space in Oak Lawn, but I think that’d be really cool,” Newman said. “I do a comedy open mic at Alexandre’s, and several of the QF performers will do that.”
For the Queer Factor. anniversary show, Newman said he is glad to have a partnership with the Kind Clinic, which will be at the show. This marks a first collab for him.
“We’re partnering with them to offer information about all their services for the community,” he said.
But what else should we expect from Thursday’s show? That, Newman said, is hush-hush. “We have five fantastic performers, but I can’t really say what surprises are in store for the audience,” he teased.
For more information and tickets, visit Dallas-ComedyClub.com.