Poppy Champlin

Female standups sweep through Texas

Poppy Champlin has worked in standup comedy since 1982, but it wasn’t until about 14 years ago — soon after coming out of the closet — that she was inspired to create a phalanx of lesbian comedians, and Queer Queens of Qomedy was born. Q3 has become a staple on Texas stages in the years since and returns for 2019 with a swing through the Lone Star State, featuring Champlin and Laredo-based Sandra Valls, pictured.

We chatted with Champlin and Valls prior to their matinee in Dallas on Sunday (which will also include Dallas resident KeLanna Spiller, who was featured in Kevin Hart Presents: Hart of the City), followed by Austin (Sept. 17), Fort Worth (Sept. 18 with Crist Guzman), San Antonio (Sept. 20) and Houston (Sept. 21), about performing in Texas and what makes for a successful standup.

— John Carder McClanahan

Dallas Voice: How did you assemble this year’s Q3 lineup? Poppy Champlin: I use Sandra on my Texas tour a lot because her sister can house us! Sandra has her sister down in Austin, so we’re sort of using that as a base. And because we’re going from Dallas to Austin to San Antonio, it’s kind of that spot in the middle. And then KeLanna, I found her online really, searching for new people to use. And I saw that she did a Kevin Hart special, and I watched her set and thought she was great. And I’m always trying to bring fresh comedy to the tour, so I asked her if she wanted to be part of it.

How would you describe the styles of comedy for each of the comics? Champlin: Sandra and I are similar in the fact that we both like to add singing to our show. But you know, she’s Latina, and so she brings that Latina flair to the show. And Texas definitely has a lot of Latino people. I’m really happy to have her on. And then KeLanna is African- American. I like to keep it very diverse in that respect as well.

What advice would you give to new queer comedians starting out? Sandra Valls: Be true to yourself. And that goes for anybody doing anything, not just comedy. If you want to be a painter, if you want to be an artist, if you want to be a carpenter, if you want to be a bus driver, if you want to be a teacher, just be yourself; be your authentic self, and follow what your mission on earth is. We all have a mission on earth. We’re born for a reason, not to just take up space. I’m very spiritual about this. We’re born here for a reason to add and contribute to the planet to make it a little better than it is. Some people aren’t awakened to that yet. But there’s a place at the table for everyone. You tell yourself, “There’s no one like you.”

How do Texas audiences react to the queer subject matter in your sets? Champlin: The first time I came to Fort Worth was a really long time ago, like, probably 10 or 12 years ago. And I got one columnist to write about the show. But he said he was going to do it from a Christian point of view. I’m like, OK, and then, he wrote a pretty good review and everything. But at the end, he wrote, “Unfortunately, these three girls are all going to hell.” I was like, “Oh, my gosh!” That was pretty shocking.