Sassy Gay Friend Live! at Second City, Toronto, November 5, 2010
There was really no way for me to avoid it had I wanted to. It combined Shakespeare and the gays, the two things my Lady probably loves more than anything, so when sketch comic Brian Gallivan brought his viral video sensation the Sassy Gay Friend to Toronto earlier this month as part of the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival, I knew we would be there.
For those of you unfamiliar, the Sassy Gay Friend is a character Gallivan debuted online at the start of summer, offering advice to literary heroines like Juliet and Ophelia, saving these ‘stupid bitches’ from their own poor decisions. It’s actually kind of genius. To wit:
Pretty good, right? But how does one translate a viral video that people have been watching and sharing for free into an experience that people will pay s5 bucks for?
Gallivan appears to have figured it out, as fans jammed the The Second City building in Torontoto capacity just to see him. After re-enacting his ‘Ophelia’ video onstage, the evening’s proceedings split pretty evenly between SGF and his softer spoken, more reserved creator. Of the two, I actually found Gallivan’s semi-autobiographical pieces more engaging than his alter-ego’s interactions with audience members, entertaining as those were.
As Gallivan told stories about coming out to the middle school class he taught, or the night he cried, shit and puked while drunkenly declaring his love to a man he was dating, to his need to stop pursuing men too young for him, because he ended up taking one of his old middle school students home, it became clear that SGF is his way of making up for time he lost in the closet, the voice he wish had asked him, ‘What, what, what are you doing?!’. Even in the brief interaction I had with him after the show, fumbling with a friend’s Blackberry to take a picture of him with the Lady, he was so genuinely humbled by the success he’s achieved, it really couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.
You can peep all of Gallivan’s SGF videos here, but I’m drawing special attention to the video he made as part of Dan Savage’s ‘It Gets Better’ campaign to combat bullying against gay teenagers.