Since its launch in March 2001, some of comedy's biggest names, people like
Graham Norton no less, have performed at Comedy Camp. Like OOT in Scotland, it welcomes
a mix of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and nice straight people, both in the audience
and on-stage – week in week out!
“The most obvious type of gay humour would be camp,” Happily admits cheerily,
when pushed. “There is definitely a tradition of camp comedy. And there seems to be
one really big camp star for every generation: Kenneth Williams, Frankie Howerd,
Larry Grayson, Julian Clary, Graham Norton. But you shouldn't confuse gay comedy -
if there really is such a thing - with camp comedy. Many gay comics don't do camp -
much less lesbians! Likewise, some of the funniest camp men are straight.”
“And we have a mix of acts just as we have a mix of audiences,” gushes Happily
echoing Devlin north of the border. “If I only booked lesbian, gay and bisexual
acts the bills would probably repeat themselves. Talent and the ability to make
people laugh are far more important than sexuality. The audience especially love
some of the straight women, who are often given a hard time on the mainstream
“At the end of the day, Comedy Camp is marketed as a straight-friendly lesbian
and gay comedy club so bigots know not to attend,” says Happily of his punters.
“We have a few regular straight couples who have defected from the bigger comedy
clubs as they have a better time at Comedy Camp. Straight magazines often recommend
us as a pick of the day or week which helps.”
He expands: “It's also known as a place where lesbians and gay men are very happy
to bring their straight friends – their family even! One gay guy invited his dad
who had previously been homophobic and wouldn't let anyone know about his son. He
told me the next week his dad - who had had a great time - had completely changed
his views and had gone into work the next day and told all his colleagues what a
good night he'd had at a gay comedy club with his gay son!”
So who makes Simon Happily laugh these days?
“I have two favourite comics” – he confides – “Graham Norton, and Paul O'Grady who
plays Lily Savage. Both are gay men who've kept true to themselves and have moved
into the mainstream without sacrificing their personal or professional identities.
Both their senses of humour have come from a camp tradition, but they've modernised
OOT runs at
The Stand comedy clubs in both of Scotland’s
main cities: every second Tuesday of the month in Edinburgh (Booking: 0131 558 7272) and
every second Wednesday of the month in Glasgow (Booking: 0870 600 6055).
Comedy Camp runs at Bar Code in
London’s Soho where doors open every Tuesday from 7.45pm onwards, acts starting at 8.30pm
(Booking: 020 7483 2960).
OUR TOP FIVE FAVOURITE GAY JOKES
1. The Gay Gorillas
2. All Our Sons
3. The Boy At The Doctors
4. Nuns On The Bus
5. Barrel Of Laughs