Ian Harvie (photo credit: Kevin Neales)
If you know comedy, you know Ian Harvie. A trans funny man who has audiences rolling on the floor in laughter across the globe. If you can’t catch him in a city near you, then I suggest you subscribe to his YouTube channel, Fan him on Facebook and Follow him on Twitter.
Sidenote: The word on the street says you should do all of that too … even if you are one of the lucky kids and Ian comes to your town! That’s your BONUS!
This summer he will be swinging by my side of town (flipping “EASTSIDE” sign) and I can’t wait to meet him face-to-face.
Besides his comedy, Ian is as real as you get. He has a humble personality and a “dripping with honey” sweetness. The kind of guy you want as your best buddy, have a “bromance” with and scream out, “I love you, man!”
Ian tackles everything from gender to politics to the funny conditions and dispositions of human beings at their core.
Here’s an example of Ian’s personal “philosophy”:
“I was born female, there is no question that I understand this. I believe that ‘female’ is a biological and legal term; while my gender is something that I get to create and modify myself. I do not consider myself ‘male’, however I do identify as a man – the two are not necessarily connected for me. These are words I like to use when describing my gender: Butch, Trans, Trans Man, Tranny Boi, and Masculine. I don’t feel like I was robbed of the correct biological sex, I believe I was born in the right body, I just may want to change it a little bit. Really, who hasn’t felt this way about some part of their body?”
Most notably, Ian was scooped up by one of TQ’s other favorites comedians, Margaret Cho (we love you & your tattoos!), and she toured with Ian nationally and internationally which then landed Ian on TV shows, gracing the channels of LOGO and CBS.
TQ Nation had the opportunity to hit up Ian with an exclusive interview. We asked 10 questions and received answers that were so honest, real and enlightening it made us want to give Ian a great big bear-hug and a” smoochie-boochie” on the cheek. We really just think he’s super! Not to mention, he’s a TQ Nation citizen! What a smart guy!
TQ NATION EXLUSIVE INTERVIEW
TQ: What do you believe has been your biggest role or accomplishment that has benefited the transgendered community?
IH: I hope that it’s Trans visibility. I don’t want be a comic without being a positive image. Making people laugh and educating people are important and absolutely connected for me.
TQ: What is the craziest thing one of your fans has ever done to get your attention?
IH: I was on tour this past fall with Margaret and there was a meet and greet back stage after a show in (I think) Buffalo and this girl with a big group of her friends insisted that I spank her. She said she wouldn’t leave until I spanked her as hard as I could. She was not bare-assed or anything, she was wearing a pair of jeans, standing in the painted white, cinder block hall backstage in a big theater with all her friends standing there, waiting, like ‘come on, do it’ looks on their faces.. Our tour crew needed to get our next destination in a timely manner, so I did what I needed to do, I took a single swipe almost as hard as I could and we loaded up our van and went on our way.
TQ: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
IH: Having love and a family, still touring doing standup, maybe producing different projects, writing for others, writing on comedy shows, creating and collaborating, traveling, and frig, I hope exercising more..
TQ: Who is the one person that has played the most significant and positive role in your life? Why?
IH: There’s just not one. There’s so many, and since I’ve got the microphone, I’m gonna share.
My Mom, Dad and brothers have shown true unconditional love throughout many things that I’ve brought to them, that they didn’t understand at first. Not everyone who is Trans can say that about their parents and family. I’m incredibly lucky to have them role model what real love looks like, if I forget, I just look at them.
All of my relationships, friends, partners, partners who became friends, have all taught me and molded me to the good human I am today, I’m so grateful for all of them.
The one who was my friend and became my partner, my beautiful girlfriend Sarah, who is rarely shocked or shaken. She is my anywayfriend (which I heard last night on The Practice), the one who knows about my ego and all my flaws and she loves and accepts me anyway. I can only hope that I add to her life as much as she adds to mine.
I have to mention one of my best friends and mentors, Margaret. She changed my life in so many ways, my comedy career is definitely part of that, but she keeps teaching me things that are unrelated to comedy. Encouraged fearlessness and sharing insight just when I need it. I don’t know if I’ve ever laughed so hard with someone, I will always remember this time in my life.
TQ: What do you consider to be your greatest achievement so far in life?
IH: I spent a lot of years not being okay with my body. Thinking: ‘who would ever want to fuck me?’ After lots of therapy, getting clean and sober, being honest with myself, a commitment to spiritually feeling better, and the decision to modify my body, I think my greatest achievement is loving myself and my body for the first time ever.
TQ: Being a face in the “limelight”, what types of privacy or safety concerns have you faced? How did you deal with them?
IH: I have not experienced any privacy issues really. I think when you’re as out as I am, there’s little ‘new’ to discover, I’ve likely said it all on stage at some point. But if you mean the other translation of privacy, I live in Los Angeles, where it’s so huge (14 million people in the greater LA area), it would be a little hard to try to find where anyone lives, etc. I really think no one cares enough about me or what I’m doing to try to disrupt my life or invade my privacy or even stalk me at shows. Maybe that’s a little naïve..? But there are, of course, always safety concerns for all Trans people, and I’m no different. I do tend to watch my back a little more when traveling in places I’m not familiar with, especially overseas! I definitely rush in and out of the men’s restroom in public places. But I think (maybe falsely) because I’m soooo out, that I forget sometimes to be more concerned about my own well being. I think ‘what’s the big deal, I’m Trans’ and go about my business, but forgetting that it’s not really like that yet out there in the real world. Some day it will be like that, where little to no one cares. I look forward to that.
TQ: What’s the biggest piece of advice you would give someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
IH: Write tons. Be funny! Always say yes, the best jokes come from new experiences.
It’s okay to be afraid, but just put it your pocket, and jump, the wind will catch you.
Trans people need visibility in the LGBT community, so if you get nervous to go on stage, remember you’re doing it for you and for them and that should help your feet move to the stage.
Be honest and leave a piece of yourself on the stage.
Love yourself like no one else.
TQ: How did you first get your start in comedy?
IH: I started in my home town, Portland, Maine at the comedy club there. I took a comedy writing/performance workshop with a great guy named Tim Ferrell. How he found me was divine for sure! He taught me joke writing structure and editing. After the class was over, I began performing right out of the gate and haven’t stopped for over 7 years. I performed all over New England and decided that I wanted to chase this dream and to do so I needed to move to LA or NY. I grew up in Maine! It’s fucking cold there, so the choice was easy for me, LA all the way. Since moving here I’ve had some great opportunities and I just keep saying yes to everything. It’s been a ball!
TQ: TQ Nation is giving you a personal soap box – What do you want to say? (include your spout outs: vents, complaints, thanks or anything you want people to know)
IH: I’m always kind of surprised that there are so many people out there that think that they don’t understand how Trans people feel. I especially love when people play confused or fascinatingly concerned when the word Transgender is mentioned. For those who think they don’t understand, I challenge them with this notion.
No one out there in the entire world feels 100% okay about their body. NO ONE! And if you do, then you’re the freak. There are so many people out there that are, what I like to call Bio Trans. These are biological women who modify their bodies to be more feminine and biological men who modify their bodies to be more masculine. When a biological woman elects a breast augmentation procedure so she can feel more feminine in her body, how is that any different than me taking mine off to feel more masculine in mine. The core feelings that motivated us to change our bodies are the same. There are so many people out there that have these feelings, what they do with them, varies from person to person but In my book, everyone is a little Trans.
When I first came to understand that I was Trans, I felt alone and I thought I was the only one who had ever felt at odds with their body. There was even a brief period for me where I wrestled with feelings of resentment, and used language like ‘robbed of the correct sex’. Which was strange coming from me because I’d always been this eternally optimistic person; being resentful didn’t suit me. So I started looking at my life, body and birth name with acceptance. At first I had to fake it and in no time it seemed to become true. I was accepting of my given, biological body, but absolutely knowing that I could, if I wanted to, change it. And since then, this is how I’ve made sense of things for me.. I believe that sex is a biological fact and gender is something that I get to create; it’s changeable, fluid, and infinite. And I am not the only person who has ever felt these ways. I think everyone has felt at odds with their given body at different times.. wanting something different, wanting something more, wanting less of.. I think everyone has felt this way at some point in their lives and our feelings are what connect us to each other; that is what make us alike and understandable to each other.
So in my book, we are all a little Trans. And if you need examples of other Bio Trans folks, just look at Cher, Dolly Parton, Charro, Barry Manilow, Kenny Rogers and Bruce Jenner.
I went from feeling completely alone to feeling like this is something that we all have in common. I don’t feel so different anymore and that keeps me from feeling alone, no matter where I am.
TQ: What upcoming event/tour can your fans look forward to in the future?
IH: I am booking lots of college shows these days, so let me know if you’re school needs a Transgender funnyman. I’m working tons of Pride Festivals and Comedy Festivals all over the world. I’m headlining at mainstream comedy clubs around the country. I’ll be on some LGBT cruise ship vacations this summer and fall 2010. And I encourage all people to hit me up about doing house shows near places that I might be performing. If you want to know when and where I’ll be, please go to www.ianharvie.com and look at my tour schedule.
Love you, mean it!
TQ: I love you, man!
Written by TQ Nation President, Tristan Skye
Join the Revolution: www.TQnation.com