Justin Sayre A regular bon vivant, Justin Sayre lives a bi-coastal lifestyle: he alternates between Los Angeles, where he is a writer for 2 Broke Girls, and New York, where he hosts his monthly variety show The Meeting* at Joe’s Pub. The Meeting*, which pays tribute each month to a different queer icon (recent honorees include Barbra Streisand, Eartha Kitt, and Elton John), is comprised of guest performers’ musical tributes—as well as Sayre’s exuberant monologues about the current state of queer culture at large. The velvet-tongued Sayre relies doubly on the silly and the provocative, incorporating skits (“seventh-grade theatricals,” as he calls them) and fiery rants to entertain, and then inform, his audience. But most of all, Sayre keeps a torch burning that has dimmed with gay culture’s assimilation into the mainstream, offering a much-needed light in an otherwise dim and too-safe comedic space.
When was the first time you remember making someone laugh? What happened? I think it was kids at school. My family decidedly doesn’t find me funny. 1st Grade, we had to spell words like Happy and Slippy, and when we would get to the PP, I would give a knowing glance and people would laugh. Even then I liked to play blue.
What is the toughest part about being on the comedy scene in Brooklyn today? What is the best? New York is the beast we’re all fighting into submission. It’s a tough town only getting tougher, but the nice thing that comes out of that, is you have a community of performers who get it, and want to help each other out. It’s a very generous community.
Who do you find funny? Right now? Cole Escola forever and Jenn Harris is my Carol Burnett! I love Josh Sharp and Aaron Jackson. John Early is a treasure. Isaac Oliver is Rosalind Russell to me. I also Jo Firestone is a national treasure!
What was the last time you laughed so hard you cried? Lunch with my friend Madeleine Bourgeoius, she has the best turn of phrase outside the business.
What are your goals for your comedy career? I’m a writer, so I always hope to write more plays and film. I want to use comedy and jokes as tools to make folks listen to thought. So New plays, and projects for TV. Just more of my voice out there.
What is your favorite knock-knock (or otherwise goofy) joke? A little boy and a little girl sit together shyly. He asks her name. She says guess. He asks, “Give me a clue.” She says, “It sticks to walls?” He, proudly guesses, “Shit!” She moves off in disgust, “It’s Ivy.” It’s anti-joke but I love it.
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