McComedy. The name conjures up images of fast-food humour, but the clever duo of Shannon McDonough and Michael McLean is anything but. It’s a rare instance of a lesbian and a gay man combining forces for the cabaret stage, sort of a latter-day Nichols and May (an American improv duo popular in the late 1950s and early ’60s). Let’s call them Nichols and Gay!
“We’ve come to realize that I’m a better lesbian than Shannon, and she’s a better gay man than I am,” Michael says of their chemistry. “She’s never heard an Ani DiFranco song, and I missed Cher’s farewell tour — all eight of them.” They met in 1999 when they were both working at Baton Rouge. “They asked me to show her how to marry the ketchups,” Michael says. “So we immediately turned it into an impromptu infomercial,” Shannon continues. The duo will present their new show, a mix of sketch, standup, video playback and guests, including yours truly, at The Flying Beaver Pubaret in mid-August.
Michael has done lots of community theatre and a Toyota commercial and has hosted an open-mic night at the Winchester Pub. Shannon was the former host of Bump!
and two years ago, she did an awesome Fringe show about Tammy Faye Bakker. Both of them love variety shows, so it was just a matter of time before they staged their own . . . McComedy show.
I enjoy their parodies of Toddlers & Tiaras
and the ancestry.com ads, their skit about two folksy neighbours who dub the voices on a porn movie, and their impersonations of Roseanne and Dr Phil. “I’m tired of mean-spirited homophobic comedy,” Shannon says. “But that’s not to say we don’t have potty mouths.”
Later, Michael sends me an email: “I hate interviews. I always feel like I’m going to say something that’s going to be taken out of context and interpreted as an endorsement for Hitler.” Two minutes later, he sends me another: “Also, I do endorse Hitler. (Please don’t take that out of context.)” Fair enough, Michael. I won’t print anything that would make you seem like a weirdo. Besides, I have to share the stage with these people.
After a long day of being funny, it is time to get bombed. Luckily, there is a Bombay Sapphire event. I meet global brand ambassador Raj Nagra at Suits, a fancy watering hole on the street level of the Trump Tower. Raj’s challenge is to invent some new and interesting cocktails using Bombay Sapphire gin and whatever wonky ingredients I suggest, such as cilantro or mud. Nothing prepares me for the magic ahead. Yes, Raj is that good.
Raj mentions using egg whites in a cocktail, which sounds gross to me. To prove me wrong, he throws some fresh raspberries in a shaker with some gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and egg whites. He shakes it and pours something princess perfect and stunningly delicious. He calls it the Clover Club. “Wow!” I exclaim, a little too enthusiastically. “Top this one,” I challenge him, downing it like a movie drunk.
Raj takes the challenge, this time mixing gin, lemon juice and egg white with a simple syrup that combines liquid honey with cloves and rosemary. Garnished with a honeycomb, it’s called the Golden Bee’s Knees, and it is just as perfect and pretty as the pink drink.
On the way out, he hands me a pretty blue bottle of Bombay Sapphire and encourages me to try making the drinks at home. But I’m no mixologist, so I just drink it with some tonic and a slice of lime. I wish I could have brought Raj home instead of the bottle. It’s always handy to have a mixologist in the kitchen. Besides, nothing goes better with comedy than a good stiff drink.
The McComedy Show is Fri, Aug 17 and Sat, Aug 18 at 7:30pm at The Flying Beaver Pubaret, 488 Parliament St. pubaret.com