Ian Harvie embraces his label as a trans comic. He’s made a show out of it.
“I’m not afraid to be pigeonholed as a trans comic,” Harvie said in a phone interview with QSaltLake. “I am an identity comic. I tell people my story and hopefully people can identify with it and laugh along with me.”
Harvie hasn’t performed in Utah, yet. But the Utah Valley University’s UVU Spectrum – LGBTQI/Straight Alliance is starting a fund to bring him in for a performance in October, provided the fundraising goals are met. Due to budgetary concerns by the university, all $5,000 to pay for his travel and stay has to be paid by individual donors and sponsors.
“We would love for this to become a community and campus event. Ian is so funny and his material isn’t just for people who identify as queer or trans,” said the Spectrum’s co-chair Ronni Sorenson. “We know that Utah County has a reputation of being kind of conservative and close-minded. And even if it’s only a little, we’d like to help change that.”
Harvie has been involved in comedy for more than 10 years and recently finished a three-year tour opening for gay-icon Margaret Cho.
“I don’t think that I would call myself a pioneer and I think I am more of an inadvertent activist. I like to tell my story and I think people can just identify with it,” Harvie said.
Although he performs largely for straight audiences, he said there’s very little backlash to his comedy and the main theme of his set is about body issues.
“I don’t think there’s anyone out there who is totally happy with their body and how they look,” Harvie said. “People alter their images through surgeries, makeup and other means all the time. How is my story that different?”
While exploring issues that affect trans people, Harvie said he makes a connection with an audience that is undeniable and a more human experience than anything else.
“I think the biggest problem I’ve faced is the whole bathroom issue after the show and people find out I am a trans man,” Harvie said. “Like somehow my peeing in the same room will be contagious or something.”
Harvie’s performance is penciled in for Oct. 11 at UVU, but all the funding has to be raised before the event can become a certainty. Those that are willing to be sponsors will receive a variety of benefits including advertising on the posters and a chance to meet Harvie. For more information and to donate, email [email protected].