Following last winter’s sold out show in Gulfport, humorist and author Fay Jacobs will be back in town on Thursday, March 8 at 7:00 p.m. for an encore performance at Gulfport’s Catherine Hickman Theater (5501 27th Avenue South).
A native New Yorker, Fay Jacobs has had a 35-year career in journalism, public relations, and theater. As an author, Fay has four published books of humorous and activist essays. Fay has taught memoir and comedy writing, judged for the Lambda Literary Awards and has a new career, in what she calls “sit-down comedy.”
Fay’s upcoming show at the Catherine A. Hickman Theater on Thursday, titled, STILL Aging Gracefully: 50 Shades of Fay, is “rife with Fay’s signature humor and quick wit. This one woman tour de force reminds us that nothing is ever so horrible if it’s worth the stories you can tell.”
OUTCOAST had a chance to chat with Fay about her upcoming show, comedy career, and most embarrassing moment!
Tell me about your background…. where did you grow up and go to school?
I’m a New Yorker, grew up in Manhattan, went to Rhodes School, a small mid-town high school and then on to American University in Washington, DC. In college I studied journalism and theatre.
Any favorite childhood memories?
My sister and I would often walk over to Broadway after dinner, stand outside a theatre, and wait for intermission – then we’d blend with the crowd and go in for the second act. There were always seats someplace. We saw the second acts of lots of shows in the 1960s and 70s. When the Beatles first came to the U.S., they stayed at the hotel next to my apartment. A whole bunch of teenage girls were arrested for trying to climb up the outside of my building, thinking they could get to the room where the Fab Four were staying!
When did you begin exploring the comedy world?
Since high school I’ve loved writing comic essays about my life. In my in my early career I had fun doing it, but it was hard being in the closet – I couldn’t write truthfully. When I moved to gay-friendly Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, I could be out in print, too and it was fantastic. My partner was no longer a dangling participle.
Are there any famous comedians who have influenced your style?
Well, my style is sort of a comic storyteller. My heroes are Kate Clinton, the late writer/comic Bob Smith, Erma Bombeck and Wanda Sykes.
What are your favorite topics to cover?
These days it’s the humor in aging….a lot of funny stuff going on if you can laugh at it. I write about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, and all manner of frustrations with a phone that’s smarter than I am. Being a lesbian of a certain age provides plenty of ammunition – and plenty of universal situations we can all laugh at together.
How do you create your content/routine?
It comes from the collected essays in my books. I take the funny stories and weave in a narrative following my coming out, meeting my wife, my gay activism, and fighting for marriage equality. Much of it goes for the laughs, but there are moving, emotional stories too.
Tell us about your latest book. What’s it about and why should we pick up a copy?
It’s called Fried & Convicted.
The four previous books make up the Frying series: As I Lay Frying, Fried & True, For Frying Out Loud and Time Fries.
This one is made up of my latest published columns… and I have a lot to say about the current political apocalypse…also about Schnauzers, wifi, TV Ears, Kale and Rachel Maddow. Real life. I think you should pick up a copy because, let’s face it, laughs are needed these days.
What makes writing for the stage and writing for a book different? Which is easier/harder?
Well, the essays and written stories come first and that’s the hard part. Putting them on stage requires making the stories a little more conversational, but that’s about all. But I do love hearing the laughter….you don’t get the instant feedback from readers!
Do you have a most embarrassing moment that you like to bring up in your comedy routines?
Everything about aging – which plays a big role in my script – is embarrassing. But it’s so universal I get everybody laughing at their own embarrassments.
Most embarrassing though was my reluctant zip line adventure. It was the personification of my motto that nothing is so bad if it’s worth the story you can tell.
I understand that you spend part of your time up north and part time down here in Gulfport. What are your favorite things about each area?
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware is an LGBTQ bubble on the Delaware Coast. It’s a terrific hometown and I’ve spent more than 20 years working with our LGBTQ community center, writing for several local publications, and being out and proud every single day in every area of my life.
When I discovered Gulfport, I felt that same freedom and sense of community I felt in the 90s in Rehoboth.
How did you wind up in Gulfport?
A friend from St. Pete bought a house in Gulfport as a rental. I rented it and bingo! I fell in love.
Where do you perform? Do you have a favorite location?
I’ve done the show at the famed Duplex on Christopher Street in NY, on an Olivia Cruise (great fun!), in New Hope, PA, in Asheville, NC and lots of venues. Frankly, one of my favorite nights ever was at the Hickman in Gulfport last year. We sold out and the audience was with me all the way. It was a great night and I’m so lucky to have been asked back this March 8th.
Tell us about your upcoming show. What’s new? What should we expect to see?
There are several new stories, but the backbone of the show is similar. The show is done in two 35-40 minute acts with an intermission, some fun music cues, and a lot of shared experiences. And audiences have been diverse – LGBTQ folks and our straight-but-not-narrow allies. Our gay boyfriends love it, too. The best part about this encore performance is that I hope to raise a lot of money for the LGBTQ Resource Center in Gulfport.
What sets you apart from other comedians who cover similar topics?
Well, as one critic said “she’s the last comic sitting.”
I don’t do stand-up, I tell stories, not just jokes. But there are plenty of laughs. And I love the audience response. Come see for yourself on March 8th!
Once again helping to raise money for the LGBTQ Resource Center at Gulfport Public Library, Jacobs will be on stage with her one-woman show STILL Aging Gracelessly: 50 Shades of Fay, based on Jacobs’ four published memoirs, as well as her observations about current events. Tickets for a suggested donation of $20 are available at Gulfport Beach Bazaar (3115 Beach Blvd.) and the Gulfport Casino (5500 Shore Blvd.) or at the door.
The event is presented by the Gulfport Public Library’s LGBTQ Resource Center. The Resource Center provides collections, services and events throughout the year to the local LGBTQ community, its friends and family, and is a project of the non-profit Circle of Friends of the Gulfport Public Library. Find out more about the Resource Center, the Circle of Friends and the Library on the web at www.mygulfport.us/gpl or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GulfportLibraryFL. For more information contact Daniel Hodge at (727) 366-4086 or firstname.lastname@example.org.