From Showtime’s’ Pride the Gay and Lesbian Comedy Slam, Poppy Champlin has been knocking ‘em out with the funny for 25 years. She has appeared on Comedy Central, A&E, HBO, Oprah and was crowned America’s Funniest Woman on the Joan Rivers Show.
On December 8, Champlin brings her rip-roaringly funny Queer Queens of Qomedy tour to the Tampa Improv.
Headlining the Tour is LGBTQ comedy favorite Vickie Shaw, who has appeared on Comedy Central and LOGO and is a favorite on Olivia Cruises. And the third Queen to rule this stage is Jennie McNulty. Jennie has appeared on LOGO’s One Night Stand Up, and was just featured in the film Freelancers Anonymous. The show also features special guest local comic, LG Grey.
This Tampa Improv show is sponsored by Sarasota Pride and Sapphire Books, the gem in lesbian publishing. If you want to laugh till your sides, face and eyes ache, come watch the Queens put on a Royal Comedy Show.
OUTCOAST caught up with Champlin to pry into her life as a New Englander, comedian and future author? Find out what’s poppin’ with Champlin and her upcoming Q3 Show!
Tell us about your name Poppy. I love it! How did you come to be known as Poppy?
My name is Poppy cause my parents were Heroin addicts. My brothers name is Opie. Aunt acid, Uncle bud? No really – My aunt’s name was Patricia and her nickname Patty, but she said Poppy and then they all called her Poppy and then they named me Poppy.
So I hear you’re from New England. Brrr…. As a Floridian all I can think about is cold weather. So tell us a bit about your upbringing and what led you to comedy?
I am from Rhode Island and it IS cold here. I grew up here. It’s very country. I’m a swamp Yankee, you might say. But I am a Mayflower descendent and my great-great-great Uncle was the first mayor of Providence, RI.
Very cool! When was the last time you performed in St Pete? What draws you back to this area?
I was in Gulfport last year at the Hickman Theatre. I am also a part of the comedy chain the Funnybones and he books the Tampa Improv.
You’ve been all over the world and had so many cool experiences. Do any stand out as your favorites?
When I see the news I love saying out loud, “I was there! Turkey – I was there! Russia – I was there! Korea – I was there! My favorite is probably the warmer places – Belize, Caribbean, Tahiti where I can enjoy the water and snorkeling.”
Out of all of the cities in which you’ve performed, do you have a favorite city that you keep going back to? Why?
I like to go back to the cities that have been successful and I strive to create new cities to be successful in. I’m hoping Tampa is going to be one of those new cities. A few of my favorites now are Baltimore, San Antonio, Columbus, Hartford, San Diego and Chicago.
When you’re not making people laugh, what are you doing?
I am promoting the next show. But when not promoting and performing, I am now taking care of my mother. She is getting to the place where she needs help.
I’m sorry to hear that. If the timing was right, would you ever consider a move down south? Afterall, St Pete is like the P-Town of the south.
Every time I come to Florida I do think about moving there. And perhaps that will happen after you know…
Tell us about the show coming up. How did you come up with this idea? And how did you pull in the right people for the show?
I always try to bring in three headliner comics. Jennie is popular in Tampa and has a fan base and a mother who lives there, so it is a good fit for her. Vickie, I think, is a good fit for Florida and has a good fan base there as well. She also isn’t too far away — well Texas is kinda far, but it is still the South.
Is every show the same?
No show is ever the same! It’s always different comics, different time, different material. The only constant is ME.
What’s your favorite thing about stand-up? Aside from being asked this redundant media question… LOL
It is such a challenge. It is like figuring out a Rubik’s cube every time. The material, the promotional avenues to explore, the money aspect, the hotels, the cars, the air — there are so many moving parts to commandeer.
Following your trip to St Pete, where are you headed?
The next one is Springfield, MA with a comics comedy club. She is opening a club called OMG comedy club and I booked two lesbian N Y comics who are married – so cool: Jess Soloman and Eman El-Hussieni. The show is Dec 18th.
What is it like touring with two other comedians? Does your mouth ever hurt from smiling too much?
You’d be surprised. It is a joy to see each other in the green room and at the meet and greet and out to the dinner after the show. And then it is over — it all happens so fast. It takes months to get it together and it is over way too fast.
What do people need to know about this show? Why should they come see it?
This is a triple threat show with really high end comics. You don’t get that anywhere except on the Olivia cruise ships and/or the festivals, so it is special and potent and, like lightening, it never strikes in the same place twice. Like magic! And we also have a local special guest spot, LG Grey.
What is your dream gig? Or have you already had it?
My dream gig is any audience hitting the 1000 number. I totally love playing to huge crowds ’cause when I get that laughter, it is a roar and it makes me cry almost. I thrive in it!
What’s your next big project?
My next big project —well I keep threatening to write a book. I really want to and have no reason to not start, but I might decide to [get into other trouble instead.]
You’ve been doing comedy for a while now. What keeps you motivated to keep at it?
Money. I have to pay my bills and I have a line of equity to pay and I don’t have a pension. And once I do it, I love it!! I do love making people laugh.
Tickets are $30 for General admission and $45 for VIP, which includes preferred seating and a meet and greet with the comedians before the show. Showtime
4:00 PM. Tampa Improv 1600 East 8thAve C-112 Tampa Florida. 33605