Friday, November 3rd, may have seen the the largest concentration ever of Kansas City’s gay, lesbian, and straight people in the same place. It was the Eighth Annual HRC Awards Comedy Night at The Pearl Gallery. All that was missing were Klieg lights and a police barricade to hold back the paparazzi as the lower level filled to capacity with a dressed-to-kill congregation of GLBT’s milling for pre-show cocktails and check-me-outs.
But there were awards to be handed out and, thankfully they were not the long-drawn-out spectacle we witness every year at the Oscars in Hollywood. Just before 10:00 pm the third level was opened to welcome revelers and recipients to the large and well laid out room where the evening’s recipients of honors for outstanding work on behalf of the Kansas City chapter of The Human Rights Campaign were acknowledged, lauded, and applauded. Among them was then-political candidate Jolie Justus. Her popularity and support was evident from the standing ovation she received after being introduced by Emcee Angela Rizzo; there was a second after she finished her very funny speech, which caused Rizzo to quip, “Didn’t anyone tell her it’s my job to warm up the audience?”
Moving on, “Vickie Shaw is to comedy what Mary Kay is to cosmetics,” the program declared, “they’re both cheap and look good in the dark.” That ain’t necessarily so. Vickie Shaw is a deliciously funny comedienne with an uncommon perception of the human condition. A mother of grown children herself, she thinks children around age 13 should be placed in a hole until they reach 16—at which time the hole should be closed. She seens as normal as blueberry pie, a bright blue-eyed blonde with a comely appearance, satin complexionm and winning smile that could disarm Osama Bin Laden. You wouldn’t think twice about accepting an invitation to join her for tea and home-baked cookies. Then, out of her mouth come outrageously funny observations on the entire spectrum of humanity, the kind that make you think, “I’ve never thought of it that way before.” Her running dialogue is sharp as a razor and it’s delivered with cunning deftness and punch lines that strike directly at the marrow of your funny bone. Her delivery is precise as a stealth bomber and the laughs come endlessly, so fast you wonder when she’s going to run out of material.
Anything and everyone is fodder for her ironic acceptance of things she finds unpleasant, twisted, or undesirable. She is the epitome of a suburban Chicago housewife; a comedic Doris Day filled with unsparing observations about herself, her world, and the state of things today – especially if you happen to be lesbian or gay.
If I had to make a critical remark about her performance it would be that she chose to use a hokey Midwestern/Southern accent instead of her perfectly fine normal speaking voice, something I thought detracted from the show. Next time around, Vickie, drop the accent and use the voice we’re used to hearing from your numerous appearances on Comedy Central, WE TV, and LOGO.
But I doubt anyone in the audience cared. Vickie took charge of the stage and kept her fans laughing hysterically from beginning to end. Faces were creased with laugh lines and people massaged their sides, aching from laughter. When Vickie suddenly thanked everyone for coming and quickly departed, she left behind a satiated audience who gave her a well-deserved standing ovation.
There is no doubt that Vickie Shaw is a sensation wherever she goes. Her latest award-winning film is Laughing Matters … More! and can be found through her website at www.vickieshaw.com.
We have to thank whoever it was on the Event Committee of the Human Rights Campaign who thought of bringing Vickie Shaw to Kansas City. We have to thank the HRC in general in any case. The HRC is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support, and educates the public to ensure that GLBT Americans can be open, honest, and safe at home, at work, and in the community. To learn more log on to: www.hrc.org.
Me? I’m already saving up for a ringside table and marking my calendar for the Ninth HRC Comedy Night!

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