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Meet Jackie Monahan and Justin Martindale, two rising stars on the comedy circuit

Editor's note: This is the second in a series profiling the comedy headliners who are performing at the "Laugh Out Loud: A Comics’ Benefit for FilmOut San Diego" on July 9 at the Birch North Park Theater.

SAN DIEGO -- Two hot up-and-coming LGBT comedians will be taking the stage at the Laugh Out Loud Comic’s Benefit for FilmOut San Diego.

Jackie Monahan and Justin Martindale will be performing their side-stich inducing stand-up at the Birch North Park Theater at 8 pm Saturday, July 9.

“Jackie and Justin are the next wave of gay and lesbian comics that are coming to the forefront, not only in L.A. but also in New York and around the country,” said co-producer of the event, Michael Blackwell of Blackwell Black Productions. “They’re both gorgeous, hilariously funny and such good people.”

Monahan and Martindale may be new to you, but they’ve both been on the comedy scene for a few years now.

Martindale has been a regular at The Comedy Store in Los Angeles for the past two years. The owner of The Comedy Store, Mitzi Shore (Pauly Shore’s mom and the woman who played a role in almost every famous comedian’s early career) hand-picked Martindale to be a regular at the store after seeing him perform at an open mic night. She hasn’t done that in 15 years and probably never will again due to her advancing years.

“She’s 82, 85, oh I don’t know, she’s old,” Martindale joked about the chance encounter he had with Shore that led to his career in comedy.

“She’s never at The Comedy Store, I’ve only seen her once in two years,” Martindale said. “I did my set, sat back down with some friends and all of a sudden I was whisked away, it’s one of those ‘you’ve been chosen by the gods’ kind of a moment. They said you’ve just been passed by Mitzi Shore and I had no idea what was going on and I was thinking, who the hell is Mitzi Shore?”

Once Martindale figured out who Mitzi Shore was, his career flourished and he has been preforming around the world with Atlantis Cruises, at the 2010 South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, and last year he hosted the annual Spirit of Hope Awards, which honors leaders in the LGBT community as well as AIDS/HIV researchers.

Martindale’s busy schedule somehow allowed him the time to star in his first film, “The Wishmakers of West Hollywood,” which will be showing at the FilmOut San Diego LGBT film festival in August.

“The movie is about three friends who move to West Hollywood, they’re kind of new to the game and don’t know where they’re going,” Martindale said. “We all make a wish in this wishing well for success and love and dreams to happen, which is very rare in Los Angeles. It was a very personal film because it’s all pretty much improvised; it’s kind of like a mockumentary.”

Martindale also just started starring in a new “webisode” called “What’s Gay Today” on Facebook.

“It’s kind of like ‘Tosh.O’ meets ‘The Soup’ but for the LGBT community. It’s a weekly video, green screen thing where I talk about what’s going on in pop-culture, music and politics and put my own little spin on it,” Martindale said.

Some of the topics to be covered on “What’s Gay Today,” this month are Congressman Anthony Weiner, Lady Gaga and the new Justin Bieber perfume, Someday.

“Someday is definitely a real fragrance, which I think is great because we can spot out pedophiles a lot easier now, because if they’re wearing that, then they’re pedophiles,” Martindale quipped.

Meet Jackie Monahan

Like Martindale, Jackie Monahan doesn’t hold back when it comes to comedy. There is literally nothing that is off-limits when it comes to her act.

“I think you can joke about anything as long as it’s funny,” Monahan said.

Monahan is a comedic gem who is tearing up the country with her infectious brand of dirty, yet lighthearted humor.

She has got a new film out that was a hit at Sundance this year, “Co-Dependent Lesbian Alien Seeks Same.” (See the trailer below.)

“Everybody thinks the movie is sci-fi, but it’s not sci-fi at all. It’s written very much like Woody Allen’s ‘Manhattan,’ we just happen to be aliens,” Monahan said. “And nobody even notices that we’re aliens because we’re in New York, so we just blend right in. I love it because so many movies are about the heartache of being gay and the coming out stories and whatnot, this movie is just fun. It leaves you feeling happy and you laugh throughout the whole movie.”

Acting was not a huge departure for Monahan, considering that she’s a trained actor and an Upright Citizens Brigade improviser. Monahan will be touring the country this summer going to film festivals to promote the film.

When she’s not on the road or at sea with Olivia Cruises, Monahan divides her time between New York and Los Angeles where she is a regular on Maxim’s Sirius Radio. You can also catch Monahan on LOGO’s “One Night Stand,” or on tour with the Curiously Strong Comedians.
When Monahan isn’t on the comedy circuit she likes to unwind with “heavy drinking,” she joked. “I go hiking a lot actually and I’m constantly creating. I keep a flip on me at all times, so I’m always making little videos.”

“I saw Jackie over a year ago and she blew me away,” said Michael Black, the co-partner of Blackwell Black Productions. “She is disarmingly funny. You have no idea where she’s going, the starts out down one path. Then she turns the thought, the comment, the word on you and takes you someplace else entirely different and hilarious.”

Tough row to hoe for LGBT comedians

Monahan and Martindale have had to work hard to fight stereotypes about being out LGBT comedians, so it hasn’t been all champagne wishes and caviar dreams for these two.

“I’ve been told by a lot of people that I’ve taken a gigantic pay cut. But I don’t care, I just have to be me, I’ve hidden who I am for too long and it feels too good to be myself,” Monahan said about her being an out lesbian comic. “I agree that I probably have had a pay cut in the past, but I feel like it’s only going to benefit me in the future being myself, so that’s more important to me than money.”

Martindale said people in the comedy scene were astounded to find out that he was gay.

“People were weirded out by me. People thought I was going to try to sleep with them, I had to tell them ‘everything’s fine, just watch your drink and don’t leave it unattended,’” Martindale joked. “Sometimes announcers would say ‘this next guy’s gay,’ but that’s faded out now.”
Along with the occasional hassle presented by being an out comedian, there’s also a lot of positive feedback from around the world.

“One 17-year-old kid in Ireland actually sent me an email saying that I was one of his role models and that he’d listened to me on a podcast where I explained to my straight friends what it’s like to be gay. He said I was proof that ‘It Gets Better.’ And I thought I should have done an ‘It Gets Better’ ad, but I guess I don’t need one,” Martindale joked. “To have some kid across the pond see this and email me was so surprising though.”

“Kids are getting younger and they’re getting gayer,” he said. “And who didn’t get bullied as a kid? If I can be a big brother to someone and step on some toes, then so be it. I get picked on by drunk people all the time, I just bring it right back to them and put them back in their seats. That’s what stand up late at night will teach you, you’ve got to be true to yourself and stand up for yourself.”

The details

You can catch Jackie Monahan and Justin Martindale as well as Vicki Barbolak and Shawn Pelofsky at the Laugh Out Loud Comic’s Benefit for FilmOut San Diego at the Birch North Park Theater on July 9. Doors open at 7 pm and the show starts at 8. Tickets are $25 with advance purchase and $30 the day of the show. To purchase tickets online, click HERE.

Justin Martindale video


"The Wish Makers Of West Hollywood" trailer


Jackie Monahan live at Comix


"Co-Dependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same" trailer

Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same TRAILER from Codependent Lesbian Space Alien on Vimeo.