Phil: Hey, this is Phil aka Corinne.
Alex: And I’m Alex Berg. And you are listening to…
Both: The I’m From Driftwood podcast.
Alex: If you just can’t get enough of I’m From Driftwood, go check out its YouTube channel. The stories have tens of millions of views and over a hundred thousand subscribers and a new story is uploaded every week. You can also browse every story it’s ever published since it launched in 2009. Speaking of stories, let’s get to today’s episode.
Anddy: Hi everyone. This is Anddy, the producer of the I’m From Driftwood podcast. Today’s special episode is a live recording of a comedy event we had at the historic Stonewall Inn in New York City.
Anddy: Stonewall, how you doing tonight? All right, let’s try that again. Stonewall, how you doing tonight? That’s right. Yeah. So my gosh, thank you for coming out. I love all of you right here. We have two spaces in the front. Do not be scared. It is not that type of comedy.
Thank you. Thank you. We are so happy. So thank you all for coming out. This is the I’m From Driftwood live comedy podcast. You’re all excited to be here? Make some noise again. That’s right. Beautiful. Oh, I love it. So, Stonewall, thank you so much for coming out.
My name is Anddy Egan-Thorpe. I am the producer of the I’m From Driftwood podcast. Thank you so much. But I am so excited. I have… First of all, this is the first time that I’ve met Nathan and Damien in person. Tonight. We have done everything remotely. Thank you. Yeah. Make some noise for that. Right? That’s our first time. It’s been such a pleasure to meet you two in person. But I have had the sincere pleasure of the past three seasons of recording this podcast with the two that are sitting to my right. Without further ado, I just want to introduce them. Please give it up for Alex Berg and Phil aka Corinne. Take it away and have a good time.
Phil: What? What is happening here tonight?
Alex: I know. I also just wanted to say, even if I don’t say something funny, you can laugh.
Phil: But she will. She will.
Alex: Thank you.
Phil: She will. Well, first off. It is so awesome to be here tonight. We want to thank Stonewall. We want to say Stonewall, thank you. The folks that are working the bar, the people downstairs checking vax cards, everyone. Management, thank you so much for having us. We are so excited to be here doing this tonight, right?
Alex: Yeah, and one of the reasons it’s a thrill is because we’ve done three seasons of this podcast and until this summer, we’ve recorded it all on Zoom. So we met… What was that year? 2020?
Phil: What was that year?
Alex: Took a little hiatus. And so it really truly feels like such a thrill to actually be in person. It feels a little surreal. And I am just like taking in seeing all of your faces in person.
Phil: Yes, yes, yes. I mean, it’s pretty awesome. I’m pretty awesome. May we kick it off?
Alex: Yeah, we can kick it off. Before we go, I just wanted to let everyone know, if you’re not familiar with I’m From Driftwood, I’m From Driftwood collects the stories of LGBTQ+ people from across the country, from all over the place, from town’s you’ve never heard. One of the reasons that I love I’m From Driftwood so much is because really the stories show that LGBTQ+ people are not a monolith. And on our show, we talk about just every single topic under the sun. So please take a listen to the podcast. Don’t worry. We’ll plug it later.
Phil: Oh, we are going to plug.
Alex: But in the meantime, I just wanted to give you a little intro into what it is. And so with that, shall I kick it off?
Phil: Kick it off.
Alex: Awesome. Well, our first comic is a performer, producer and activist. In 2016, she founded the Summer of Sass, a nonprofit collective freeing young LGBTQ+ adults in damaging religious climates to live, work and thrive in the queer haven of Provincetown, Massachusetts. A warm Driftwood welcome to Kristen Becker.
Kristen Becker: Stonewall, how you doing? My name is Kristen Becker. To understand me, you have to know a couple of things right off the bat. I was born in Buffalo. Really? All right. Okay, I’ll take that. Yeah. Fair enough. And then at the age of 10, my parents moved me to Shreveport, Louisiana. So… Yeah, accurate.
I don’t know why my parents were thinking. Right? It was the mid-eighties and Buffalo, and they were like, “Man, we don’t want our daughter to grow up full of hopelessness and self doubt. Let’s move to Louisiana. Throw a little ignorance into the mix and see what she gets.”
So you give me half my life in the North and half my life in the South, which means I hate myself. But I’m too polite to tell me, so it works out okay. You know what I mean? I wake up in the morning. I look in the mirror, “Go fuck yourself. I mean, if y’all don’t mind.”
People ask me what the biggest difference is between the North and the South, and I’ll tell you, there’s only one difference between the Northern US and the Southern US. And that is a love of Civil War reenactments. We don’t do them up here. And like, we won. And it’s not what you think. Right? Like I thought a civil war reenactment was going to be a couple of guys grooming some burgers, drinking some beers, pissed off because now they have to cut their own grass, but it’s not. Like they go out, they get uniforms and canteens and muskets. It’s 2021. Where do you get a musket from? Right?
So enough of this, guys. Like, “Listen buddy. From Buffalo, okay? I know a thing or two about losing. And every January, I don’t go out and reenact Super Bowl 90, 91, 92, 93… little fucking helmet on. Do I?” And he got mad. He’s like, “You know what, Yankee?” He said, “The South will rise again.” And they say it like that… their little hip snap. And I said, “Well, actually I agree with you there, sir. But what you may not know is that we just had an African American President. We got more members of Congress that are African American than ever before. And the South is about 65% black. So I do think the South is going to rise again. But I don’t think it’s the way you’re playing to that song. Maybe a little less two-step, a little more Cupid Shuffle in your future.”
So… it’s tough though, because when I’m in the South… Like I grew up both half my life in the North and half my life in the South. And so when I’m away, I miss it. Right? Like when I’m up North, I miss gumbo and Southern hospitality and drunk driving. You know? And when I’m in the South, I miss my rights, so… It’s a delicate balance, y’all.
I had a tour called Dykes of Hazard. Thank you. We toured the country in a 1992 GMC Vendor 2500 Cobra. In case you’re not a lesbian, that’s a van. And we called it Clitty Clitty Bang Bang. We were driving through the State of Virginia, and I don’t know if you know about the State of Virginia, but up until 2005 premarital sex was completely illegal in the State of Virginia. Today, anal or oral sex, gay or straight, is a class six felony in the State of Virginia. What happened to Virginia is for lovers? I’m like, “Wasn’t that literally their selling point? We’re entering Virginia, put it in her ass.”
So I asked the guy about it. I was like, “What’s up with the laws of Virginia?” And he’s like, “Well, that’s what West Virginia’s for.” And I was like, “Oh, that makes sense with the no teeth. Right?” Like, I don’t know.
If you’re not sure I’m a lesbian somehow, that’s all you can tell. When I mock a blow job, I punch myself in the face. Lesbians don’t do blow jobs. No matter how drunk you get us. We do hand jobs. That’s how we get through prom night. Right, ladies? Come on. When I was in high school, I was like, “I’ll do two of you. Just don’t put it in my mouth area.” That’s why we’re so good at fast pitch. So… so far.
You guys have been great. My name’s Kristen Becker. Thank you. Thank you so much.
Alex: Everybody give it up again for Kristen Becker.
Kristen: Thank you.
Alex: Thank you so much.
Phil: Next is a standup comedian and writer based out of Boston. Please put your hands together for Kendra Dawsey.
Kendra Dawsey: Hi everyone. Oh my God. Hi. What a great looking audience. That looks great. Hell yeah. So I know we were in a pandemic for a while. We’re all still getting used to being out here. And like, I don’t know if people are wondering how they perceive others, if it’s still on the mark. But if you’re looking at me and thinking maybe they’re Sicilian, you would be wrong. I am not Sicilian. I am Black. But if you looked at me and thought that’s a dyke, you would be correct. You definitely would be. Yes, I am a lesbian. One thing I like to say is I like my men like I like my coffee… I avoid it because it gives me lots of anxiety.
Yeah. And I also feel like if anyone dresses like Black Napoleon Dynamite, no matter what their gender is, they’re probably gay. So if I was gay, I’m there. I used to have fro. That joke would like work a little bit better. Anyway.
No, I really thought about how I was perceived a little bit in the pandemic. I was like, “Oh, I think I want to change myself.” And I’ve decided the way I want people to see me is like, when I’m walking by, I want people to think, “Why does that man have such a feminine voice and such a nice ass?” Like that? That is my sweet spot. That is my sweet spot.
Yeah. I came out. I was using they/them in the pandemic. I came out as a thembo because I think stupid nonbinary people need more representation. Okay? I am nonbinary and extremely confused at all times. Extremely confused. Yeah. I also realized during the pandemic that I’m a… just by being nonbinary, I’m a little bit of a fuckboy. A little bit. Well, okay. All right. All right. Yeah. I… Thank you. One person is like, “It’s okay.” I am working on it. I’m working to get better, not worse. That’s what I mean.
Yeah, once I was talking to my therapist and I said, “Oh, the friend of someone I’m sleeping with said that they think that I’m a fuckboy.” And my therapist is like, “What do you mean, fuckboy?” So I literally went to Merriam-Webster dictionary and I was like, “Oh, like a fuckboy, this, this, this, this,” and my therapist was like, “Yeah, you do some of those things. You have some of those traits.” We were working on my self-esteem by the way. She was like, “I can see how you’re a little bit of a fuckboy.” But… I swear I’m not though. I swear I’m not. I’m just like an average person, like every other lesbian.
Since I am a lesbian, I’m in the middle of a cat custody dispute. Drawn out cat custody disputes. So, I moved to Boston with my ex-girlfriend. She convinced me to move to Boston, despite the fact that I’m a Black lesbian with no interest in sports. We moved there together and we got a cat together, which is the saddest part. Right? And like, she has the cat now. I’m Black. My ex-girlfriend was white. I’m pretty sure she still is. We haven’t kept in touch. But we got a gray cat so the cat would look like both of us. You know? It’s very important.
But now, my ex has sole custody of the cat in Northampton, by the way, because my life is a parody. And I’m worried that the cat’s hair is never going to look layered, because you know how white women are with their biracial kids’ hair. You know? It’s like, you need to bring the cat over to my side of the family, so we could get some cornrows in her hair. You know? Got to look nice.
But yeah, we broke up right before the pandemic. I’m great at timing. And there was a while where we had to grieve that my ex would move out and come back later to get the cat when she was in a better space. So I was just kind of hanging out in the apartment with the cat. And one day, a few weeks into the pandemic, the cat was going to different places and just going like this back and forth. It was like a gentle twerking, but obviously it didn’t come from my side of the family, because my side of the family knows how to throw it back. The cat was kind of gently twerking and I was like, “Oh, she’s okay.” And she’s just doing something silly. And then I looked up that little dance online. That dance meant that she wanted to get railed. All right? The cat was feeling submissive and breedable and she wanted to let everyone know… I’m running out of time so I can’t go through all my horny cat jokes, but I have more. Okay?
But I did find a solution, even though none of the vets were open, because this was right in the beginning of the pandemic. I did find a solution. There are two albums of music for cats… Any cat people here? They’re on Spotify. Some dude was just like, “I wonder what cats would listen to on their morning commutes,” and made albums. So I would play that. My cat would calm down and stop yelling. I was able to sleep and I kind of forgot about this period of my life until December 2020, when Spotify was like, “Here’s your top 10 most-listened to songs over the past year.” And song number three was a dehornifying cat banger that I played so much, to make my cat not be horny… And I know everyone calls the pandemic unprecedented, but if you had gone back in time and told me there’s going to be an airborne pandemic and one of the consequences is your cat will get so horny she’ll change your Spotify recommendations forever, I would not have expected it.
All right. Thank you everyone. That’s our time.
Phil: Kendra Dawson.
Kendra: Thank you so much.
Alex: All right, y’all. Our final comic is a writer for Netflix Kids as well as the viral sensation with over four million likes on TikTok. Please welcome to the stage the hysterical Gus Constantellis.
Gus Constantellis: What’s up guys? How’s it going? Gay man here. Anyone else gay? All right. When I came out to my dad, he just said, “Yeah, no shit.” In fact, my dad’s a Greek immigrant. He has this cute little Greek accent. My dad planned a trip for me and him to go to The Bahamas when I was 16, just so I can come out of the closet to him, which is… Okay, no one fucking awed at that? Are you kidding me? All of you are that traumatized? Jesus fucking Christ.
It was so sweet. And I did not see the signs while I was there. My dad was trying so hard. The first night we got to the hotel pool, he orders a cocktail. He turns to me and he goes, “I had a very dark childhood growing up in Greece. What about you?” And then we got to the hotel room and he started playing Golden Girls. And he was like, “This is a very good show, eh?” And then the second night he wanted to go clubbing. And I asked the concierge for a club to go to, and the concierge sent me and my dad to a gay bar because he thought my dad was my sugar daddy. So it was a weird night, everybody. We walked in. Vogue by Madonna was on. My dad was just like, “Greta Garbo and Monroe, Dietrich and DiMaggio.”
I didn’t come out to my dad until four years after that trip. But the whole time I was in The Bahamas, I was like, “Is my dad gay? Checks out?” Coming out to my mom was very different.. Because my mom doesn’t speak any English? After 38 years in America, doesn’t speak any English. That’s brave. I’m just going to say that. Okay. That’s real bravery right there. The only things my mom knows how to say in English are “Hello, how are you?” and “fuck you.” That’s it. It’s all you need.
We got into a car accident. We got rear-ended by this dude one time and my mom was pissed. She got out of the car, she started screaming at this driver. She was like, “Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you. How are you?” What the fuck? My mom is an immigrant. She’s still in her green card, but she’ll be like, “Yeah, [Greek].” which literally translate to, “These damn Mexicans, they come to this country and they steal all our jobs,” and I’m like, “Mom, you can’t even say that in English.”
And when I came out to my mom, she said, “You don’t cook or clean. How can you be gay?” And I was like, “I’m a top. Okay?” It’s not true. It’s not true. It’s not true. Come on. This dude looked at me like, “Okay.” I’m vers.
But having a non-English speaking parent, an immigrant parent, it’s difficult. You learn a lot at a very young age and making clothing returns with my mom was always the worst growing up, because this is what it’s like making a clothing return with a non-English speaking immigrant parent. All right? You get to the register of Macy’s or Centuries. And my mom is just like, “[Greek],” and I’m just like, “She just wants to return this dress.” “[Greek].” And I’m like, “I think a button is missing.” “[Greek].” “Store credit would be great.” And meanwhile, I am six years old. Okay? I just want to go home and watch SpongeBob. That’s too much.
And I grew up in New York. I grew up in New York, in Brooklyn. Any native New Yorkers here? Oh good. Wow. Okay. Great. I’m glad. Usually two people clap and I’m like, “There goes the fucking neighborhood.” Okay? But growing up in New York, and New Yorkers, even if you’ve been here for a long time, we have such a bad reputation for being assholes, and we’re not assholes. New Yorkers are not assholes. We are the nicest… assholes. That’s the truth. And I’ll prove it to you. All right? How many times are you walking in New York city, someone taps you on the shoulder and they’re like, “Your bag’s open. You fucking idiot.” That’s helpful, okay?
I was on the subway once. I was on the subway. I’m five foot two. I’m a very small man. Okay? Very tiny man. I was on the subway. The doors opened. It was my stop. I had to get off. Everyone was so tall. They couldn’t see me struggling to get through them. I’m Lady Gaga’s height. Okay? It is what it is. I’m struggling to get through them. And then all of a sudden this one very tall woman sees me struggling to get off the train. And she just goes, “You better let the little short dude get off, bitch. He’s fucking tiny, okay? He’s somewhere between 12 and 30 years old. I can’t tell. His hairline’s receding. We’ve got an unaccompanied minor with a receding hairline on our train.” I finally got off. I was like, “Thank you,” and she was like, “You got it, little man.” That was helpful. Understand?
All right, that’s been my time. Thank you guys so much.
Alex: Give it up for Gus. Well, that was our last comic, which means it’s almost time to say goodbye. But before we do, for our final word, I’d like to introduce to the stage I’m From Driftwood’s founder and executive director, give it up for Nathan Manske.
Nathan: I wrote my remarks and I forgot to think about that I’m following three comedians and this is really rough for me. So I’m not going to say anything funny. I’m just going to talk a little bit about I’m From Driftwood and then say thank you to everyone who made this even possible. So first of all, thank all of you for coming out tonight. This is I’m From Driftwood’s first in-person event since COVID. It’s been almost two years. So it really feels just amazing…
And a funny thing, we talked about this earlier, two years ago, we had a holiday event and that was when Phil and I met. And then this is the next time that we’ve seen each other in person. So they’ve produced three… And Alex too, but we’ve seen each other more before then, but it’s just… it feels great to be here with such a great turnout. So thank you all for coming out tonight.
And a little bit about I’m From Driftwood. We have been collecting and sharing first person, LGBTQIA+ video stories for almost 13 years. It’ll be 13 years in March. And over those years I’ve learned that the power of storytelling has literally saved lives. This is based on feedback and comments that we’ve personally received. It’s empowered people to live openly and authentically, and it’s educated people about the lives and experiences that are different than their own. And ultimately it’s helped create a more understanding and empathetic world. That’s why we’re doing this. That’s why we’re all here tonight. That’s why we’ve got a podcast. We’re just really trying to reach as many people as possible for these true first-person queer and trans experiences. And I know that there’s a hunger for these stories because our YouTube channel alone as over 121,000 subscribers and over 35 million views from around the world.
And none of it would be possible without a bunch of supporters along the way. So for this event in particular, I wanted to give a big, big thank you to Tito’s Handmade Vodka for sponsoring the event and some delicious cocktails that y’all are having. Melissa Driscol and Chauncey Dandridge and the wonderful staff here at Stonewall, thank you all so much for doing this. Damien Mittlefehldt is the director of all of I’m From Driftwood’s programs. He’s here tonight. Thank you, Damien. Anddy Egan-Thorpe, of course, the amazing producer of the podcast itself and this event. And Phil and Alex are incredible hosts for three seasons now. And Kristen and Kendra and Gus for sharing their stories tonight and for entertaining all of us. Thank you so much. Our incredible board of directors and staff and volunteers, thank you.
And finally, this event, this one’s scripted, but it’s important. All right? Finally, this event and the podcast itself are supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City council. Yes. Additional funding is provided by a Humanities New York SHARP grant with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Federal American Rescue Plan Act. You should see their logos. It looks like super legit. It has the eagle on it and… Wow, they’re like, “Please use our logos.” We will. We will. Trust me.
And if anyone is so inclined and able to come say hello to me after this, tell me that you want to make a donation and I will walk you through those steps. We’ve been around for 13 years because of a lot of small donations. We’re a very small team, but we’ve been doing this for 13 years because of people like you and all of our sponsors. So thanks again. I hope you all have a great rest of your evening. Thank you.
Phil: The I’m From Driftwood podcast is hosted by Phil aka Corinne.
Alex: And Alex Berg, and is produced by Anddy Egan-Thorpe. It’s recorded as a program of I’m From Driftwood, the LGBTQAI+ story archive.
Phil: Its mission is to send a life-saving message to queer and trans people everywhere. You are not alone.
Alex: I’m From Driftwood’s founder and executive director is Nathan Manske. Its program director is Damien Mittlefehldt.
Phil: Our score is provided by Elevate Audio.
Alex: The stories you heard today are available in their entirety plus thousands more at imfromdriftwood.org.
Phil: You can also follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.
Alex: Or subscribe to our podcast wherever you get your podcasts.
Phil: This program is supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
Alex: In partnership with the City Council.
Phil: Additional funding is provided by the Humanities New York SHARP grant with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Federal American Rescue Plan Act.
Alex: Thanks for listening, y’all.