Social Justice Advocates Handbook: A Guide to Gender Understanding

What’s this Show About?

It’s Pronounced Metrosexual is a one-man comedy show about snap judgments, identity, and oppression–funny stuff, right?

IPM was written through the eyes of straight man who is oftentimes perceived to be gay.  It’s real life: true stories collected and sewn together to create a 45-minute show ripe with laughs that leaves the audience thinking.  As Sam tells his story,he creates a visceral metaphor for stereotyping as a form of oppression.  The issues and over-arching themes he discusses can be applied to all groups–it’s not just for ‘primped straight boys.’

It’s an easy, low-budget way to create a high-impact experience for audience members.  All you need is a stage, a stool, a chair, and a microphone.  Sam will do the rest.

Check out this article published in a local paper after Sam performed at Boston College.  It’s a fantastic summary of the show, from an outside perspective.

Frequently Answered Questions

Are you willing to lead a discussion with students or student leaders after the show?

Yes! In fact, I’d love to. It’d bring me back to my roots in orientation and first-year programs. Also, I provide a “discussion guide” packet that you are welcome to use with your student leaders to ensure that the message of the show hits home with your students.

Is it possible to host a Q & A session after the show with the participants?

Yes! The show is designed to run to completion in just under an hour, so a question and answer session afterward would be a perfect way to continue to engage the group.

Can we sell tickets?

Absolutely, at any rate you’d like.  It’s your show to produce.

Do you provide materials to help us promote the show?

I have created a lot of materials that you can (and are encouraged to) use to promote the show. Head over to the Videos and Media Page and you’ll find posters, flyers, and handouts you can print, sample copy (for websites, press releases, etc.), and suggestions for innovative promotional strategies.

Do you have a contract that we’ll need to use?

I have a contract (download here) and rider (download here) that I provide, but I understand that organizations often require use of their own. I’m happy to be flexible and accommodate your organization’s needs.

Read an Old Interview Transcript about the Show (video no longer available)

So what’s the show about?

Snap judgments, stereotypes, and oppression. Funny stuff, yeah?

[Laughs] Yeah. Where’d the idea come from?

All over the place, really. It’s been bouncing around in my head for some time, I just wasn’t able to nail it down. Several years ago, I was part of a diversity ensemble that performed for new student orientation at Purdue University. Among other roles, one of my key monologues was “The Metrosexual Male,” a guy who is straight, but is constantly being assumed gay. It was a hit.

The odd thing about it, though, was that I wasn’t acting. Everything I was saying was true. It was almost like I was just up there talking about me. In many ways, I was.

So that’s where the idea came from?

Kind of, but not entirely. Since my freshman year in college, I’ve been doing stand up comedy. I love it—I love making people laugh—but there was always something missing. Something greater, I guess.

So you thought the play would fill that gap?

Actually, it all happened by accident. I was doing a show one night, and the opener did a homophobic joke. The guy sitting next to me, a fellow comic, nudged me and said, “Sorry, bro, but I had to laugh.” That was the first time the two worlds collided.

I sat down the next evening and started writing what I called “metrosexual” material. I’d never done a joke about it before, and I felt like an idiot. In 15 minutes, I’d written close to 45 minutes of material. Before, I was doing silly jokes and telling stories that I thought were funny, but now I had something to perform that meant something to me.

That night, I did the first ten minutes, and it was the best show I’d done in memory. The crowd really connected with it.

So you found your niche?

Exactly. I was no longer writing jokes, I was telling stories—true stories that meant something. Later that night, jokingly, I commented on Facebook, “If I ever make a comedy CD, I’m going to call it ‘It’s Pronounced Metrosexual,’” based on one of the stories I told. Everyone loved the idea, but at that point it was still an idea.

Over the next few weeks, I did nothing but metro material. In three weeks, I had done close to 90 minutes of original material. And most of it went over really well. It was incredible.

So, the play?

Right. The play. Once I realized I had all of these stories, I also realized how ridiculous it was that I had all these stories. In my head, I was like, “I shouldn’t be able to tell 90 minutes of funny stories about people stereotyping me.” I’ve always been an advocate for social justice, and this is ridiculous. But what could I do?

The play?

The play.

So, how’s it work?

The thing about comedy, all comedy, is that it happens when a pattern is broken. You have a way of thinking about something, then BAM!, you’re thrown off course. For me, with It’s Pronounced Metrosexual, it’s incredibly easy to do that. People are so convinced I’m gay, that just telling them otherwise makes them drop their jaws.

The play is 2/3 message-loaded comedy, and 1/3 just message. The balance between the two keeps it moving forward and engaging.

And people laugh?

Yeah, they crack up. And when they’re off-kilter, they’re a bit more susceptible to a message. I can say things that might otherwise be considered “preachy” and have them eat it up. Humor creates comfort and trust. In a way I manipulate that to get a positive point across.

Sounds unethical [laughs].

Oh, it’s incredibly unethical. Helping people be better humans… there’s nothing okay with that [smiles].