Some improv groups like to leave you guessing about they are about, with odd names like I Eat Pandas or I Live Next Door to Horses.
Not Queer on Their Feet.
You see, they're all gay. And they're, you know, on their feet.
Putting it all out there in the name gives the audience a good idea of what they can look forward to in the show: funny, sharp-witted gay people.
"Our audiences are already open-minded," says Jason Dudey, noting it's usually a mixed audience of gays and straights.
The gay improv and stand-up troupe will be visiting Charleston's Open Door Christian Church. A portion of the proceeds from the show will go to We Are Family, a local gay and lesbian support group.
Queer on Their Feet includes comedians Dudey, who has opened for Ant and Sandra Berhardt and has been seen on the Logo TV special Outlaugh Festival on Wisecrack; Jennie McNulty, a regular at Harrah's Casino in Las Vegas who has also appeared on Logo TV's One Night Stand and hosts weekly interview-style webisodes on the channel's AfterEllen.com blog.
Rounding it out is Diana Yanez, a member of Gay Mafia Comedy Group and a producer of the Outlaugh Festival, who has toured with Margaret Cho and appeared on the True Colors Tour with Cyndi Lauper.
The act begins with a brief round of stand-up from each of the three comedians.
"We do that first so the audience knows who we are," McNulty says.
With introductions over, the audience seems to settle into the improv faster after they've gotten familiar with the players, McNulty says.
Charleston is no stranger to improv acts, with the local comedy house Theatre 99, annual offerings during Piccolo Spoleto Fringe, and the recently-wrapped Charleston Comedy Fest.
But for the uninitiated, improv comedy typically involves actors building a comedy routine out of a suggestions from the audience, usually one word.
"'Dildo' comes up a lot," Dudey says. "We've learned to avoid it at all costs."
That's part of the risk of improv.
"We don't know what's going to happen," he says.
As evidence, he recently played out a skit where he ended up being a masturbating veterinarian. There's also a running gag between the actors in which the ladies try to give Dudey a woman's name when his character is first introduced in a skit.
"It's been a contest to try and beat them to it," he says.
As part of the improv, the group usually tries to do one skit three times — first in 60 seconds, then 30 seconds, and then 15 seconds.
"It's so funny when you actually see us going through the scene again," Yanez says, noting sometimes the actors go for very physical comedy that has to be quickly repeated again ... and again.
As actors and comedians, members of Queer on Their Feet travel a lot, but Dudey says he has no worries when on the road with his castmates and tour manager.
"I'm in a van with three lesbians," Dudley says. "Those ladies can take care of anything."