Funny on their feet

The Baltimore Sun

Jason Dudey, Erin Foley and Jennie McNulty may be openly gay comedians, and their show may be called Queer On Their Feet, but they insist that "it's not a gay show."

"We all happen to be gay, but have our own acts," McNulty said. "It's the name of our show, but anyone could enjoy it."

Each comedian in the troupe, whose name is the same as that of its tour, will do about 20 minutes of stand-up before all three take the stage for about 40 minutes of improv. There will be games, audience participation and a sense of spontaneity that the comics compare to the show Whose Line is it Anyway?

"We don't know what's going to happen," Dudey said.

Queer On Their Feet comes to the Creative Alliance at the Patterson at 7 p.m. Sunday. The title is a play on the phrase "quick on their feet."

Dudey, 36, returns to his hometown for the performance. After growing up in a planned community in Owings Mills, he later moved to Mount Vernon, where he remembers "getting fired from every restaurant on Charles Street."

"My only plan was to get out," he said. "Who plans that?"

It was during his middle-school years at Franklin, where the movie Cry-Baby was filmed, that he was introduced to Hollywood.

Now a Los Angeles resident, he started performing comedy in 1994 in New York City. His act is very much focused on his family, and more specifically, his mother.

"I loved telling my side of the story: the right side," Dudey said. "No, it's to make people laugh. If people can have a couple minutes of laughter, I've done my job."

Dudey has opened for Judy Gold, Ant and Sandra Bernhardt, and appears on this season of LOGO's Outlaugh Festival on Wisecrack. He was the host and producer for "Gender Bender" at the Hollywood Improv and performs there once a month in "Gays R Us."

"With each of us doing stand-up first, it warms [the audience] up, us up and we can play off of each other's acts," McNulty said.

She recalls working in a research lab before entering the comedy industry, fearing that in 10 years she would end up like a co-worker who was in the midst of a midlife crisis. In addition to touring nationwide and taking part in shows such as the 2007 Toronto Gay and Lesbian Comedy Festival, she plays women's professional tackle football for the California Quake. She has also appeared on LOGO's One Night Stand Up and NBC's Starting Over.

"It's good for people to know we are representing gays," McNulty said. "It's important today. So many people aren't allowed to come out. The more that we can be out and support the cause - people don't realize gay people are everywhere. The more people like us that say, 'It's got nothing to do with this,' the better."

Foley first did improv in college, which turned into years of stand-up in New York City comedy clubs. She performed at the Montreal Comedy Festival in 1999 and 2005, and was recently featured on Comedy Central's Premium Blend. Currently filming an NBC comedy pilot, she also acted in the short film Squeezeplay and played Allison in Almost Famous.

"We have three unique styles, and the improv brings it all together," Foley said.

The group's camaraderie being key, McNulty and Foley look forward to giving Dudey a worthy homecoming. "You can see stand-up or improv, but this is different," McNulty said. "This is three different styles and two shows in one. Erin and I are planning all kinds of things to do to Jason. It's a different show than anything out there."

Queer On Their Feet - An Evening of Stand-Up Comedy and Improv comes to Creative Alliance at the Patterson, 3134 Eastern Ave., at 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $12-$15. Call 410-276-1651 or go to creativealliance.org.

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