Adam Sank: Live from the Stonewall Inn,
"Just like Jesus" (but funnier)
by Drew Rowsome
After a long day of family Christmas celebrations and tongue-biting, what could be better than to spend an hour in a one-sided conversation with a particularly witty single gay man? To that end, Adam Sank is releasing his comedy album Live from the Stonewall Inn on Christmas Day. As he says: "Just like Jesus."
Sank's humour is observational, self-deprecating and very, very gay. Despite a plethora of gay comics, including the great Richard Ryder, there is still something refreshing about a comic being introduced by a drag queen with a pink flamingo on her head: this will pertain to our lives instead of just the heterosexual masses. That Sank's recording takes place at the historic Stonewall Inn could be seen as a confrontational act but he quickly sets that, for lack of a better word, straight.
Welcome to the Stonewall Inn. I don't want to tout my own horn but tonight I sold out one of the smallest performance spaces in all of New York City. And I don't even know you people. You're all complete strangers. Not including the 30 or 40 who have been inside me. And I never learned your names either.
Activism deflated (though Sank later gleefully vivisects a young gay with no historical knowledge or perspective), Sank's then wanders through the foibles, joys and annoyances of a certain strata of gay life. He skewers bachelorette parties at gay bars, gay student unions, Gay Day at Disney World, gay marriage, the fashion choices of gay couples, the appeal of straight men, social media (particularly "pick-up apps"), dirty talk and grammar, lesbians, his dog, pubic hair, the fragrance of balls, ageism, penis size and shape, etc, etc. All the things we talk about on a daily basis, just not quite as amusingly.
Sank also grapples with political correctness, a tricky task when one is commenting on and exploiting gay stereotypes. What would be offensive in a joke by a straight man, is hilarious coming from a gay man, but that creates problems when Sank ventures into borderline derogatory gags about other minorities. He always pulls himself out of the line of fire and has a reason, and the addition of a bit of edge doesn't hurt.
Of course the concept of edginess is different for everyone. Sank is, probably a fairly consistent gay male trait, sex-obsessed. At The Stonewall Inn, it feels comfortable and family-friendly, but Sank peppers his tales with asides, "Straight people can google that" and "Thanks for getting that, pervs." It is a reminder of why we need gay comics, gay everything, to keep the revolution that began at The Stonewall Inn alive and remembered - to remind us that being a specifically gay anything is still only a heartbeat, a nervous laugh, away from outsider status.
Live from the Stonewall Inn is a festive and warm Christmas gift. And a delightfully gay one.
More on Adam Sank, and links to purchase Live from the Stonewall Inn, at adamsank.com.
As a sample of Sank's style, though sadly Live from the Stonewall Inn doesn't take advantage of Sank's vocal prowess (he is a member of the New York City's Gay Men's Chorus), here is an excerpt from a previous production: Mama, I Want to Sing Showtunes. Like Live from the Stonewall Inn, it is a subtle, humorous and effective "It Gets Better" public service announcement disguised as sheer entertainment.