Austin Astoy for Missoulian
Comedian Andy Ioancio’s first attempt at humor on stage came third in a school talent competition when she was nine or 10 in Baltimore, Maryland. A third-place tie, that is, with a girl who performed what she called an “Irish dance”.
The Seattle-based comedian still thinks the judges got it wrong.
“On the East Coast there are Irish dancers everywhere,” said Ewencio. “And I can say that – I’m Irish. I think what really got me into comedy was my dislike of Irish boogie-board.”
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Iwancio has come a long way from Urkel impressions at elementary school talent shows. In the 30 years since, she’s emerged as a transgender woman, brought her comedy to venues across the country and recently recorded her first-ever EP, “hard*trans,” which is due for release later this year. .
Her next stop: The Roxy Theatre, where she’ll appear alongside Missoula comedians Charlie McCorn and Rochelle Cote in a two-hour comedy show designed to kick off the Halloween season.
McCorn — who calls herself a “tragic crucible woman” who uses her pronouns — is a dedicated programming coordinator at The Roxy Theatre, where she produces monthly shows celebrating LGBT creators and media. She said she recognized Ioancio’s talent when she first saw her at the Portland Queer Comedy Festival in 2017.
Even back then, it was like, ‘Holy sh–. “This girl is legit,” McCorn said.
Comedians courting Missoula is not in McCorn’s job description. But when she heard that Ioancio performed at Bozeman earlier this year, McCorn said it wasn’t appropriate to miss Garden City.
For McCorn, bringing Ioancio to Roxy isn’t just about comedy. It’s also part of her ongoing mission to raise voices that have been neglected for years.
McCorn said Missoula’s comedy scene looked a lot different when she first dipped her toe into the action eight years ago — that is, male-dominated. At the time, she said, the Missoula comedy was still “in childhood,” with stand-up shows appearing once a month at the Union Club. But, as the city’s hunger for humor grows, so has the variety of voices making jokes.
Today, McCorn said comedy fans in Missoula can attend four or five shows a week. And she’s no longer one of the only trans comedians in town.
“I think Andy, who is one of the best comedic minds I’ve ever seen, is really capable of connecting,” McCorn said.
Andy sat down with Missoulian to chat about her comedic inspiration, her upcoming musical pregnancy, and what it means to have a “seat at the table.” (This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.)
How would you describe your comedic style?
I think I was quoted as “sarcastic”. This is being very nerdy about it. But it’s cliched – I use a lot of four-letter words to describe 18-word sentences. A lot of me try to distill the things I do with my Pacific Northwest brain and East Coast mouth — trying to combine the two.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I would say that part of that is clearly transgender. In retrospect, I would have been the only trans person on the list. Now, there are a lot of trans comedians, non-binary comedians and comedians who are very gender fluid and all these wonderful different narrative voices.
Now it has to be more about being 40 and also being trans, rather than ‘trans, and me too’ . You try to think about what’s unique to you as a comedian; to talk about your personal experiences. What’s weird about me is “edgy” to me is that I’ve been in a healthy relationship for 20 years.
Tell me about your next EP – it’s called “Saab*Transit”, right?
Yes, it is a joke about me also being a DJ. There is a type of dance music called “hard trance,” so “hard * trans” is a pun. It’s terrible – a good EP, but this intro manipulation is terrible.
The idea of recording all the trans jokes in an EP is that there is no trans tape like a gay tape. So, the internet is our gay bar. The idea of sharing something digitally — an album with trans jokes — is for trans people who view it online rather than see me in person.
What do you think of comedians who make jokes at the expense of transgender people?
People say transgender people can’t joke, but we don’t have a seat at the table to share in the jokes some of these people make. My obsessions are mostly with these huge comedians who feel like they’ve “cancelled”, or whatever. I feel like they still work and have millions of dollars. I don’t think there are enough trans comedians to tell them, “Okay, these are the great trans comedians, and they’d be able to roast them in a Netflix special.”
Are you on track to get a seat at the table?
I’m 40, and I’m taking my lunch break to talk to the Missoula, Montana newspaper, about a show I’ll be doing there in a week. I won’t be at that table anytime, but I hope someone will. I’m not doing this for something huge on Netflix. If that happens, it will be rad.
I think they will be other people, guys, and they will be more understanding. I’m sure it will look different from what I do, and I’m sure they will have a TikTok account. I’m not. TikTok happened when I sat on the social media bench and waved the kids to go have fun. This is when I signed up.