As Darcy Michael has grown more famous, he has toyed with how to represent himself. In his standup routine, Michael liked to convince audiences to like him before the big reveal that he’s a proud husband of a man.
“I always liked not talking about being gay right off the bat, not even to catch people off guard as much as it’s just to show people that would typically tune out right away if they heard I was gay,” the comedian tells the Straight by phone from his Ladner home. “I like seeing that realization on some faces, being like ‘Well, I was liking this guy so why wouldn’t I continue to like him?’ When I first started 10 years ago, I was just, like, ‘I’ll just have to do these undercover jokes for a year or so and then I’ll be famous,’ and now I’m like ‘I’m going to be coming out for the rest of my life.’”
As much as being gay doesn’t define Michael—“I’m funny whether I’m gay or not,” he insists—the “undercover gay” routine is usually still a part of his act, depending on the venue. For instance, he may not feel the need to whip it out in Vancouver, but when he does Pride fundraisers in places like Terrace, B.C., or shows in Whitehorse, where he will visit in November, it usually finds a way into his act.
Though Pride fundraisers have been fewer and further between for Michael in recent years—he’s been busy with his new comedy album, Family Highs, which was released this May, and a sitcom, Darcy, set to film in L.A. next September—he’s cognizant of the role that his status as a queer entertainer holds. After all, he believes he’s only where he is because of those who made it possible for a queer kid from Lynn Valley to believe in himself.
“Everything we do as a community needs to drive us forward towards more equality and more understanding. For me, I always grew up watching other entertainers. I was a big fan of Kids in the Hall and Scott Thompson, Gavin Crawford,” Michael says. “Seeing these other queer male comedians treating it as if it’s no big deal, because it isn’t a big deal, and I think that’s important for the next generation, to see if you’re open and honest with who you are as a performer. People can either buy into it or fuck off and continue to be on the wrong side of history.”
In past years, Michael hosted a Pride fundraiser in Vancouver called The Gayest Show on Earth. He won’t be in the city for Pride this year—he’s filming a Just For Laughs special with Russell Peters in Montreal—but he hopes that we’ll see another incarnation of the fundraiser.
“I just haven’t had the time these last couple years so I haven’t been able to, but that is something that I really hope I can try and start scheduling again, because it was such a blast.”
If he does renew The Gayest Show on Earth, he probably won’t have to pull the “undercover gay” routine. It’s safe to say people will know what they’re getting into.