Prizm News / April 20, 2018 / By Bob Vitale
Poppy Champlin, Brooke Cartus, Karen Williams and Megan Cottington

Poppy Champlin has been touring with other lesbian comics for nine years now.

So these four lesbians walk into a comedy club…

Actually, we’ll leave the jokes to Poppy Champlin, Brooke Cartus, Karen Williams and Megan Cottington, who will be walking into three Ohio Funny Bone clubs in coming days as part of Champlin’s Queer Queens of Qomedy tour.

Champlin is a queer comedy legend, having performed Olivia cruises, opened for Rosie O’Donnell and starred in her own Logo specials. She has organized the Queens tour for nine years now.

Cartus, from Columbus, has been part of the show before but says this time her queendom is official. Her tour will double as a victory lap of sorts, celebrating the April 11 release of her new comedy album, “I Have Straight Friends & Other Confessions.”

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“It’s about my queer identity in the Midwest and how much I love it,” Cartus says.

Champlin, Cartus and Williams will perform in Columbus on Sunday, April 22 at 5 p.m. (tickets here) and in Cincinnati on Wednesday, April 25 at 7:30 p.m. (tickets here).

Cottington will take Williams’ place in Toledo on Tuesday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m. (tickets here).

Williams is from Cleveland, where she founded the International Institute of Humor and Healing Arts, affectionately known as HaHa Institute.

Cottington is a lawyer and mom. A recent Twitter post: “Recently, I held my newborn and cried happy tears … because I was watching ‘Parks and Recreation’ and I love that show so much.”

Prizm had a chance last week to ask Champlin a few questions:

How many Queer Queens shows have you done and with how many different comics? 

I wish I could remember how many comics I have used in my 12 years of productions.  So I am going to guess about 72 shows and about 40 comedians. Hey not bad, thanks for asking.   

I have a show this week and am using two totally new-to me-comedians: one from New York (Kathy Arnold) and one from Boston (Chloe Cuna). Some of the bigger names I have used: Michele Balan, Carol Leifer, Gina Yashere, Karen Williams, Marga Gomez, Jen Kober, Julie Goldman, Dana Goldberg, Erin Foley, Karen Ripley, Vicke Shaw, Zoe Lewis, Jessica Kirson, Jay McBride, Gloria Bigelow, Roxanna Ward, Lisa Koch… 

Why are lesbians so damn funny? 

Well, one theory I have on this and I am speaking for myself… One, we (lesbians) are a minority and minorities have to fight harder to get their fair share. Two, we are women, another minority, so now we have to fight three times as hard to get our fair share, and three, we have relationships with other women, so the emotions are doubled and the pain is incredible so the comedy is amped up to 11. 

But seriously, most of us had to come up through the ranks of the straight man’s world of comedy clubs and we survived that, we became very strong and learned how to be funny, funnier than the next guy.  

Are you a happy person off-stage?   

Wow, trick question. Didn’t see that coming. 

Basically, yes I am. I can fall into a doldrum if I am not working. I am not good with down time. I am a kind a workaholic—but that is better than being the alcoholic that I was. Yes, sober 17 years now. I rebuilt my father’s shack in the woods, and now I live in a palatial shack in the woods. I have a girlfriend, Tammy, who has kids that are demanding a lot of her extra time so I have a part-time full-time girlfriend, which makes me have to grow as a person. That isn’t always fun. But challenging. But yes, I am a happy person. Blessed to have the talent of comedy. 

Who or what makes you laugh? 

I like to watch animals do their silly antics on Facebook or in my yard. My girlfriend makes me laugh; we can get really laughing, like stomach-hurts laughter. That is good stuff. You can skip the gym on those days.   

I teach a comedy class. Those students can get me laughing. I don’t watch too much comedy on TV, because it lessens the areas I can talk about.

But I don’t know, that is good question too. I look at the absurdity of our national politics and have to laugh at Trump’s response to comedy. He is a slime ball. Wow, I’m back in 5th grade. But kinda funny when you think we are careening through space at over 100 million miles per hour and this is the leader’s rhetoric. Hahahaha. Crazy stuff. I am building my bomb shelter.

If Mike Pence came to a Queer Queens show, would he walk out appalled or pee his pants laughing? 

Hahahahahaha. If Mike Pence came to one of my comedy shows, I would walk out appalled.

I would have to ask him to leave because I wouldn’t want to offend him but I wouldn’t want to stifle myself like that and ruin the show. So he would have to go. Security, could you please escort Mr. Tense—I mean Pence—out the door?

He couldn’t handle it. And that would make everyone uncomfortable and we cannot sacrifice the show for one person’s ideology. If he refused to leave, then he would laugh at some of the stuff and be offended by other stuff. Like what if I sang my hit country song parody, “You Can’t Get Fat Eat’n Pussy”?  

That wouldn’t go over very well.   


Bob Vitale
A Toledo native and graduate of Toledo Public Schools, Bob has worked as a local government and politics reporter for The Columbus Dispatch, as a Washington correspondent for Thomson Newspapers and as editor-in-chief for Outlook Ohio. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from Ball State University and a master's degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.