THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT Copyright (c) 1996, Landmark Communications, Inc. DATE: Sunday, March 24, 1996 TAG: 9603220088 SECTION: DAILY BREAK PAGE: E9 EDITION: FINAL SOURCE: BY STEVE STONE, STAFF WRITER DATELINE: HOLLYWOOD LENGTH: Medium: 87 lines
Add to your list of one-name stars this entry: ``Ant.''
``My mother had a larvae, not a fetus,'' jokes the 28-year-old comedian, now appearing in ``Unhappily Ever After'' on the WB Network and the syndicated ``Nightstand'' show.
Tuesday night, Ant leads off a spring-long run of seven nationally known gay and lesbian comics at The White House/Private Eyes, a downtown Norfolk nightclub.
Gay comics have performed occasionally in Hampton Roads. But White House/Private Eyes owner Lee Bozeman said he believes this is the first gay and lesbian comedy series ever presented in Virginia.
``We thought it was an opportunity to explore new avenues,'' Bozeman said. ``And it will let us stress the similarities between people - gay and straight - rather than the differences.''
But will queer comedy fly in a Navy region, the home to CBN and the Christian Coalition?
Ant thinks so.
``I like playing those Bible areas,'' he said in an interview at his home last week. ``They are not as repressed as people think.''
Ant, who sees himself as the likely progeny if ``Don Rickles and Paul Lynde had a child,'' said he mostly performs before straight audiences.
``I don't ever tailor my material. I think funny is funny. I tell the same stories to a straight audience and they laugh just as hard as a gay audience.''
He said people approach him after shows to express appreciation and surprise.
``They are like, `I was always taught to hate you people, but after seeing you up on stage I realize that you want the same things out of life that I do. You want a date on a Saturday night. You eventually want to be married. You have the same love of kids. . . '
``It's the neatest thing because you've touched that.''
He hopes that making that connection will sweep away some of the fears and mystery about gay people that many straight people have. And, in the process, make life easier for gays and lesbians.
``If I could prevent one 15-year-old from being gay-bashed because someone has seen me on TV . . . then I've done my job.''
``Will I change the world? Absolutely. I really, really believe it,'' Ant said.
As evidence of that, Ant, who hails from Londonderry, N.H., recalls being invited to speak at his old high school recently.
``I was openly gay and talked about morals and values and I got a standing ovation from 1,400 ninth- through 12th-graders,'' he said.
Comedy helps him personally, too.
``Stand-up, to me, is just a way of escaping. It's cheap therapy,'' Ant said. ``Some people, when they get stressed out, have to go on vacation. Me, I get on stage and vent. And whenever I get upset and vent, people start laughing.''
Some of Ant's attitudes conflict with gay stereotypes. For one thing, he opposes most abortions.
``I'm pro-life. It's just the way I feel,'' Ant said. ``I believe an unborn child should have the right to life. I don't believe a woman should abort a child unless it's an extreme circumstance like rape or the mother's life is in jeopardy.''
He's also active in numerous gay-rights groups, including ACT-UP, the sometimes militant AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power.
Now, if only he could get a date.
``I am 28 years old and I have never had a boyfriend, and I have only been on six dates,'' Ant said. ``Please put a little paragraph in there on how I need a date.''
Here is the schedule of comedians appearing at the White House/ Private Eyes:
Tuesday - Ant.
April 2 - Sabrina Matthews.
April 16 - Steve Moore.
April 30 - Rob Nash.
May 7 - Jaffee Cohen.
May 21 - Scott Silverman.
June 25 - Lynda Montgomery. MEMO: Tickets are $15.95 per person and include a full dinner and show;
show-only tickets are $7. Dinner seating is at 7 p.m.; showtimes are 9
p.m. Seating is limited and advance-ticket purchase is recommended. Call
White House/Private Eyes at 533-9290. ILLUSTRATION: Photo
``My mother had a larvae,'' says one-name comedian Ant. by CNB