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Queer AF looks to build community through comedy at Rochester Fringe


Queer AF Comedy is about making people feel good about themselves and who they love.

Rochesterians Amy Stephens and Sarah Cannon are producing the 18-and-over local comedy showcase, featuring stand-up comedians who are LGBTQ as well as allies, on Sept. 16 and 21 as part of the Rochester Fringe Festival.

Queer AF Comedy prides itself on being a safe space for the LGBTQ community in which everyone feels loved and included. “Especially if you're queer, or you have queer friends, or you're an ally, to our community, we need you, we love you,” Stephens says. “And you're gonna feel good about the comedy because it doesn't make fun of who you are and who you love.” Stephens says the goal of the showcase is to give the underrepresented LGBTQ and ally comedians a platform.

Although there are fewer male-identifying stand-ups performing as part of Queer AF Comedy than female-identifying comedians, Cannon hopes that everyone who attends the show can see a version of themselves represented on stage.

“We're all human, we want to connect on that level, and I think humor is always a way to do that to kind of level the playing field, she says. “And so hopefully, through one or all the performances, people can relate to something that everybody's talking about, and the fact that everybody on the show is queer, or allied just is another layer of diversity.”

Stephens and Cannon want to make Queer AF Comedy a traveling showcase once it receives more recognition. They also plan on launching a podcast later this year.

This story is part of CITY's partnership with the students of S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications' Goldring Arts Journalism program at Syracuse University.