Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-06-08
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Shawn Banks finds a new home in the Windy City
by Jerry Nunn
2022-03-07

This article shared 901 times since Mon Mar 7, 2022
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Chicago-based stand-up comedian Shawn Banks is making an appearance at the World Comedy Expo. This talented performer is sure to have audiences rolling in the aisles with some quick banter and hot takes on life at the Laugh Factory on March 25.

Banks is originally from the Washington metropolitan area before moving to the Windy City to pursue a career in comedy. Identifying as gender nonbinary and currently using he/she/them pronouns, Banks is one of 20 LGBTQ+ artists at the Expo this year.

Windy City Times: Are you from Clinton, Maryland?

Shawn Banks: Technically, I was born in the southeast side of Washington, D.C. I lived there until I was 6 years old, when I moved with my family to Clinton. I lived there until I went to college.

WCT: When did you arrive in Chicago?

SB: I landed here in March 2020. I did comedy in D.C. for a year but wanted to pursue it in a bigger city so moved to Chicago.

WCT: What were the challenges of a comedy career during the pandemic?

SB: I didn't perform at all in 2020, other than online shows. That was a challenge because this is reactionary entertainment. Comedians thrive off of people and when it is on a computer it dehumanizes it. Comedy is about connecting with other people and that aspect was lost.

When vaccines were rolling out and we could finally perform in person, it was still challenging because people weren't comfortable going out. There was an element of danger to be in an enclosed space with strangers. As time went on it was a lot easier!

WCT: How do you describe your comedic style?

SB: It is equal parts sassy and stupid. I am a relatable homegirl just talking about my life. I talk about what I see in the world and what interests me. My point of view is always really gay and Black! [laughs] Those are the two things that I like.

My comedy is a love letter to Black women because I was raised by a single mother. I was always around strong women growing up. Luenell, Mo'Nique and Wanda Sykes were comedians that I have watched over the years. When I would see them walk on the stage I wanted to be them!

It didn't make sense until I came out as gay in high school as to why I connected with these women. RuPaul was another one that watched when I was young on Drag Race. A Black man who becomes a Black woman inspired me and my sense of humor.

WCT: I saw on a past video of yours that you predicted Symone to be the winner of Drag Race season 13 way before other people.

SB: The minute she walked into the room I just knew it. I did a fantasy league with some of my friends when that season was airing and I won!

WCT: Is Symone your favorite from Drag Race?

SB: No, Bob the Drag Queen is. Bob is such an activist for queer, non-binary and trans people.

WCT: Speaking of activists, are you able to add activism into the material of your stand-up act?

SB: Yes. If you are not a white, cisgender male in any field then you go in with a disadvantage and it is the same in stand-up comedy. When I first started I felt pressure to be the stereotype of what people thought I should be. Some people think Black, queer people are all sassy and quick. It is because we have only been shown as a hairdresser on the Real Housewives of Atlanta or the funny friend in a movie. Those things are facets of who I am, but not all of who I am as a person.

Stereotyping is common in the field and people like to pigeonhole artists. I was doing a show in Washington and the comedian after my set said there were no Black, gay comedians, but he was wrong, there are many like Jaboukie Young-White, Solomon Georgio and Dwayne Perkins. They are doing well out in the comedy world and are just simply not known because they don't fit the norm of what a gay, Black person would be. I want to go out and show people there is not one specific way that Black, queer people behave, not just with Black people, but any queer person of color.

I go onstage and I am my authentic self. That is activism and will sometimes shock people. Both on and offstage I show people that I am more than a preconceived notion. There is a lot more to me and other queer, POC performers.

WCT: So what happens if you were performing comedy in a room full of straight football players?

SB: Already with me being Black I know how to talk around white people and being gay I know how to talk around straight people. I realized a long time ago that I wouldn't always be in a room with people like me. My mother once said, "You are going to have to be twice as good to get half as much as other people." She was talking about being Black, but being gay on top of that adds another layer to the experience.

People who have felt oppression on some level understand what it is like to speak with anyone. I can't say the same for a lot of my white friends. A lot of my white friends don't know how to speak in a room full of Black people or go to a neighborhood that is not predominantly white and still feel comfortable. It is because they don't really have to.

At a young age, I learned how to "grace the room" as I say. Clinton was more of a poor neighborhood in Maryland, but not a bad neighborhood. I then had the juxtaposition of going to a private university in Arlington, Virginia, which was the complete opposite of my high school experience. I shifted from being surrounded by people of color to a 98 percent white school and that taught me to be around all types of people. I have a lot of straight friends. I feel like an ally! [laughs]

At the end of the day, regardless of your gender, sexuality or pronouns are, we are all people. We just want to connect with others and be respectful towards each other. I just want to get to know people, now if someone proves they are the stereotype then we will go from there. I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt!

WCT: For the World Comedy Expo your set is at 11 p.m. How do you stay awake?

SB: I have done late shows before and I usually have a fair amount of caffeine throughout the day. I also have natural ADHD so that keeps me up and going!

I like going on later because people have already enjoyed their night and are less apprehensive about what they will see. Hopefully, people have had dinner and some drinks, so they are ready to have fun. I am excited about it!

WCT: Do you have anything already planned to talk about during your set?

SB: I plan on talking about recreational substances and my personal experiences.

I am single now and was in a toxic relationship in the summer of 2021. I have had a lot of time to discover myself and who I am as a person. I have gotten into the idea of polyamory so will be talking about that. I am a lot more open to the world!

WCT: Sounds like you are going to continue to push the envelope and not hold back with your stand-up routine.

SB: Definitely! Especially after last year and taking on emotional baggage that I can finally drop figuratively and literally. I have learned a lot!

Visit WorldComedyExpo.com for tickets to the show and listen to Banks on their podcast cohosted with best friend Fernando Fernandez called Ish Please!


This article shared 901 times since Mon Mar 7, 2022
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

THEATER Theo Ubique hosting production about Elizabeth Taylor 2022-06-29
- Evanston's Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre, 721 Howard St., will run Call Me Elizabeth—an acclaimed one-woman show about the early life of Elizabeth Taylor—on Aug. 20 (at 7:30 p.m.) and 21 (at 2:30 p.m.) only. The production ...


Gay News

Production based on Larry Kramer speech at Center on July 22-31 2022-06-28
- Open Space Arts announced its inaugural production of The Kramer Project, directed and adapted by David Zak from activist Larry Kramer's watershed speech "The Tragedy of Today's Gays." This will be the first production for Open ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Elliot Page, NPH, Madonna, Chita Rivera, Jennifer Lopez 2022-06-26
- Elliot Page talked with talk-show host Seth Meyers about how her Netflix show The Umbrella Academy incorporated the actor's own personal transition into season three of the series, Deadline noted. "With Steve Blackman, the showrunner of ...


Gay News

Writers Theatre's 2022-23 season to include 'Tiger Style!,' 'Once' and other productions 2022-06-21
-- From a press release - Glencoe, IL—Writers Theatre Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma and Interim Artistic Director Bobby Kennedy announce the company's 2022/23 four-play season, to include Mike Lew's Tiger Style!, directed by Brian Balcom; ...


Gay News

Goodman Theatre running musical 'Life After' through July 17 2022-06-20
- Goodman Theatre is running the musical Life After through Sunday, July 17. With humor and wit, this "luminous new musical…lush, poetic and surprisingly funny" (The San Diego Union-Tribune) explores how people move through and live with ...


Gay News

Billy Masters 2022-06-20
- "u don't know my alphabet."—Sexy Lukas Gage (from The White Lotus; Love, Victor; and the rebooted Queer as Folk) tweets his response to criticism that Hollywood shouldn't hire him to play LGBTQIA+ roles. When asked to ...


Gay News

WORLD Pride disruption, trans journalists, Tunisian play, marriage bills 2022-06-19
- Turkish police officers carrying clear-plastic riot shields, wielding batons and deploying pepper powder balls as well as tear gas violently broke up a Pride parade that Middle East Technical University students organized in the capital of ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Lightyear,' celebrity event, LGBT runner, Mariah Carey 2022-06-19
Video below - Pixar's latest film Lightyear is hitting theaters, and it has a special moment for gay fans—a same-sex kiss between the character Hawthorne (voiced by Uzo Aduba) and her female partner—that almost didn't happen, Out Magazine note ...


Gay News

Steep Theatre's race-centered 'Paris' running June 17-July 23 2022-06-17
- Steep Theatre, 1044 W. Berwyn Ave., will run the Eboni Booth work Paris on June 17-July 23. Jonathan Berry will direct. Returning home to the small town of Paris, Vermont, Emmie tries to make ends meet ...


Gay News

PERFORMANCE 'Moonset Sunrise' at Navy Pier on June 16 and 18 2022-06-15
- Collaboraction announced that Moonset Sunrise, its 25th-anniversary production, with live performances on June 16 and 18 at 7:30 p.m. at Beat Kitchen's new Bar Sol on Navy Pier, 700 E. Grand Ave. Through healing ritual, storytelling, ...


Gay News

Queer-themed plays win Tonys; Hudson reaches EGOT status 2022-06-13
- On June 12, the 75th annual Tony Awards were held to honor the top performances from the theater industry. The event—hosted by LGBTQ+ Oscar winner/Tony nominee Ariana DeBose at New York City's Radio City Music Hall—followed ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Jodie Comer, 'Queer As Folk,' trans film, Tom of Finland photos 2022-06-12
- Jodie Comer—the Emmy- and BAFTA-winning actress perhaps best known for playing LGBTQ+ assassin Villanelle on BBC America's Killing Eve—will make her Broadway debut next spring in Prima Facie, a new play by Suzie Miller, Deadline noted. ...


Gay News

Theo Ubique marks 25th-anniversary season with four musicals 2022-06-11
-- From a press release - CHICAGO (JUNE 10, 2022) Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre's Artistic Director Fred Anzevino and Managing/Casting Director Christopher Pazdernik announced the 25th Anniversary season today with four musicals including a Midwest Premiere ...


Gay News

Strawdog Theatre announces new managing director and production manager 2022-06-10
- Strawdog Theatre Company announced the appointments of Paul Cook (he/him) as its new managing director and Donna "Dante" Gary (they/them) as its new production manager. Cook has been the production manager at Strawdog since 2019 and ...


Gay News

TRAVEL Chicago theater blooms outside and out of town 2022-06-08
- Chicago Shakespeare Theater is keeping its show docked at its Navy Pier facility and Oak Brook's First Folio Theatre is taking the summer off before re-commencing in the fall, but playgoers eager to swap the urban ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.