Fredericton will be expecting a special guest to cap off this year’s Pride Week festivities. Montreal-based comedienne Tranna Wintour will be performing a special Comedy with Balls Pride show Saturday, August 13th at the Crowne Plaza Fredericton as part of the celebrations. The show will also feature a slew of East Coast comics, including Kris Trotter from Saint John, Darren Elmore of Sussex and Brittany Campbell of Charlottetown.
Comedy with Balls is a Quispamsis-based organization that has expanded across the Atlantic Provinces, booking and promoting comedians, and working to build a regular comedy tour circuit. Producer Mark Burnett says that he got CWB involved with Fredericton’s Pride Week not only as a matter of principle, but for a reason very close to home. “When we realized that we had the opportunity to make history with a comedy show during Pride Week, there wasn’t a second thought about it. We had to do it. My father came out in 2001. Since then, he’s had the chance to finally be himself, love who he wants and be proud of it. There are still people who think his being gay was a choice. Others think it’s a sin. Some even believe they’ll catch it if they get too close…alright, I may have gone too far with the last one, but you get what I’m at here.”
“It’s for those reasons that we need Pride,” Burnett says, “We need people like Tranna Wintour, who’s a champion for love and acceptance. Her humour brings people from all walks of life, love and sexual orientations together to laugh. It’s when we laugh together that we can finally realize how different we aren’t.”
For her part, Wintour couldn’t agree more. She’s convinced that comedy can be a powerful tool for change. She’s seen it happen at her shows. “Comedy is about people coming together in an intimate space and sharing stories, learning that we’re more alike than different…I have found that through laughter you are able to change people’s minds.”
Wintour has only been performing for three years, but people are already taking notice. She’s performed at Just For Laughs and Montreal Sketch Fest, and CultMTL has named her one of their top three comedians in their Best of Montreal poll every year since she burst on the scene.
Wintour aims to provide a nuanced performance, “to say things that mean something”, with major comedy influences like Margaret Cho and Sandra Bernhard, who perform “comedy that goes deeper than the surface.” She balances out the heavier content with lighter material – “the deep and the shallow” as she puts it – with jokes that poke fun at pop culture and celebrity.
Wintour says that when she started performing, she mentally prepared herself to face bigotry. She’s been pleasantly surprised to find she’s been received very positively, despite the fact that her audiences are mostly straight. She says that any discrimination she has faced as a transgender performer has been a rare and infrequent occurrence at her shows.
By living and speaking her truth through comedy, Wintour has been able to hold a mirror to her audiences, to reveal some small nugget of truth within themselves. Some common experience that they have shared. Expanding minds, one joke at a time.
Fredericton’s Pride Week goes from August 7th-13th and hosts a whole slew events. For the completely schedule follow Fredericton Pride on Facebook. If you would like more information about the Tranna Wintour August 13th show, or to purchase tickets, please visit comedywithballs.com.