Comedian Aidan Park brings his gay, Asian-American identity with him onstage

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LGBTQI COMEDY

What: Aidan Park, with Karen McCarthy and Stacy Martinelli

When: 7-8:30 p.m. Saturday, May 12

Where: The Laugh Cellar, 5755 Mountain Hawk Drive, Santa Rosa

Admission: $28

Information: Age 18 and older only. crushersofcomedy.com

Standup comedian Aidan Park has his own ideas about what makes a good opening line. He starts his show by telling the audience he’s gay.

“I think when you do standup, you want to address the elephant in the room.” said Park, a popular performer on the Los Angeles comedy club scene, also known for his TV appearances on Hulu and Comedy Central. “If you were missing an arm, you’d have to acknowledge that.”

When Park performs Saturday, May 12, at Santa Rosa’s Laugh Cellar, he just going to be himself.

“I’m very high-energy,” he said by phone from Los Angeles. “I just want everybody to come in and have good time.”

Park once played down his identity as a gay Asian-American man, under pressure from Las Vegas club owners worried about offending conservative customers. That just confused people, he said. He adopted his out-front format after sincere, concerned audience members came up to him after his shows wondering if he knew he was gay.

“Because of who I am, I am pretty distinct,” said Park, who is of Korean descent, “I am just much gay as I am Asian.”

The Laugh Cellar, owned by Lisa Pidge and her wife and business partner, Carlee Pidge, bills itself as “the only lesbian-owned comedy club in the nation.”

While the club books a wide variety of both local and nationally known comedians, it also made of point of featuring well-known lesbian comics, including Julie Goldman, Jennie McNulty, Gloria Bigelow and Irene Tu,

“We’ve been grateful to receive amazing feedback from the local gay community, who continuously thank us for offering top-notch entertainment for the gay community here in town,” Pidge said.

On June 1, the Laugh Cellar will present Alec Malpa, known as “America’s Gaysian Sweetheart,” in partnership with the Sonoma County LGBTQI Pride weekend.

The club also has designated every Friday as “LGBTQI Family and Friends Night,” Pidge said.

Just because comedians may belong to the LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning and Intersex) community, that doesnn’t limit their audiences to their peers, Park said.

“I perform for everybody, including the guy from a farm in the middle of Texas who got dragged to the show by his wife,” Park said.

There’s no fun in divisive humor, Park believes.

“I see people in my audiences who could have voted for Trump, but it’s not my place to tell them what to think. If I go into politics, it creates a divide,” he said.

“If you paid for a ticket, I’m going to make sure who have fun. You’re going to walk out not feeling crappy about life.”

You can reach staff writer Dan Taylor at 707-521-5243 or dan.taylor@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @danarts.

LGBTQI COMEDY

What: Aidan Park, with Karen McCarthy and Stacy Martinelli

When: 7-8:30 p.m. Saturday, May 12

Where: The Laugh Cellar, 5755 Mountain Hawk Drive, Santa Rosa

Admission: $28

Information: Age 18 and older only. crushersofcomedy.com

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