Comic Jeffrey Jay delivered an intimate rendition of his stand-up comedy routine at the College Programming Board’s most recent installment of Tuesday Night Live.
“I’ve done shows where it’s for one person, a hundred people or two thousand people,” Jay explained.
Standing before an audience gathered in the H-Wing Auditorium, Jay’s performance was less of a rehearsed standup routine and more like a relaxed conversation. While the stage presence of many comedians is often overwhelming and typically overhyped, Jay’s gentle enthusiasm for telling stories and jokes was new and notably admirable.
“So let’s just talk. I’ll tell some stories and you guys can ask me some questions afterwards,” said Jay as he ditched the stage for a casual stance right in front of his audience.
Considering the comic hails from the Republican state of Texas, Jeffrey’s anecdotes as a transgender man were absolutely astonishing. He was incredibly open and honest when he told stories about his rigorous encounters with Texas police and about his family dynamic before and after he transitioned.
“I admire how he touched on subjects that other comedians might consider to be taboo,” said Haley Gorda, a literature major.
From the hilarious modern hiccups of his long distance relationship, to taking an HIV test just for the prize of a Jamba Juice gift card, Jay’s humor was uplifting and heartfelt throughout his entire routine.
Comedians like Jimmy Fallon, Louis C.K. and Jim Gaffigan tend to get too comfortable rambling about “the-funny-things-their-kids-do” but Jay’s stories about his step daughter’s experiences of having two dads were fresh and sincerely unique.
In just the past few weeks, Jay’s home state of Texas has advanced a bill that will limit transgender people’s access to the bathrooms that match their identity. In a nuanced response to this, Jay did a hilarious bit about the adrenaline rushing experience of using the women’s bathroom while the men’s bathroom was locked. The audience responded positively with claps and cheers, captivated by how Jay comically referenced the political subject without addressing it directly.
In addition to his standup comedy, Jay is also a comedy writer for the podcast “Feast of Fun.” Jay has also been featured in "The Advocate" as one of “The top 7 Transgender Comedians” and “7 LGBT Comics You Shouldn’t Have missed in 2011”, as well as a Finalist in "The 2013 Funniest Comic in Texas."
“Jeffrey is the funniest guy I’ve ever encountered. He’s just funny all around,” said Jacob Fishman, Music Co-Chair on the College Programming Board.
Declaring there was not a single question he has not received, Jay strongly encouraged his audience to ask questions of any kind, whether it pertained to his career as a comic or his struggles as a transgender father.
“His performance was honest and raw. I liked how he wanted us to ask questions, especially questions that some might be afraid to ask,” said Mel Lewis, Coordinator for Fraternity and Sorority Life.
When he is not writing and performing standup, Jeffrey Jay participates in ally training and speaks at colleges and high schools sharing his story to educate others about trans-issues.