Solomon Georgio On His Comedy Album And Queer Comedy’s Renaissance

The comedian records his first album this week in Portland.

(Kim Newmoney)

In his 10 years as a comedian, Solomon Georgio's comedy career has covered a lot of ground.

He's gone from being booed off the stage at his first set to performing on Conan in 2015 and starring in Viceland's Flophouse. He's covered a lot of literal ground, too: Georgio was born in Sudan, and his family later resettled in Seattle's woolen arms, where Georgio first gave comedy a proper go. He has since relocated to LA, but he's coming to Portland to record a set for his upcoming Comedy Central album.

WW talked to Georgio about his first comedy album and Seattle's queer comedy scene.

WW: How were you introduced to American comedy?
Solomon Georgio:
My first comedy record was one of George Carlin's, which I heard for the first time when I was three. I couldn't comprehend what he was saying, but I got that it's surprising when you find something to make a roomful of people laugh. It seems like a magic trick.

Do your parents follow your career?
They're happy that I'm working. My mom hadn't seen me perform until I was on Conan. With [me] being gay, they still have hang-ups, but not as much as they first did.

What was your first stand-up show like?
I had run away to LA for five months, and I listed my elementary school bullies and said they were gay. Oh, and I took a picture of the audience with a disposable camera. I got booed and didn't return to the stage for eight years.

Were you openly gay at the time?
I didn't come out until I was 18. It was kind of imperative for me to convey because the queer comedy scene in Seattle was so small; it was me and one other person. In general, there are those of us who manage to get pretty far by barely mentioning it.

What was the Seattle comedy scene like when you did return to the stage?
Even though the comedy world is male-dominated and a bit misogynistic, there are pockets of it that are beautifully supportive and extremely accepting. I don't want to say it's easier now because I didn't have a hard time, but now there are more opportunities. Having moved to LA five years ago, I see that gay comedians are experiencing a renaissance. Look at Erin Foley or Guy Branum.

What kind of material can we expect on the album?
It's my first album taping, and it's going to be as much social commentary and personal stories that I have as well as an introduction to me as a human being. I've been preparing this material for 10 years, so it's an accumulation of everything I've liked so far.

As someone from Seattle, describe Portland in as few words as possible.
Whitest. [Laughs] It's an audience that won't let you get away with anything.

SEE IT: Solomon Georgio is at Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave., 7 pm Sunday, July 9. $10 advance, $15 at the door. 21+.

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