A still from Annie Lowe’s upcoming comedy special. Photo courtesy of Annie Lowe.
Winston-Salem native Annie Lowe has had quite the year. In addition to spending the last month in Spain doing comedy, she is now getting ready to launch her comedy special with Creative Businessmen Studios. As a trans woman, Lowe uses comedy to talk about her transition and experiences with gender.
You were just in Spain. How was it?
It was wonderful. I hadn’t gone out of town just for fun for a really long time. This was the first big ‘away game.’ It felt safe, but it was also nice to be in a different context of people dealing with the pandemic in their own cultural way. No matter what’s going on, it’s easy to forget that there are billions of other people doing different things.
Before this, had you been able to do any comedy during the pandemic?
I didn’t do live comedy during any of the lockdown and got back into it sort of trepidatiously. The really insidious thing about COVID is that it spreads more rapidly when you do the things that make people happy, like sing or laugh. I wrote a lot during the pandemic, and I did a couple Zoom open mics. It was nice to see everyone’s face, but it’s a tough room. But challenge accepted. If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.
If it’s the kind of thing you want to do at all, it’s such an awesome privilege. The comedy has been really good for me in transitioning too. It’s cool to make the things that are maybe painful or hard about your life useful. I think there’s a reason stand-up comedy attracts people with a certain amount of misery in their life. If I can joke about stuff on stage, it makes it less hard in my personal life.
Tell me more about that. What has it been like to share that part of yourself with complete strangers?
It’s nice being able to use some of the transitional stuff as a rhetorical device. Like, I can talk to the ladies as ladies or the dudes as dudes. But I can tell jokes about lots of things and the fact that I’m trans sort of fades into the background. But it’s always implied even if I’m not talking about it. I don’t ever feel like it’s a burden to talk about it or not. I feel seen and understood.
The cool thing about it is, even when I joke about stuff that’s not necessarily having to do with a good-natured exploration of my gender transition, which I don’t mind doing, there are queer people that come up to me after the show.
When I was in Spain I was doing a show and I was telling a joke about how I don’t like to lie about my height on Tinder, and [a woman] said the same thing happens to her. She started telling me how she’s a lesbian and hasn’t told her family yet. I thought that was really sweet and I really like it when just doing my thing will make someone queer or otherwise comfortable in their own skin. Sometimes those people will come up to me after, and it’s really nice that this thing I like that’s weird and narcissistic is kind of good, too. That didn’t used to happen when I was a comedian just presenting as just another sad dude.
What can you tell us how your comedy special came about?
There is a comedian I’ve worked with for a long time named Eric Trundy. He’s been working with Neil Hoover at a production studio. They do a lot of things for YouTube, and it’s a gorgeous studio. It’s inspiring to be in, honestly. Eric knew me when my jokes were horrible, because you’re so bad at comedy for so long. But he likes my comedy and he knows my personal story and thought I’d be a good candidate for this. He asked me if I would do this and I said, “Obviously.”
Tell us more about the special. What is it going to be about?
It’s all jokes written during or after COVID except for maybe one or two. It’s summing up a lot of my experiences through a really transformational time in my life, and then I had a year to compartmentalize things and turn them into jokes. I wrote and wrote and wrote and tested all the material. I’m not exactly sure how long it’s going to be, but it’s long.
Carlos Bocanegra, he’s a really important dude around Winston-Salem. He’s a fantastic guy, a true ally of the arts, and he has the coolest last name and hair in the business. We got together and recorded it at his club [Monstercade]. We booked it for two nights and there were two really well-curated audiences. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ve seen clips of it now and it looks amazing. And I looked great. Like, I look the way I think I look in my head. The camera people got every one of my good sides.
They’ve been editing it at the studio for the last month, and hopefully in the very near future I’ll be able to post clips. I’m hoping there’s stuff coming out in the next month, but to be honest, I don’t really understand the business end of it. I’m glad it’s not me making those phone calls.