“And I think a lot of trans people probably feel that way.”He is keenly aware that the struggles transgender people face aren’t always funny—and he devotes a few minutes of his comedy special ensuring that his audience is aware of how transgender women are treated—but he believes that laughter can be “healing” even in the darkest times.“In order to have that sort of daily reprieve to continue on to the next day, we have to be able to laugh about this shit,” he says.The familiar, relatable quality of May the Best Cock Win ultimately makes it into an oddly effective primer on transgender male identity.
“You’re not wagging your finger at people telling them what to think.
You’re giving them new information, making them laugh, which is actually a very intimate thing to do with each other.
People think that laughter is not intimate, but what it actually does is it opens you up to receive new information.”The net effect, he’s observed, is that audiences might not fully internalize all of his material in the moment but “they do go home and they inevitably have a frame of reference for who some trans people are.”By being so open about his own personal experiences of being transgender, Harvie explains to me, he is “really annoyingly making people love [him] so they can’t hate [him].”“You can’t hate someone once you know their story,” he says.
Ian Harvie’s standup special May the Best Cock Win is available on Seeso and now on digital audio.
A friend of mine confused her Valiumwith her birth control pills... They keep telling us to get in touch with our bodies.
Especially when they say things like, "You know sometimes I forget to eat."Now, I've forgotten my address, my mother's maiden name, and my keys. You have to be a special kind of stupid to forget to eat. But in 2014, Harvie landed a role as a transgender teaching assistant on the Amazon series Transparent, followed by 2016 guest turns on the ABC series Mistresses and the ABC Family series Young & Hungry.“To get all those stars aligned—it’s hard,” he tells me.“[But] I’m not resentful at all.”Instead, he attributes his current precedent-setting success to transgender performers like Alexandra Billings, Laverne Cox, Candis Cayne, and others who carved out room for trans representation on TV. May the Best Cock Win has the unique quality of being old and new at once, a traditional kind of stand-up comedy delivered by a radically different kind of voice.A chat after Cho’s practice set turned into an exchange of phone numbers followed by three years of Harvie being her opening act on the road—a period that Harvie refers to now as the “biggest, quickest comedy lesson” he’s ever received.“I’m so grateful for her elevating my voice and for her actually seeing that trans people need representation even in standup comedy,” he tells me in a phone interview.Harvie has had the material for May the Best Cock Win for years. Imagine if you had to get your bum-hole stripped every 30 days — lest the mean girls at school corner you on the bus home and go, "I've heard you're like Catweazle down there. " chats, we're just identifying the general locus of the problem, ie, most of the power and influence being held by a small amount of men. I can't emphasise enough how much it's not about burning penises. Periods We're still pretty traumatised about our periods, even though we're now 40. We're just people with a whole load more laundry issues than you. Abortion Likewise, imagine accidentally getting pregnant at 16, then having to run past a barrage of anti-abortion protestors outside your local clinic, all holding up pictures of dead foetuses. From the moment we grew our tits, we've been cat-called in the street; commented on by relatives ("Ooooh, she's big-boned"; "Well, you'll be a heart-breaker") as if we weren't standing there in front of them, hearing all this. Ninety per cent of what men wear is "some trousers".