‘I Thought I Would Be Dead By Now’
Ike Avelli—one of the sweetest, most humorous and handsome gay comedians ever to grace the streets of New York City, Florida and Atlantic City—is about to turn 50. In celebration of the fact that he’s still alive, he will be performing an epic showcase at The Duplex on May 6 at 9:30 p.m. Knowing and loving him for several years, I couldn’t resist having a conversation with him and sharing his humor with the world.
So tell me all about your birthday show.
It’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s different than what I usually do. Usually the variety show that I do is 85% me, and then I’ll have other performers going in while I’m changing costumes. This one, the performers are catering to me. They will be roasting me, all the artists, and I’ll be doing some numbers as well.
I love the name of the show.
Well, “I Thought I Would Be Dead,” too. I still have two weeks.
You never know what could happen.
I know, horrible. So there will be a lot of drag queens, a lot of cameos that I haven’t announced yet. I’m looking forward to it.
What made you decide to commit to a lifetime of comedy?
When I was a little kid, I remember watching “The Carol Burnett Show.” I decided that one day I was going to have my own variety show. It just took me a very, very long time to do it. You gotta have that dream and follow it. Comedy is great, because if you flub up, sometimes it’s funnier than you had planned. And just seeing the audience’s reaction…sometimes I do some emotional numbers too.
Wait a minute, do you also sing?
I’m a comical singer. I don’t want you thinking I’m Andrea Bocelli. I do parodies of songs too. For Sia’s song “Chandelier,” I do a song called “Trampoline.” It’s about me jumping on men.
I love it to death. I didn’t know that.
I write and produce, I do everything.
Do you have a boyfriend?
No, I’m single. I would actually like to open for Ricky Martin, but he just snagged somebody.
I’ll put it out there.
Great, put it in. Tell them Ricky Martin found a new man, which leaves me single again.
You like those Latin guys?
If they have a pole dancer under 30, I’ll take him.
I’m printing that.
What’s the funniest joke you’ve ever told?
I can tell you a joke that just got me a lot of heat: “Vote for Trump, because we’re overdue for an assassination.”
I did it at my last show, and the place went ape.
What plans do you have for any future projects?
I’m still trying to take my show, “50 Shades of Gay,” on the road. I brought that show out for Pride last year, the day before they announced marriage equality. The place was packed. We had drag queens, recording artists. We just had a good old time. I took that show to The Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. We sold that out too. I’m actually working on another project with Robbyne Kaamil and Tym Moss. We’re doing “Two Queers and a Bitch.” It’s an Internet show.
So you’re an Atlantic City girl too.
Yeah, we’ve done two shows there already. We’re doing another show in the summer.
Say you’re on stage and no one is reacting to you. What’s your next move?
I hit the microphone and say, “Is this thing on? What hell is going on here?”
Do you write all of your own material?
Yeah. The New York City theatre is better than any other theatre. Everyone has a good time, and they are usually great audiences. The best ones I should say.
You’re a porn star. What’s your name?
You’re a new addition to a crayon box. What color are you?
Where are you going to be in 10 years? And don’t say dead.
No, I can’t die twice. Hopefully Madison Square Garden.
Where and when is the birthday show?
It’s on May 6 at The Duplex Cabaret Theater (61 Christopher Street, NYC) on Friday night at 9:30 p.m.