Not-so-straight acting

Posted on 12 Aug 2010 at 6:02pm

Comedian Jason Kane loves show tunes and cats — so why isn’t he gay?

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer lopez@dallasvoice.com

HOMO NEUROTIC | Kane’s has accepted himself as a straight man — not that there’s anything wrong with that. (Rich Lopez/Dallas Voice).

WHY AM I NOT GAY?
Tucker’s Blues, 2617
Commerce St. Aug. 17–19.
7 p.m. $10.
TuckersBlues.com.

Jason Kane isn’t kidding himself: He knows when a man proudly talks about his collection of original Broadway cast recordings, the season finale of Kathy Griffin and his two cats, he should expect to be gay-tially profiled as family. He’s one Bette Midler concert shy of legally irrefutable proof of queerness.

Only Kane is straight — and that throws everything off kilter.

After a 12-year stint in New York (and sometimes Boston), Kane has returned to Dallas. He was doing the budding stage actor bit in the Big Apple, but when he found himself couch-surfing with a healthy dose of uncertainty, he headed home to regroup. Without wasting time, Kane has revamped his show Why Am I Not Gay?, which begs the question this week at Tucker’s Blues in Deep Ellum.

“I’m probably one of the gayest straight men out there,” he says. “I’ve performed this show in New York and Boston but coming back, I have to ask the question again.”

When he talks incessantly about being a “completist” and how that demands his need to have every version of the cast recording of Les Miserables (Broadway and London casts), then yeah, this question might come up. But is it fair to rule a man as gay just because his two pets, Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer are named after felines in Cats, or that some of his interview replies are done in song?
In his show, Kane deconstructs his own life to figure out what the hell happened. While doing so, he keeps score between “gay” and “straight” labels with tic marks and sings along the way — what better way for a hetero to prove he’s not a homo than through a Sondheim medley?

He tries to justify it.

“I would have no reason to be in the closet,” he says. “I’ve had gay friends for a long time. I sing ‘What Can You Lose?’ from Dick Tracy and a couple of Elton John songs, but I throw in some Barenaked Ladies and the Rolling Stones!”

Kane isn’t trying to laugh his way out of his admitted fondness for Erasure and Madonna and his ease of use with terms like “bear,” “twink” and “homo.” Instead, his show may say more about his audiences than just his funny look at his own professional and personal life. Why Am I Not Gay? takes a peek at the contrasts between gay and straight — which, according to him, are few.

“I think part of the show conveys the message that we really aren’t that different,” he says. “What we do in the bedroom is the only real place we diverge. The more I do theater, the more I realize that you can’t pin the tail on the homo donkey so easily.”

He’s reluctant to compare his high school experience to the gay experience, but he finds some parallels in “not being the cool guy” or being the weird theater dude. Even his parents broached the issue when Kane committed to a life in the theater. Weirdly enough, you could say the misidentification of Jason Kane gave him the gay youth ritual without being gay.

But Kane’s moved past his younger travails and he’s just working with what he’s got, which resulted in creating his own show alongside musical director Daniel Ezell. He’s just going for the laughs where he can get them.

“I know audiences will get the jokes and maybe even relate to them,” he says. “And I know, like in the past, some people will come up and say, ‘I’m still not convinced.’”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 13, 2010.

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