UB hosts transgender comedian Jeffrey Jay

Mercury Bowen, Entertainment Reporter

Transgender comedian Jeffrey Jay performed Friday night at the 7th Street Underground.

Though the show got off to a late start, Tess McArthy, the University Board human potential coordinator, said the event had a good turnout.

Jay said he was surprised at the turnout given the delay of the show.

“You all were really sweet,” Jay said to the attendees. “I can’t even believe that you all stayed.”

Jay opened the show with a few jokes about his voice and appearance, making clear he was not uncomfortable talking about his transition.

Jay also talked about his family, discussing coming out to his parents and how he interacts with his partner and his daughter.

For the question and answer session, Jay answered a few questions from the audience members and talked about some of the less polite questions he had received in the past.

Charlotte Williams, a junior marketing major, said she enjoyed watching Jay’s performance.

“I really liked how it was interactive,” Williams said. “He was super open-minded and non-judgmental toward his audience, and that made it a really fun experience for everyone.”

Jurnee Evans, a freshman English major, said she heard about the show at a PRIDE meeting and was glad she attended.

“The storytelling was really cool,” Evans said. “You felt like you were along for the ride, like you were there.”

Part of Jay’s show involved discussion about his life before his transition and how he discovered who he was meant to be.

“I think you have very polite students,” Jay said of Eastern. “Sometimes that can be more difficult, because they’re so worried about creating a feeling or saying something offensive, which is nice, but then you don’t get to the juice.”

Jay said he was willing to speak about these things because it pertained to the show and he felt it could be informative and beneficial; however, he also said never to ask for such information from a transgender person because it could be considered highly offensive.

When he finished his performance, Jay put out an offer to the audience for anyone who wanted to speak personally with him about matters they were too shy or embarrassed to ask during the show.

Jay said if he could change one thing about the show, it would be the time he spent with attendees after the performance.

“I usually spend a lot more time hanging out after the show and getting to talk to people,” Jay said. “There are a lot of people who are too shy to ask.”

Of the performance, Jay said he enjoyed the back and forth conversation the most.

“I get to dive into things that are typically stories or something that’s not structured simply as a joke,” Jay said. “(I) get to be real, like being able to share a story about how loving my grandmother was. It’s really nice to be able to do that now with her just passing away and kind of get her memory to live on.”

Mercury Bowen can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].