Drew Droege once saved my life.
Many moons ago, before I became the stable and established man I am now, I was working a temp job at an office that was being shut down by its parent company. I was there for 4 months or so and I spent 7 of my 8 hours a day there packing boxes. Emptying 6 ft tall filing cabinets that were screwed to a pulley system so that approximately a million of them could fit into one room. Packing human resource files, tax returns, extra shoes left at a desk and knick knacks. I did that alone, in rooms painted the color of corn starch for hours. I had reached a point of insanity where my only option became to launch myself head first down the elevator shaft of the 50 story building. Then Drew Droege saved my life.
I found his treasured and far too short-lived podcast Glitter in the Garbage and those days suddenly became bearable while listening to Drew and his 2-4 guests per episode improv skits “live” on air. His guest list pulled from such talented comedians as June Diane Raphael, Phil Lamar, Sam Pancake, Bryan Safi, Beth Crosby and so many more. The improv was always fun and funny. But secretly my favorite part of each episode were the openers where Drew told a story from his life. Whether it was a snippet from his high school days about his manic teacher, an anecdote from his first paid job as an actor at a summer camp or some gossip about an annoying baby from earlier that afternoon these short informal bits were so enthralling. They were only a few minutes long but these peeks into his brain always interested me the most; they gave me something to connect to as oppose to just laugh at.
Bright Colors and Bold Patterns felt like the opening story of each episode of Glitter in the Garbage stitched into one coherent thought and it was a beautiful one. Drew’s one-man show that he so graciously shared with us east-coasters at the Ars Nova space this past week, showcased Drew as Gerry, meeting some old friends and one new one, the night before they were to attend a wedding. Drew bounces around the stage, living out his side of a hilarious, alcohol and coke-fueled conversation. The laughs come pouring out of the crowd as Drew lambastes the fakeness of people too afraid to be real, inexperience of youth , too dumb to know their gay history and he tan pants suits of suburbia as it tries to reel in and tone-down bright gayness of he and his friends.
Like his GitG intros, a line of truth runs through all the humor. In the first half Gerry laments the upcoming marriage of his two friends as a sort of death. They’re going from shit-kicking, glue-gunning, Fire Islanding, GAY men to some humdrum boring married couple. In the next half we learn that Gerry’s emotions stem from the fear of uncertainty and of being alone while his friends partner up. The setting of this show might be different but this is a conversation I’ve had with many a queer friend. “Why be normal? We’re losing our sense of self! We’re becoming like THEM!” all comments I’ve heard but without the humor or personal insight drew displays in this show.
This show was a great treat. I hope to see him live again soon.