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Merry and Gay 

Performer profile: Daddy

Did you hear the one about the deli worker who thought "gblt" was a gay bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich? You will at the Flynn's first-ever evening of all-queer, stand-up comedy. The laugh fest, which kicks off Pride Weekend, features a trinity of local comics who are anything but holy.

Jason P. Lorber, the show's producer, has performed improv locally with Kamikaze Comics. He's also done his own shows at Nectar's and Radio Bean, as well as at the Punchline in Atlanta, Georgia. When he's not making jokes, he's a wannabe politician, campaigning for Steve Hintgen's seat in the Vermont State House. Now that's funny.

Deb Renshaw is a psychotherapist who challenges herself every year on her birthday to do something she has never done before. When she turned 45, it was a stand-up performance at Eddie's Attic, also in Atlanta. She took first prize.

It's been barely a year since Jane Holdman, a.k.a. "Daddy," came out as a comedian, but the Burlington performer already has a hot schedule and a loyal, growing fan base -- enough to pack four solo shows at two venues in 10 months. The 32-year-old day-care provider was born in the Philippines and grew up in Middlebury. She was voted Class Clown in high school - "I was up for Most Likely to Suceed," she says, "but I turned it down."

Daddy was "discovered" by Bob Driver, who entertains appreciative crowds as Naomi G. He overheard her one night at 135 Pearl, regaling friends with stories about her mom. Driver asked Holdman to "fill in" by doing stand-up during wardrobe changes in his act at The Waiting Room. Holdman's eight-minute sets drew such an enthusiastic response that Queer Lounge directors Scott Mitchell and Elliot Matos asked her to put together a show of her own.

During a very funny hour over drinks at Burlington's Muddy Waters, Holdman reveals details about her life in the laugh lane. She has a rich, sly delivery style and punctuates her stories with playful physical humor and raucous vocalizations that range from mock screams to hisses -- none of which comes through in print. To catch the full Daddy effect, you've got to see her in person.

SEVEN DAYS: How do you get ready to perform?

DADDY: I practice really faithfully, then the night before, I put the set list together.

SD: Set list?

DADDY: Like a band has. So they don't have to stop and ask each other, "What should we play next?" I always have a set list.

SD: How does that happen?

DADDY: Well, some stories go really well together. Like the Tupperware story--

SD: The Tupperware story?

DADDY: My mom, when I was in high school, she screamed at me for two weeks. She thought there was Tupperware missing and she thought I was taking the Tupperware that was missing from our house and selling it to my friends at high school.

SD: Seriously? She thought you were fencing her Tupperware? I mean -- to teenagers?

Daddy: Well, my mom is crazy. I don't make anything up. You know when a crazy person tells you something, I think they must really believe it. So I do a lot of visuals. I say all right, let's visualize that. Let's imagine me at the school. I'm looking like a drug dealer. And I'm selling Tupperware. To make a set list, I think OK what would be a good story to go with that? Do I have enough material? Because I have to hang out with my mother to get the material, which is really annoying.

SD: If you need something, do you try to provoke her instead of waiting for something to come up?

DADDY: Once I asked her an "if" question -- like that book, The What If? Book. I said, "Mom, if you could cure any disease in the world, what would it be?" And I was surprised, she answered me right away. She said, "AIDS." I was blown away, like wow, my Mom really cares about my community. So I said to her, "Mom, that's really great --" and she interrupted me, "No, no, not AIDS. No, no, no, ah... herpes."

SD: Where did you get the stage name Daddy?

DADDY: Oh, I've had that nickname a long time.

SD: And you can't tell me why?

DADDY: Let's just say, uh, no.

SD: Is it from a romantic situation?

DADDY: It's from when I was younger. I was romantic, yeah, with maybe too many people.

SD: At the same time?

DADDY: Yeah. It was a situation that will never happen again.

SD: You never know, I mean you're going to be famous--

DADDY: Oh, sure!

SD: It seems like you do a lot of benefits -- there was Estrogen Fest, to which you donated your time, and then a handful of things for Safe Space. And this is all in one year. Do you have a sort of philosophy about that?

DADDY: There are a lot of benefits out there. Sometimes I have to say no. I mean if I'm not free, I can't do it. If I can do it, I try to because it's giving back to the community and I feel like that's my responsibility.

SD: That's admirable, very role-model of you. Tell me, is doing comedy a "chick magnet" kind of gig?

DADDY: Well yeah, I mean, yeah, I'm not gonna lie. I think the ladies like it. Everybody would want someone to take walks on the beach with them and make them laugh. I have a girlfriend now, I'm actually living with my partner, and she thinks it's cool.

SD: If your life was a fairy tale, which one would it be?

DADDY: Well I would say Robin Hood except I gave up stealing, so that's out.

SD: Cinderella?

DADDY: No, no I don't think so, unless they had, like, Butch-erella.

SD: Well, maybe something more contemporary would be a better question. If they remade a movie with you as the star, what movie would it be?

DADDY: It would have to be G.I. Jane. After all, they wouldn't have to change the name, and Demi and I definitely have the same body.

SD: But they'd have to change the love interest --

DADDY: Angelina Jolie. Definitely Angelina Jolie. We show them how girls can kick ass, too. Then we fall in love, come out, get discharged from the military for being gay, and make a sequel to Bound.

SD: You're going to be busy!

Daddy: I'm looking forward to it.

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Susan Moul

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