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Photograph: Max Herman

Funny stories from Chicago Prides of past

Written by
Adam Guerino

The Pride parade started off as a protest in New York City as a response to the Stonewall Riots in 1970. What began as a singular event of queer solidarity transitioned into a festive annual occurrence celebrated all across the country. Chicago’s Pride Parade is this Sunday, and it has ballooned into an extravagant, all-ages affair for queer and straight attendees alike. For the occasion of Pride, but not necessarily proud moments, I asked some queer comedians for a few funny stories to get us in the mood. Their responses could just as well be titled, "Things not to do at Pride." 

Trannika Rex

Last year at Pride I was hosting the Dance Pavilion and as I announced Cazwell, some wasted girl jumps the partition, ninja rolled onto the five-foot tall stage and started running up behind him. I panicked and grabbed her by the ponytail before she could get to him and, as I do, five backup dancers dressed as penguins ran in to grab her. As they tried to wrestle her off the stage she shook loose, literally rolled down the stairs and, when she tried to run away, tripped and fell into a giant pile of garbage. It was like a slapstick scene from a wacky Rob Schneider comedy.

Cody Melcher

My birthday is June 28, the same date as this year’s Pride Parade. It was also the date of the Chicago Pride Parade on my 21st birthday. I was a student at The University of Texas in Austin but was up in Chicago for summer classes at Second City. On the eve of my birthday, I went to Skinprov at The Annoyance—which was a fantastic way to kick off my birthday as well as Pride. The next day at the parade—still on Broadway at the time—I was right outside of my hotel at Broadway and Hawthorne. Mind you, I’d never been to a Pride Parade before. I looked out of the hotel window as a large truck covered in pink flamingos ambled by. People were swarming the streets. I went down to join in the festivities and the moment I opened the door to my hotel room, a lesbian jumped on me and sang the chorus to the Ting Tings’ “That’s Not My Name.” Walking out from the hotel to the street—not to use an over-beaten analogy—was like walking out of the house into Munchkinland. I had only just fully come out of the closet a year before (I lived in Texas), but the Chicago Pride Parade was like a whole new world. Later that night I also accidentally drank too much and fell on a rabbit.

Marla Depew

What’s the best way to get kicked out of a queer women’s party in the Ann Sather parking lot after the Pride Parade? If you’re a creepy dude, it’s just being yourself. A handful of years ago, myself, my girlfriend at the time, our friends and a bunch of other partygoers crowded into multiple long lines to get into Girl Blast. Among the partygoers: a non-descript middle-aged man who began rubbing up against the women around him, including me. He was at the wrong party. “Quit rubbing up against people, sir!” I shouted loudly. “And put your half-chub away!”

“Dude, get off me, and get the fuck out of here!” another woman shouted. Soon, everyone in the vicinity was yelling at him, and he slunk out of there faster than Pat Robertson at a PFLAG meeting. I don’t remember who the band was or what they played, but I like to imagine it was a silver-haired Helen Reddy, microphone in hand, making glorious eye contact with everyone in the crowd while belting, “I am woman, hear me roar/in numbers too big to ignore/and I know too much to go back and pret-e-e-end!”

Happy Pride, everyone!

Will your Pride be full of celebrity, shenanigans or a whole new world? No matter what, I hope it’ll be a little bit funny. At the very least, it will be a fantastic celebration of Friday's Supreme Court decision!

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