Truth – and comedy – will set you free – an interview with Comedian Vickie Shaw

By Michael “Buzz” Buzzelli, ‘Burgh Vivant

Comedian Vickie Shaw was a late bloomer. When the Southern Baptist stay-at-home mom decided she would hit the stage and give comedy a try, she had no idea it would change her life in many new and exciting ways. Shaw said, “I didn’t want to be a comedian so much as I just wanted to be able to look back at my life and say I did it. I was always telling my kids to follow their dreams and I hadn’t followed my own, so I guess in a way I did want to be a comedian, but didn’t acknowledge it.”

Her life took an unusual turn on her path for laughs. She said, “I began to study the art of comedy I realized I had to get in touch with my feelings, many of which I had never addressed. I was very suppressed.” She added, “When I began to get in touch with them, it became a Pandora’s box. You can’t pick and choose what you feel and… I realized… son a gun! I’m a lesbian!”

Truth – and comedy – will set you free. Shaw divorced her husband and came out as a lesbian while hitting clubs for stage time. She said, “Needless to say this whole experience took time, of course, but it all was a catalyst for where I am now.”

She began one microphone at a time. Shaw recounted, “I went to an open mic night in Houston, Texas and literally froze. It was the longest 5 minutes of my life! To this day I don’t know why I went back, but I did. And then I kept going back because it was ‘my time.’”

She joked about the real events in her life. On stage, she tells the story about when her daughter asked her about being a lesbian. Shaw said, “My daughter said, ‘Do you…you know…’ And I couldn’t help it, I said, ‘What do you mean?’ and my daughter said, ‘you know…have sex.’ And I replied, “Haley, I don’t care if your parents are straight or gay, but thinking about your parents having sex…is GROSS!”

Comedian Vickie Shaw

Shaw became widely known in the LGBT community. She starred in four comedy specials on LOGO including “You Can Take the Girl Outta Texas…” and “Vickie Shaw Live – Sick and Wrong Tour.” She appeared in Comedy Central’s “Premium Blend,” and the docu-drama, “Laughing Matters…More,” a sequel to “Laughing Matters.” Both “Laughing Matters” and Laughing Matters…More” launched the careers of many LGBT comedians. Shaw shared her personal coming out story in “The Secret Lives of Women: Late-in-Life Lesbians,” a documentary about women who come out of the closet late in their lives.

The comedian recently married her longtime partner,  whom she has dubbed Sgt. Patch (a retired police officer). Shaw said, “We got married last year on my birthday. That’s so she doesn’t forget it!”

Shaw cites her major influences as Totie Fields, Joan Rivers, Steve Martin, Richard Pryor, Bob Newhart and Moms Mabley (an African American comedian from the early 20th Century who was one of the country’s first out lesbian standup comedians).

Shaw has toured all around the world with Olivia Cruises, an LGBT travel company. She adores the gig. Shaw said, “I love Greece, Tahiti, Alaska. I love all the resorts. They are all inclusive – – which means ‘adult beverages’ all day long! And I’m getting paid to be there!”

The standup has advice for budding comedians. She said, “Stage time. Stage time. Stage time. Do any time you can get. Get up and do five minutes…you might be horrible but that’s what you have to do. Use that time to study your craft and learn. Standup is an art and it requires practice. But just do it!”

Vickie Shaw will perform at Cruze Bar, 1600 Smallman Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 on August 26, for tickets click here.

– MB

SUE KERR – Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents

Happy Pride Month, Pittsburgh! Sue Kerr of Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents (Best Local Blogger, City Paper Readers Poll 2016) is on the show tonight to talk about the #AMPLIFY project, blog life, and pride in Pittsburgh. Learn more about #AMPLIFY or to participate, visit www.pghlesbian.comContinue reading “SUE KERR – Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents”

'Burgh Vivant
'Burgh Vivant
SUE KERR - Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents

The Buzz from Buzzelli: Pittsburgh’s Top To Do’s (5/18 – 5/21)

by Michael “Buzz” Buzzelli, ‘Burgh Vivant

A rare breed

Elise Forier Edie’s “The Pink Unicorn” returns to the stage. It’s a riotously funny play about a mom who loves her child, regardless of the kid’s gender identity. Suddenly, she is a reluctant warrior for LGBT issues in a small Texas town.  It’s at the Carnegie Stage, 25 W. Main Street, Carnegie, PA 15106. For more information, click here.


Purple Haze

It’s not the color purple, it’s “Violet.” A young woman goes on an emotional journey through the segregated American South in the 60’s.  You can find “Violet” at the New Hazlett,  Allegheny Square East, Pittsburgh, PA 15212. For more information, click here.


Bound but not down

Martyna Majok’s “Ironbound” opens this week. It’s the story of Darja who is waiting for so many things, like love, for a break, and for the bus she relies on to get to and from cleaning jobs in blue-collar New Jersey. You can go on the journey with her; first stop; The Pittsburgh City Theater, 1300 Bingham Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15203. For more information, click here.


Abbey Normal

It won’t be business as usual at the Abbey this weekend.  It’s the Abbey Arts Festival and the popular coffeehouse/restaurant/bar will be filled with live music and all sorts of wild and wacky stuff. There will be a Tarot card reader, face painters, vintage clothing and more. It’s at the Abbey, 4635 Butler Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15201. For more information about the event, click here. For hours, the menu and location, click here.


Hog Heaven

Stick around Lawrenceville for “Hogwash,” true stories about drinking told by Moth racontuers, comedians and assorted alcoholics. Belly up to the bar with host Derek Minto and get your drink on while you listen to people tell their wackiest drinking stories. It’s at Hambones, 4207 Butler Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15201. For more information, click here.

TERRY JONES – Comedian

TONIGHT: Comedian Terry Jones on the release of his new album available at and iTunes, celebrity impressions, Batman, being a dad, Bigfoot the Movie, and more! ‘Burgh Vivant films weekly at Point Park University’s Center for Media Innovation in beautiful downtown Pittsburgh.   Continue reading “TERRY JONES – Comedian”

'Burgh Vivant
'Burgh Vivant
TERRY JONES - Comedian

The Buzz from Buzzelli: Pittsburgh’s Top To Do’s (5/11 – 5/14)

By Michael “Buzz” Buzzelli, ‘Burgh Vivant

Dear Friends

You have one weekend left to see the quintessentially Pittsburgh “Perks of Being a Wallflower.” It’s Stephen Chbosky’s now classic tale of a high school freshman who is learning how to cope with love, sex and friendship. It’s also a love letter to the Steel City. It’s at the New Hazlett Theater, 6 Allegheny Square, Pittsburgh, PA 15212. For more information, click here.


Everybody’s doing it

Tony-award winning play, “Peter and the Star Catcher” is popping up all over town. You can discover the adventures of a young orphan boy on his journey to Neverland at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, 300 Beechwood Avenue, Carnegie, PA 15106. For more information, click here.


Moves like an ape, looks like a man

It’s back! The Lord of the Jungle returns to Pittsburgh in “Tarzan the Musical.” Edgar Rice Boroughs goes Disney in an epic tale based on the cartoon version of the ape man. Swing by the Byham Theater, 101 Sixth Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. Get all the info here.


Can’t Stop the Music

There’s a heck of a party starts in Millvale on Saturday, May 13. It’s the Millvale Music Festival. Bands will be playing all over the town.  The Nox Boys, Jimbo and the Soupbones, Ben Valasek and the Growlers, Essential Machine, Mr. Fancy Pants, the Lampshades, the Turbosonics, the Weird Paul Rock Band, Big Atlantic, Jude Benedict, August Winters and many, many more. Get the full schedule here.


Dig it

Women at different stages of their career and their lives, create artwork based on sexism and how it intersects with their age and/or race in “DIGS- Sexism in the Arts.” The show features Staycee Pearl, Lenore Thomas, Jenn Wertz and many more. It runs till June 2 at Artists Image Resource, 518 Foreland Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15212. For more information, go here.

The Buzz from Buzzelli: Pittsburgh’s Top To Do’s (4/27 – 2/30)

By Michael “Buzz” Buzzelli, ‘Burgh Vivant

Go West, Young Man

This weekend, “True West” comes to Southwestern PA. In the play, two brothers–and nemeses–are driven mad by the desert heat as their mother coldly observes the duel. If they can outwit one another, glory awaits. If they’re outsmarted…they’re toast. It’s at the Genesius Theater, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA. For tickets, click here.



Saturday April 29, it’s the Guilty Pleasures Party. The Eclectic Laboratory Chamber Orchestra has a few surprises planned. DJ Steve Knots will be slinging out tunes, but if you don’t like the music, you can pay to play! For 99 cents, you can get your favorite song in the mix (12 songs for $9.99). Dance the night away at the Irma Freeman Center for Imagination, 5006 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15224. For more information, click here.



This weekend you can get the full Justin and Jerome Experience (an improv comedy duo). Justin Vetter and Jerome Fitzgerald will introduce you to their “Slacks,” a brand new show with all-new sketches and all-new surprises. The Justin and Jerome Experience will be performing at the Arcade Comedy Theater, 811 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. For more information, click here.



Right across the street from the Arcade Comedy Theater, you can get your groove on. “Non-Punk Pittsburgh” is a retrospective of the music and arts set during the fall of the industrial revolution opening the door for the vibrant arts community Pittsburgh has today. It’s all at Space, 812 Liberty Avenue. For more information, click here.


Pitch Perfect

The story of Pittsburgh’s own Josh Gibson is told in a world premiere opera, “The Summer King.” Gibson went from the sandlots of Pittsburgh’s North Side to the pinnacle of greatness in the Negro Leagues, before being enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. Learn all about him at the Benedum Center, 237 Seventh Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. For more information, click here.




The Buzz from Buzzelli: Pittsburgh’s Top To Do’s (4/20 – 4/23)

By Michael “Buzz” Buzzelli, ‘Burgh Vivant

Dysfunction Junction

Playwright Sarah Kane’s play, “4.48 Psychosis,” opens this weekend. It’s a poignant and funny story about a woman dancing on the edge between life and death, struggling with her depression. It’s at the Carnegie Stage, Carnegie, 25 W. Main Street, PA 15106. For more information, click here.


Funny Lady

On Friday April 2, Gab Bonesso releases her Comedy Album “Everybody’s Dead” at the Warhol. Bonesso has been voted Best Comedian by the City Paper and Pittsburgh Magazine. Special guest Gene Collier, sports columnist and stand up, will be telling jokes with her at the  Andy Warhol Museum, 117 Sandusky Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15212. For more information, click here.


Star Dates

On Saturday April 22, you can dress up in a colorful costume and party at Kablam 2017- Cosmic Cause-Play. It’s a way out cosmic costume party and fundraiser for Pittsburgh’s museum of comics. Grab your land speeder, your TARDIS or you transporter and get to the ToonSeum, 945 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. For more information, click here.


In Cars

On Saturday April 22, you have a second chance to go to an Album Release Party. Get down and dirty with Carsickness as they release their brand new album. They’ll be celebrating with the Nox Boys at Gooski’s, 3117 Brereton Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 . The show is only five dollars! Learn about Carsickness here.



It’s always a treat to go to the Frick, but now you can catch eighteen abstract works by artist Elise Adibi, which are on view at there. Get uptown to the Frick Art & Historical Center, 7227 Reynolds Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15208. For more information, click here.

– MB

The Buzz from Buzzelli: Pittsburgh’s Top To Do’s (4/13 – 4/16)

By Michael “Buzz” Buzzelli, ‘Burgh Vivant

In the Spotlight

Actors, comedians, spoken word artists and slam poets are competing for a cash prize at the “Spotlight Monologue Night.” Things are guaranteed to be interesting. It’s a one night event on April 15 at Future Tenant, 819 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. For tickets and additional information, click here.


At the movies

“The Indie Oaks Film Festival” is back on April 15. Join Pittsburgh fledgling film community at the festival for an evening of short independent cinema. Meet the cast and crews of the films (They might be big breakout stars someday). The show starts at 7:30 but you can get three early for cocktail hour at 6:00. Get to the movies, at the Oaks Theatre, 310 Allegheny River Blvd., Oakmont, PA 15239. For more information, click here.


Thumbs up

Pittsburgh magazine contributor and movie critic Sean Collier is also a standup comedian. Come out on Saturday, April 15 to see the witty observations of the silver haired, silver tongue funnyman. There will be special appearances by Collin Chamberlin and Suzanne Lawrence. You can catch Collier and his guests at the Arcade Comedy Theater, 811 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. For more information, click here.


Home Spun Tale

Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic novel became a hit Broadway play. “Fun Home” is making it’s Pittsburgh debut. It’s a memoir about growing up. You can see it at Heinz Hall, 600 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. For more information, click here.


Love my way

The Psychedelic Furs are coming to Pittsburgh on Friday, April 14. Don’t just “Talk Talk Talk” about seeing them, get out there and get your British post-punk on. You can catch them and their special guest, Robyn Hitchcock, at Mr. Smalls Theater, 400 Lincoln Avenue, Millvale, PA 15209. For more information, click here.

– MB

The Buzz from Buzzelli: Pittsburgh’s Top To Do’s (4/6 – 4/9)

by Michael “Buzz” Buzzelli, ‘Burgh Vivant

Capes and Canapes

Onomatopoeias are in the air at Cocktails and Kryptonite on Friday, April 7. Fly away to the Library for a night of Hulk-sized fun at the library’s spring After Hours event, celebrating the boldest superheroes and most dastardly villains. Join the librarians for craft drinks, light bites, trivia, live entertainment, and fun activities! It’s at the Carnegie Public Library, 4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213. For more information, click here.


Wigle it, Just a little bit

Wigle Whiskey celebrates its five year anniversary. Join the team at Wigle on April 7 and raise a glass to the first five years. Drink to their health with cocktails, listen to live music by Scott & Rosanna, and stick around for the very special release of 5-year-old Monongahela Rye Whiskey Barrel #1. For a bite, Pittsburgh Tortas will be on site vending tasty sandwiches. It’s at the Wigle Whiskey Distillery, 2401 Smallman Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. For more information, click here.


Wild, Wild Life

Things get wild after Gil’s mother dies in Colman Domingo’s “Wild with Happy.” The hilarious new play is about sending off a loved one in style. Catch it at the City Theatre, 1300 Bingham Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15203. For more information, click here.


Better Read than Dead

Picture it, Moscow, 1938, a dissident playwright, Mikhail Bulgakov, embarks on a surreal journey after he’s offered a poisoned chalice in exchange for freedom: write a play glorifying Stalin to celebrate his sixtieth birthday in the “Collaborators.” You can find the show at 6500 Hamilton Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206. For more information, click here.


Samurai Cat and other creatures

It’s time for the second annual Pittsburgh Japanese Film Festival. The festival features both new and classic films, across genres, showcasing the richness and diversity of Japanese cinema. Opening night, Friday April 7, is the Pittsburgh premiere of “Samurai Cat.” Come out and catch a movie at Row House Cinema, 4115 Butler Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15201. For more information, click here.


The Buzz from Buzzelli: Pittsburgh’s Top To Do’s (3/30 – 4/2)

Michael “Buzz” Buzzelli, “’Burgh Vivant

Talk about it

“WordPlay” returns.  It’s like the Moth with music. Storytellers reveal honest tales about themselves while a DJ spins music, using anything from Brahms to Beyonce.  You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll get an extremely intimate look into the life of a total stranger. It’s Friday and Saturday at the Bricolage, 937 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. For more information, click here.


Next stop, Baltimore

See Kirsten Greenidge’s play, “Baltimore,” about racial tensions on a college campus on an actual college campus.  The play tackles the complexities of racism in America from the perspective of eight different college students. “Baltimore” is here in Pittsburgh, at the Henry Heymann Theatre, 1617 Cathedral of Learning, 4200 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213. For tickets click here.


What an opening!

The Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall is having an open house on Sunday, April 2. An afternoon of events features tours of the Civil War Room (AKA the Espy Post, which is filled with Civil War memorabilia), free caricatures with Jeff Keenan, jazz, refreshments and more. At 3:00 PM the event will wrap up with a performance by Rhythm in Blue, the U.S. Air Force’s 18 piece jazz band. It’s at The Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, 300 Beechwood Avenue, Carnegie, PA 15106. For more information, click here.


The Bridges are Burning

The Burning Bridges Festival is heating up! On Friday, March 31, comedian James Adomian will come to town. He will be joined by some local funny men, Alex Stypula, Isaac Crow and John Dick Winters. Check them out at  Mr. Smalls, 400 Lincoln Avenue, Millvale, PA 15209 Fore more information, cklick here.


Math is hard

David Auburn’s Pulitizer and Tony-winning play “Proof” is going up this weekend.  Though math and science are strongly featured in the play, it all comes down to the relationship between one daughter and one father. It’s at the Genesius Theater, 600 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15219. For more information, click here.