2018 was a big year for Chanty Marostica.
The Toronto-based comic, originally from Winnipeg, won SiriusXM’s Top Comic contest, released the chart-topping comedy album The Chanty Show and headlined the Sydney Opera House, all while very publicly transitioning. On Feb. 1, they will do two shows at the Park Theatre, their first in their hometown since coming out.
Marostica says balancing a burgeoning comedy career and a rapidly changing personal reality has been challenging.
“There’s so much positivity, but people don’t think of the side of it that is I’m actually physically transitioning,” they say.
“I’m altering my body, and I’m altering also my body of work. It’s just a lot of work.”
Coming out after having become one of Canada’s best-loved comics has put Marostica in a unique position to effect political change simply by getting on stage, before they’ve told a single joke.
“I was this out, queer lesbian everybody is okay with and then I’m like, ‘Oh, by the way, I’m trans,’” they say.
“There (aren’t) really any out trans people at my level, because it’s hard for trans people to start out in comedy, but I was already there, I already did all the work and then was like, ‘By the way’ ... I give people no choice but to be positive and support trans people, because they’re like, ‘We love this person, but what are we if we don’t still love them?’”
Cory Falvo hosts a bi-weekly Monday night comedy open mic at the University of Winnipeg Garbonzo’s. They will also open for Marostica’s late-night Winnipeg show.
For Falvo, comedy played an important role in their own coming out.
“Comedy was how I came out to my friends,” they say.
“I had a few very close friends that I’d spoken to, and they knew. But when I was like, ‘Okay, I’m going to just come out and do it.’ It was like, ‘How can I do this like a Band-Aid?’ I had a lot of jokes and things that I found really humorous that I had written down, so it was like, ‘You know, I’m just gonna do a five-minute set on it.’
“Now it’s kind of nice. I get to define my identity publicly.”
Falvo says comedy is uniquely equipped to challenge deeply entrenched cultural ideas.
“I think it sort of has this Inception quality where you can make a point and you can frame it in a certain rhetoric so it sounds very agreeable to a person, and then it’s sort of inserted in their head in a more subtle way than just being like, ‘here’s my point,’” they say.
“Comedy can make you look at the things that are the most prevalent and the most scary ... but make you actually talk about them and think about them, because you’re laughing about them,” they say.
For Marostica, their Winnipeg shows are a chance to do exactly this – to talk about the scary stuff.
“Winnipeg has such a close tie to me and my heart,” they say.
“I haven’t been back since I recorded my album, so I haven’t been back since all these great things happened to me and coming out.
“I want to be able to share me.”
Catch The Chanty Show at the Park Theatre on Feb. 1 at 8 p.m. or 10:30 p.m. $20 advance tickets can be purchased at ticketfly.com.