Comedian Justin Sayre has recently announced that the eighth season of his comedic variety show, The Meeting*of The International Order of Sodomites, will be its last. The critically lauded and sold-out performances celebrated venerated gay icons and hosted a dazzling array of guest stars. Ushering in the final season, Sayre is releasing his debut comedy album, The Gay Agenda, which preserves the show's outrageous humor, unflinching political discourse, and fearless cultural explorations.
"The Meeting* is, first and foremost, about community and, more than anything else, I think we have really created one around the show itself," Sayre tells Out. The shows have taken place at Joe's Pub and 54 Below in New York, as well as the Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles and Oasis in San Francisco.
Though The Meeting* has achieved great success, the whole thing started on a whim. "I wanted to write something for myself, and I was really interested in creating a space to talk about gay politics and culture in a fun and funny way," says Sayre. "I asked friends if they thought it would be a funny idea and then just started doing it. From there it kept going, trying new things, failing a couple times, but always keeping the heart of the show."
On The Gay Agenda, fans of Sayre and newcomers will respond to how well he walks the line between irreverence and sincerity. "Everything at The Meeting* is locked in a sense of reality, and a tone that says being gay or queer isn't just fine and great, it may even be better. I think that's still a novel approach," says Sayre. To craft his brand of comedy, he reflects on a quote from his hero Elaine Stritch: "You got to be real to be funny." For Sayre, comedy isn't solely about the laughs. "I don't think you can make people laugh when you don't talk to their pain," he says. "You just have to figure out how to walk that line. It's the place I find the most fun."
To create The Gay Agenda, Sayre had to chose from a lot of recorded material. "The record was really a greatest hits moment for us," he says. "It's been an amazing ride, and I think the selections for the album really reflect all that the show is. It's a slice of the much larger pie, and I'm very happy with it."
But the final season of The Meeting* and the album aren't the end of the road for Sayre. "I will be concentrating on more writing. Two new plays this year and another book next year. Plus some projects for TV and film. But I would like to come back to Joe's Pub, which has been my home base now for three years, as a solo artist. I think that's the next step for me."
The Gay Agenda is available on iTunes and will be in stores on September 16. The final season of The Meeting* kicks off with a celebration of Beyonce on September 18 at Joe's Pub. Click here for more information. Purchase tickets to The Meeting*'s November 5 show in San Francisco here.