On March 20, Diving Bell Social Club hosted LA-based comedian Cara Connors and opener Inés Anaya for one of the last stops on Connors’ North American Straight for Pay tour. The hour-long set hilariously captured elements of modern queer experiences—from exploring one’s identity to navigating dating apps to incessant requests for threesomes with straight couples.
Connors grew up in Los Angeles and moved to Toronto for graduate school at the University of Toronto, where she discovered the city’s robust comedy scene. When they initially got into comedy, Connors identified as straight and was married to a man. Connors told me how her time living in Toronto played a role in the development of her comedic voice, which developed in tandem with her sexuality and gender identity.
“I think it’s fair to say that Canada made me gay,” Connors said. “I think that is an objective, accurate statement.”
While Connors has plenty of experience in different areas of comedy––boasting numerous writing credits and performances on projects like E!’s Dating: No Filter and several CBC comedy series––stand-up remains their true love. Straight for Pay initially premiered at the New York Comedy Festival before the pandemic. When restrictions were first relaxed, Connors organized a monthly show in LA alongside other queer comedians and a few token allies. When the time was right, they decided they were ready to take it across the continent.
“As an extreme girl boss and Taurus, I knew that I needed to go my own way,” Connors said. “So then I was like, okay, I feel ready. I have this hour, I feel like it’s sharp. I feel like people will come and see it. I’ll just put the work into making sure that people come and see it. And now I’m really proud of it.”
As a queer comedian, Connors is very intentional about the venues and audiences she pursues. When planning the tour’s stops, she tried to choose progressive cities with large queer populations, where she knew a queer comedy scene already existed in some capacity. Unlike the average smaller-scale stand up night, the majority of tickets are snapped up before the official sale.
“It’s like they’re coming to see this show to see me––they’re not just like ‘Oh, I love going to the Guffaw Barn and seeing what ancient dinosaur they can pull out who has some horrific take on the Me Too movement in the same 10 minutes he’s had for the last 10 years,” Connors said. “People are like, let me come and see this weird gay cowboy.”
As a result, Connors’ crowds tend to represent the diversity of queer spaces, reflecting her content’s relatability. Connors enjoys seeing the different groups of people who come to her shows, from hip Gen Z-ers to 75-year-old lesbian therapists, to name a few.
“They’re like, I got my ex-girlfriend’s’ ex-girlfriend to watch my child that I had with a different ex-girlfriend. And we’re in a polyamorous family couples’ share, they’re gonna watch our gender fluid baby so that we can come and see this show. The fucking energy is so sick,” Connors said. “That’s what I want the world to be––I’m like great, can we make this the majority? It’s really a plot for the gay agenda.”
As for what fans can look forward to in the future, Connors hopes to take Straight for Pay overseas, and eventually develop a new set for other demographics who need some gay comedy in their lives.
“Maybe I’ll just do a tour on retiree cruises too––I don’t know, maybe I’ll take it on every Disney Cruise and I’ll start there,” Connors said. “I’ll only perform on cruises that exit out of Florida or Texas. Because there’s a lot of things happening there. Obviously, it’s a dystopian nightmare. So yeah, I think I have no choice.”