A sure sign of the ongoing recovery from the devastating COVID-19 pandemic is the joyous return of out comedian Ike Avelli’s freewheeling 50 Shades Of Gay tour to the live stage, starting tonight at the famous Fringe Festival in Providence, RI. Ike’s adult-themed variety show, which has played to sold-out audiences all over the country, is ready to roll with brand-new skits, songs, and uproarious stand-up routines for theatergoers eager to enjoy a night on the town. Joining Ike in Providence is film star, vocalist, and LGBTQ advocate Tym Moss, co-star of the hit gay musical movie Junk, and designer/drag diva extraordinaire Viki Villainess, who co-hosts the hugely popular Shade Parade podcast. For the sixth anniversary year of 50 Shades, Ike has much hilarity cooking. “I took a look at the show, and brought a lot of things up-to-date,” Ike tells The Hollywood Digest. “There’s 80% new material in this year’s tour, and of course, I have fantastic guest stars in each city. I wanted to include local talent at each stop, and you’ll see that wherever we go.”
After the Providence engagement, which runs through Saturday, 50 Shades Of Gay comes to NYC’s Triad Theater on August 7 and 8, where Ike and Tym will be joined by athlete, international recording artist and drag queen Jackie Dupree. Once they’ve sliced up the Big Apple, the troupe picks up its bells and heads for Orlando, Florida’s fabulous Abbey to welcome comedienne, award-winning filmmaker and stage performer Fran Sisco and singer/drag entertainer Eleanora Diamond on August 28. Several additional cities and dates are pending for September. Proud sponsors Uberlube and the law firm of E. Martin Davidoff help make it all happen.
Wherever the show goes, even with year-to-year changes, some hallmarks of 50 Shades remain, such as audience participation. “I love engaging with the audience,” Ike says, “and there are chances to win all kinds of prizes.” It might be a play on the classic Name That Tune game show, or simply an off-the-cuff quiz by Ike himself, but it’s always hysterically funny. Ike has been doing comedy since 2009, when he made an impromptu performance at his company Christmas party. Since then, the funnyman has never looked back, going on to pen a delightfully tongue-in-cheek memoir called A Year In The Life Of Ike Avelli, And It Ain’t Pretty and keeping homebound fans entertained during the pandemic with his Zoom series, Live! In Bed With ike Avelli.’
In addition to 50 Shades Of Gay, Ike recently teamed up with with accomplished journalist Eileen Shapiro and celebrity photographer Billy Hess to launch Shut Up And Drive, an offbeat video series where the trio captures celebrities and holds them hostage while ferrying them to their gigs. Ike is always pushing his envelope, keen to develop new diversions for the LGBTQ comminuty, and the whole world sat large. You can discover more about Ike and follow all his exploits on his website. Wherever Ike goes, smiles and laughter are sure to follow.