Until his thirties stand-up comedian Juuso Kekkonen used to think he was a heterosexual man. Then his girlfriend came out as transgender and went through gender reassignment. Kekkonen’s stand-up show Queer Homo is a story about what happens next. Kekkonen tells us what the audience at Brighton Fringe should expect.
How would you describe Queer Homo?
“It is a different kind of love story. I started to work on it six years ago. I identified myself as a monogamous heterosexual until I was almost thirty. Then I fell in love with a trans man. Queer Homo is a deep dive into how I became openly queer, polyamoric, kinky, and happy. The show is very topical because of the discussions in recent years about sexual diversity. The show has changed my life and transformed my career.”
How easy it is to make fun about your own life?
“It is easier to make fun about my life, than not to do it. I don’t know how other people manage to stay sane. For me, it is important, that I am able to laugh at myself together with others. People tend to think it brings something negative in their lives if they reveal something personal about themselves. During my show I am naked a little while. The idea came from my dislike towards my body. I used to think I was stupid, fat, and ugly. This show has made my body image more positive, which has been very empowering.”
What inspired you to create Queer Homo?
“After my partner told me he was a transman, I knew I was going to create something on this experience. Its form, and the level of personality are inspired by a stand-up show by Henry Rollins. His show lasted for three hours without a break. Rollins didn’t even stop to drink water. When I walked outside after the show I realised, this is what I also wanted to do.”
Brighton Fringe is the largest arts festival in England. What are your expectations of it?
“It will be interesting to see what kind of mindset people have, when they come see my show. Sometimes people expect a freak show. They come to see this weird dude, who tells weird stories. This is a wholly acceptable way to see my show. I have never been in Britain before and have strong intentions to act as much like a tourist as possible.”
How do you expect the British audience will react to your show?
“My sense of humour has been greatly influenced by British comedians, such as Monty Python and Eddie Izzard. The things I speak about on stage are not culture-bound. They are about what it means to be human. I would be surprised if the British audience wouldn’t buy it.”
Queer Homo by Juuso Kekkonen. Address: The Old Market – Waterloo Room, 11A Upper Market St, Brighton, BN3 1AS. Performances: 28/5 19:00, 29/5 20:00. Admission £8.50—£10.50.
Interview: Veera Heinonen
Photo: Mira Eskelinen & Myrtti Lehtinen