Thank You For Coming Out (TYFCO) inspires authenticity and belonging by uplifting and centering LGBTQIA+ stories and identities.
Through empowering LGBTQIA+ people and our allies, we are building a strong and interconnected community where every person knows they are an integral part of creating a just world.
It was 2015 and the all-queer improv show There’s No Place Like Home at the Magnet Theater had recently retired and Pride month was approaching quickly with no celebration on the books yet. I asked the artistic director about this and they asked me: Do you want to produce something? I’d never produced a show before but in true improv-yes, and spirit, I said YES and they proceeded to give me a June slot on a Monday at 10:30pm…probably the literal worst time for a show ever but I’d make it work. And, instead of just a suggestion from the audience, I decided to queer it up a bit and have people share coming out stories and then a group of LGBTQ+ improvisers would bring those stories to life with improv and musical improv. Yes, musical improv. We’d make a musical up on the spot. Now we needed a name. A few years earlier I’d dabbled in standup and had a joke thanking the audience for coming out on a snowy day and then said something like you know, no one ever thanked me when I came out…My best friend Dolce suggested I use part of that joke as the name: Thank You For Coming Out. It fit the show perfectly. Done.
Our first Thank You For Coming Out show sold out (remember, 1030 on a Monday night) which was exhilarating and I got curious: was this because it was Pride month or were we on to something? So we tried the show again in August on a Monday night at 10:30 and it sold out again. And thus began our monthly run at The Magnet Theater. Eventually our community grew so much and there were so many folks wanting to play in our safer, affirming, joyful space that in 2017 we expanded to a second night at The People’s Improv Theater. What I love about this show is that we have folks on stage ranging from beginners to professional improvisers and Broadway stars (a perk of a Monday show) playing together and taking care of folks’ stories and experiences. Our cast is never the same, we never rehearse, we make everything up on the spot, and we always have a blast. Playing with an all-LGBTQ+ cast creates a space where folks’ queerness is the magic of the scene, not the butt of the joke.
In 2018 a comedy acquaintance and producer Bobby Hankinson approached me on behalf of Gay City News, the country’s largest LGBTQ newspaper and asked if I’d be interested in turning Thank You For Coming Out into a podcast. I’d never hosted a podcast before but in true improv-yes, and spirit, I said YES and thus our podcast was born! Guests share their coming out and coming-into-self stories & experiences and then we discuss identity, family, community, and whatever else organically appears. We’ve now had three seasons and guests ranging from my friends who are teachers, writers, marketers, and comedians to folks like Glennon Doyle, Adam Rippon, David Burtka, Joey Soloway, and Sara Bareilles for our first-ever ally episode. Each episode creates a pathway to visibility and representation of what can be and illuminates that even if our stories or identities are different, we are connected through our experiences as humans.
Thank You For Coming Out has played shows, festivals, universities, and conferences in multiple states across the country, taught workshops, partnered with the Tony Award-winning Broadway show Fun Home, and held fundraisers for different LGBTQ non-profits where we’ve raised thousands of dollars for them.
In 2022, TYFCO re-branded and re-launched to make an even bigger and deeper impact. Now, including the improv shows, workshops, and podcast, we offer DEIB trainings, consulting, and other custom programming built to create a more equitable and just world.
I’m so glad you’re on this journey with me; it’s been so special and I can’t wait for what’s next!
Our first show for Pride at the Magnet Theater
Our first Pride festival at the Magnet Theater
We expanded to the People’s Improv Theater
We launched our podcast produced by Gay City News
TYFCO re-launched and re-branded to make even more of an impact
We want a world where not only are our identities celebrated but the journeys to get there are, too. “Life is journey, not a destination”- Ralph Waldo Emerson
When we are able to show up as our authentic selves, not only do we have room to do our best work, but we inspire others to be the ever-evolving, favorite versions of themselves, too.
We’re all in this together. Let’s find where our stories connect and use that as fuel to show up for each other to create real and tangible change.
A teacher once shared: laughter is the lubricant of the mind and helps you intake and process information more easily. When we let go of “what should be” and focus on “what could be,” our worlds open up and a sense of possibility becomes real.