Camp Tabu

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

Hello, my people, i have arrived. As my first assignment for the fabulous PhillyGayCalendar, I went to Camp Tabu at, well, of course, Tabu, in the gayborhood. The flier for the event billed it as their sixth installment and also a celebration of one of the hosts of the event’s, Alejandro Morales, birthday. They had me at hello with the flier that stated, “Here we are again on our own! Going down the only road we’ve ever known.” Anyone that wants to quote from the guilty pleasure song, “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake has my interest. Alejandro, with alter ego Shenanigans Hannigan, announced that this month’s event would include a massive amount of musical comedy.

Camp Tabu was started in October 2010, as a once a month event at Tabu, on the second Friday of the month for comedy of all kinds. Hosts Christine Meehan, who is also a co-host of “The Comedy Point” on WIFI 1460 am, and Alejandro Morales, who is also a grand columnist for the PhillyGayCalendar, only met last year.

When I asked Ms. Hannigan, Alejandro was in full alter ego mode all night, how he knew so quickly that he wanted to collaborate with Christine on this project, he said, “We both had momentum when we met and it worked.” While Morales, who hails from upstate New York, had a musical theater background, studying in NYC in the late 90’s, he stated that he “was too young, there was too much going on in NYC for an 18 year old” and he dropped out and moved back home and lived in mom’s basement. Who hasn’t been there? He finished his degree at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts in 2007 and started on his path of writing and performing stand up and performance art. He entered and won the “Gayborhood Games” in 2009 and that is what he views as an officical start. He went “balls out”, as it were, and contacted a gay standup hero of his, Brad Loekle, to be his mentor. Mr. Morales went to New York and did stand up much to the approval of his new mentor. It was with all of this momentum under his belt, that he decided to start Camp Tabu.

While I was helping a frenetic Christine Meehan set up for the event, she told me that she has only been performing “professionally” for the last three years but really has always been performing since she was little. She really wasn’t happy with the local comedy scene and felt that it was “lacking something”. She wanted “more feathers, more pizazz, more glitter.” As a gay man trapped inside the body of a straight woman, her words, not mine, but I can relate, she wanted to see more diversity in comedy in the Philly scene. She wanted to bridge the gap between gays and straights in comedy. She doesn’t really see herself as someone that fits into the mainstream and wanted to have a safe and fun place to express that.

And, so, Camp Tabu was born.

This past Friday night, it was their first time doing an all musical comedy event. I was told that it is usually stand up with a musical number thrown in here and there. With his love of musical theater and his 30th birthday fast approaching, Morales wanted to do something new. While Meehan is responsible for the conceptualization and day of the event semantics, Morales chooses the entertainment.

On this night, it was a diverse range of acts from sketch comedy/performance art with Comedy Dreamz, original songs from Rainbow Destroyer (zombie love songs sung by someone that I swear looks like a young Crispin Glover and partner), an awesome drag performance from a member of the local Dumpsta Players, original songs by Todd Chappelle (yes, Mr. Chappelle, you did officially ruin James Blunt’s “Beautiful” for me!), husband and wife team Emily and Micah McGraw and tour de force Avi Wisnia, who I might have fallen in love with.

In between acts, Shenanigans and Christine kept the banter up and the show moving. The space was awesome and the cover price of five bucks (with free drink ticket included) and drink specials made this a night that was well worth the money. As a gay that loves comedy and one that will maybe someday convince Alejandro to add me to the ever changing line up, Camp Tabu is an original, funny and awesome endeavour that will be around for a long time.

Bridget O’Loughlin is a parole officer by day and an amateur writer blogging by night at If any of you gays have something you want me to check out for you, please email me. I will try anything once…..within reason.

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