Scott Fillmore has been funny his whole life, queer a more difficult time to calculate and pursuing comedy seriously since fall of 2020.

Wise Gays: Scott Fillmore and Queer Comedy in SLC

Performance & Theatre

I initially set out to do a story on the Rainbow Whale of 9th and 9th, but as I thought about monumentally gay things in the community, my mind drifted to local comedian Scott Fillmore.

“Right away, I made sure all of the queer comics I knew got stage time; that was always the priority," says Fillmore.
Photo courtesy of Scott Fillmore

I stopped by Wiseguys comedy club for Open Mic Wednesday, a weekly mic that anyone can hop on for three minutes. In between 9/11 jokes (never forget) and an absolute misfire of a miscarriage joke, Fillmore commands laughter from the audience with his wry commentary on straight relationships and brunch. A crowd of  about 100 erupts in laughter, and chatting after the show, Fillmore and I agree that is pretty cool for an open mic.

Fillmore has been funny his whole life, queer a more difficult time to calculate and pursuing comedy seriously since fall of 2020. “I cashed my 401k and started doing comedy full-time, posting my own sketches to social media and going to open mics around town,” Fillmore says. My personal favorite is a TikTok series featuring SLUG’s own Contributing Writer Sam D’Antuono—it’s half cooking and half comedy as Scott attempts to fatten Sam up ‘til they can date.

“I cashed my 401k and started doing comedy full-time, posting my own sketches to social media and going to open mics around town.”

Seeing that there was little comedy specifically for the queer community in Utah and at a phase in his comedy career where he wanted to do more than just open mics or the occasional tight five at a show, Fillmore put together a showcase of his own at The Sun Trapp. “Right away, I made sure all of the queer comics I knew got stage time; that was always the priority,” he says. “Obviously, our crowd was going to be largely gay people, so I wanted this to be for them.”

Soon, Fillmore began working with Artel Talent, a company that puts on drag shows. Out of this partnership came the idea to have the queens go shopping with Fillmore’s straight comic friends, picking out outfits, makeup and planning a drag makeover for them. Enter Labia Menorah, Glittoris, Madam Sandler, Ally Gations and Fillmore as Chedda Squeeze. “Since then, I have paid more attention to drag. Traveling a lot, you realize every city has its own drag community and it’s a really special thing. I haven’t met a drag queen that isn’t naturally funnier than most comics I know,” Fillmore says.

“Nothing has made me more comfortable about being gay than doing comedy," says Fillmore.
Photo courtesy of Scott Fillmore

While I wonder aloud if there isn’t something inherently funnier about being gay, Fillmore’s already reflected on this deeply. Having suppressed that part of himself entirely until serving his two-year mission (the gayest thing you can do), for Fillmore, humor was a great distraction when he was uncomfortable—diffusing tension and distracting people. “The good part is [that] once you openly join the LGBTQ+ community, it’s a really fun part of our interactions,” he says. “Everyone knows how to have a good time [and] how to deal with tense situations. What was once a coping mechanism becomes a really rad personality trait.”

“Traveling a lot, you realize every city has its own drag community and it’s a really special thing.”

Fillmore is largely straight presenting, so lots of his material is about not yet feeling super comfortable in the gay community. “Nothing has made me more comfortable about being gay than doing comedy. I’m forcing myself to talk about it in front of strangers and confront things I’m worried about,” he says. He wants to create a community of queer comedy in SLC, which is great because no one else can afford therapy either.

This month, Fillmore created the first-ever Pride comedy show at Wiseguys. Catch Scott Fillmore hosting on June 9 with Utah’s own Ryan Erwin, Daniel Spencer and drag performances from Tara Lipsynki and Lilia Maughn. Follow Fillmore @grindrngrill on Instagram for more information.

Read more on the SLC LGBTQ+ community:
Bold & Beautiful – SLUG LGBTQ+: Lux Saint Diamond
Band Together: Creating Community For Trans People with Genderbands