Laugh out loud with our Pride 2022 Celebration!

Highlighting LGBTQIA+ Artists

Arcade Comedy Theater values queer voices. On our stages, in our classes, and working here behind the scenes. In honor of Pride Month, we are shining a bigger spotlight on the amazing comedic artists in the LGBTQIA+ community. Productions listed on this page are produced by or star queer artists from all over the Pittsburgh comedy community — this year, our performances are back, in-person, indoors for the first time since 2019! 

Arcade strives to be an inclusive and welcoming space for everyone, as it’s the only way to truly elevate and advance the art of comedy. Laughs for all!

Pride Show Schedule:

  • Friday, June 10: Jess Salomon
  • Saturday, June 11: Jess Salomon
  • Thursday, June 16: Bracket Night
  • Friday, June 17: The Big Queer Improv Show
  • Saturday, June 18: Lez Be Honest
  • Saturday, June 18: Knights of the Arcade
  • Saturday, June 25: Brazen and Black
  • Saturday, June 25: The Playlist

June 10 – 11

Arcade Comedy Theater presents headlining comedian Jess Salomon — a New York-based Canadian comedian, who has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

Jess handles dark, sometimes dirty and often political topics with a light touch. She’s done lots of cool festivals including Just for Laughs, JFL42, and the New York Comedy Festival where she recorded her debut album, “All the Best Choices” with label, 800 Pound Gorilla. You can also check out her comedy special, “Marriage of Convenience” recorded at Just for Laughs with her wife,  on the Just for Laugh’s YouTube page.

Fun fact: before comedy Jess used to be a U.N. war crimes lawyer. The jury is still out on whether this was a good move.

$20 general admission
$15 for college students
BYOB (for guests 21+)
Suitable for ages 18+
Masks and proof of vaccination required

Friday June 10 at 8PM

Saturday June 11 at 8PM

Bracket Night: Gaga vs Madonna

Thursday, June 14 at 7:30PM

It’s Pride month, which means it’s time to celebrate being born this way! Join Bracket Night’s panel of experts in deciding the BEST SONG: MADONNA VS GAGA. Your panelists, Trevor C Miles, Bobby Ficco and Drag Mirage, James Jamison, and Anna Failla will talk through each round while you, the audience, vote along to determine the winner. There may be singing, there may be dancing, there will be sequins.

Tickets: $12 per person

The Big Queer Improv Show

June 17 at 8:00PM

The Big Queer Improv Show celebrates featuring improv by Pittsburgh’s queerest and funniest improvisers. Each show features a queer performer whose life’s story inspires improvised mayhem. Our guest for this show is Chrissy Costa, a comedian, writer, and humor columnist known for her dry wit, self-deprecating humor, and big earrings. Before doing standup she studied sketch comedy at Chicago’s famed Second City, where she wrote alongside Vanessa Bayer. She produces an all-female comedy show called the Broad Squad, in an attempt to highlight more female voices in comedy. Featured improvisers: Raina Deerwater, Anna Failla, Jon Marek, Frank McDade, Lisa Moucheron, Andee O’Brien, Bob Rudenborg, Alexa Schwartz and Peggy Walkush.

Tickets: $15 per person

Lez Be Honest: Storytelling Improv Show

June 18 at 8:00PM

Lez be honest, we got stories. Join us for a new Pride Month Show, featuring several storytellers sharing queer confessions that will inspire improvisers to perform long-form, pretty, witty, and gay improv. Produced by Alexa Schwartz

Tickets: $15 per person

Knights of the Arcade

June 18 at 9:30PM

Knights of the Arcade is a monthly RPG-based improv comedy show. Help Stone Cold the morally bankrupt dwarf, Abbott Costello the kung-fu monk, Jimmy the wormslaying rogue, Liz the sorceress, Fisticuffs the kangaroo fighter, and Bardly Cooper the bard as they battle giant sloths, goblins, the evil Shrunta Klops, their own personal demons, and whatever our demented audience dreams up. This month’s show features special guest improv duo The Butch and the Bi!

Tickets: $15 per person

Brazen and Black

June 25 at 8:00PM

A Celebration of Black Female Infused Comedy – Shaun McCarthy presents a special night of stand-up comedy featuring some of the funniest women and femmes that Pittsburgh has to offer.

Tickets: $15 per person

The Playlist

June 25 at 9:30PM

The Playlist takes a local Pittsburgh band and sets them loose in a comedy show! You’ll hear some live, original music and then see comedy scenes inspired by the lyrics and tales from the band. It’s a concert and comedy show all-in-one!

Tickets: $15 per person

The History of Pride on Liberty Ave

By John Feightner
Arcade Historian

Liberty Avenue is pretty gay. Since 2007 downtown Liberty has been the home of Pittsburgh’s Pride celebration “Pride in the Streets.” But it was never just a random location. Liberty Avenue between 9th and 10th is home to a number of clubs and bars friendly to the LGBTQ+ population. So noticeable in fact, that the American version of Queer as Folk (2000-2005) used the street as its backdrop to explore the lives of modern day homosexuals. In June 2013, as people everywhere wondered how the Supreme Court would fall on same-sex marriage, that stretch of Liberty hosted the rally titled “RIOT or REJOICE,” an eventual celebration.

Today you can find There: Ultra Lounge, 941 Saloon and after-hours club Tilden (linked to House of Tilden, one of Pittsburgh’s oldest gay clubs from the 70’s owned by Robert ‘Lucky’ Jones who ran the majority of gay friendly establishments in his time). But this tradition has been going on for a while. Pegasus shuttered its doors in 2009 but had been staple of the scene since Pittsburgh struck down its sodomy laws with Commonwealth vs Bonadio in 1980. Stretching back a little bit further and you also find the Venture Inn at 923 Liberty. And while it may have been more for straight people trying to get a “rub & tug,” The Aardvark Studio II at 943 Liberty Avenue was a known illegal massage parlor in the 70’s and 80’s owned by Dante “Tex” Gill, born Lois Jean Gill. Dante much preferred to be called “Mr. Gill,” dressed in men’s clothes, and was married to a Cynthia Bruno. A transgender business owner in downtown Pittsburgh, even if he was on the shady side of the law.

Mr. Gill is gone, so is Pegasus, and Pride found its way to the Andy Warhol Bridge, but that doesn’t mean Liberty Avenue has gotten any less gay. Right where Aardvark Studio stood, Arcade Comedy Theater has been a home for queer comedians of every stripe of the Pride Flag. From the very beginning the comedy theater has made sure to show how inclusive they can be, forming an all queer pick-up improv team, LGTBQ*Bert, in 2013. Cast with only five members at the time, the kaleidoscope of comedians eventually reached the heights of nearly 30 performers. When not performing at The ArGAYde Comedy Show, or their own self-titled shows, members of LGTBQ*Bert are on several house teams at the theater and even work as front end staff. But that’s not the only show to regularly find itself on Arcade’s stages. Since 2015, Arcade has hosted the sell-out Golden Girls Live! where queer male actors portray the titular foursome in live readings of classic episodes. 2018 marked the first year Arcade had a monthly drag show, produced and performed by local Schwa de Vivre. And Donatella began an all-queer variety show to bring in performers that fit outside the regular improv and stand-up boxes.

With its pursuit to bring Laughs for All, Arcade Comedy Theater (and Liberty Ave) can only get gayer.