D’Lo Knows No Boundaries in Comedy and Travel
It’s Beaches and Cities for D’Lo When the Queer Tamil Sri L.A.nkan-American Goes On VacationTrans Sri Lankan Comedian D’Lo challenges audiences and making them laugh all the way as they rethink their perceptions of gender. (Photo: D’Lo)
It doesn’t hurt having friends in many places, especially if your life consists of being on the road much of the time, at least that’s what comedian D’Lo has found.
Knowing artists and activists in different cities allows the queer Tamil Sri L.A.nkan-American to not feel like such an outsider, he says. “It doesn’t feel like I’m a tourist or stranger coming in, but somebody who has some in with the community.”
“I’ve been fortunate, every city I’ve been to I will know someone who is an artist or somebody who is an activist,” says D’Lo, whose friends will give him the low down on their home town, what they hate and love about it and where they like to go as they cruise the streets before or after a show – if there is time.
“Through them I get to hear about the city…and check out parts of the city,” says D’Lo.
It gives D’Lo the chance to not see only the airport, hotel and venue before leaving to the next destination, which could too often be the case, he says.
D’Lo has been rocking the stage for more than 15 years with his hilarious stories about being queer and renditions of his mother since he leapt up onto the stage in college performing Hip Hop and spoken word.
It’s a charmed and lonely life, says D’Lo, who jumps at the chance to perform with other comedians to break up the lonely weeks of being on the road alone.
Which is why he’s excited to join comedian’s Julie Goldman and Belinda Carroll at the second annual EDEN Pacific Northwest, October 2 – 5, in Seaside, Oregon.
“I love the Pacific Northwest,” says D’Lo, who is looking forward to performing in the Oregon coastal town.
D’Lo is also making appearances on the small screen on HBO’sLookingand on tablets in webseries another San Francisco Bay Area-based dramedyDyke Central,Amazon’sTransparentand a Netflick’sSense8in 2015.
“All the work that I’ve gotten has been beautifully queer and beautifully allows me to be not just…transgender, but also playing transgender characters,” says D’Lo. “I feel very fortunate.”
The Funny Life
Always a “funny and goofy” kid, he self-identified as, he took his sense of humor to the college and off-campus stages in the late 1990’s during his college years. He started off performing Hip Hop and spoken word pieces, but found audiences responded to his stories about how his pieces came about.
“They ended up being a hit themselves, being these very comical stories about my life or just the whole range of things,” says D’Lo, who still hung onto his Hip Hop and spoke word roots for another three years.Comedian D’Lo performing as his mother, one of the many personas he dons during his shows. (Photo: sundaytimes.lk)
“I started valuing comedy,” says D’Lo, who discovered using “comedic stories to precipice more serious pieces.”During the early 2000’s, he slowly began transitioning until he took the final leap to become a full-time standup comedian in 2006.
That is where he began, “valuing the moment of reprieve, the little gaps and spaces of just being able to breathe through laughter” and respect his approach to the “world and the absurdities of how we live” in “a more introspective way,” that “felt more in line with how I am as a person,” he says.
“I don’t find myself, I never thought of myself as a serious person, but I would have these moments of introspection,” says D’Lo. “I felt more free doing comedy and tapping into serious issues but with a different angle.”
“Generally, in my life I try to be very light and joyous, even if there is a bunch of shit going on,” says D’Lo. “So, I felt like doing comedy was more in line with who I was as a person.”
D’Lo is all too aware that it’s a privilege to have a career as an out transgender comedian, so he doesn’t complain about the long lonely weeks on the road. He knows that there are many talented queer people out there who aren’t able to travel and perform as he does, he says. For that he is grateful. He celebrates when he is able to meet up with his friends or perform as a part of a lineup and is thankful for his fans that he meets through his travels.
“It is a privilege to be able to making a living doing something like this, but at the same time it is very lonely to be on the road,” says D’Lo, “which is why I like doing things where it’s not just me, where I get to be a part of a line up, or I get to hang out with other amazing comics.”
Sights On The Road
D’Lo loves seeing the world and basically wants to go everywhere.
“I want to go everywhere,” says D’Lo, who doesn’t believe that language or even being transgender is his biggest barrier as a performer or a traveler. “Everywhere that would like to have me.”
“The biggest barrier is always going to be how open someone’s mind is or…how open hearted they are and how open hearted I am,” says D’Lo, who is a fan of anyplace where he feels that he’s “in good community with beautiful people,” and “somewhere where I can walk around freely and not have to worry about anything.”
Out of all of the cities that he’s traveled to, D’Lo loves Toronto for its diverse community.
In D’Lo’s eyes, Torontoanians have developed the conversations and created a true melting pot of communities.“I really love going to Toronto,” says D’Lo. “Toronto is one of the most incredible cities.”
“Their own people have created a city that thrives off of the many different immigrant and Native American communities that have settled there,” says D’Lo. “That city would not be as unique as it is if it weren’t for the people really working hard to create community for one another.”
When D’Lo wants to step away from the hot lights of the stage and rejuvenate he looks for beaches, so when he can combine the two, he’s thrilled.
He’s looking forward to checking out Seaside during EDEN PNW, he says, but he’s really got his eyes on touring Asia and Southeast Asia.
“I love going to any island with a beautiful beach,” says D’Lo, about the shores that remind him of his ancestral home, Sri Lanka.
Tickets are still available for the Saturday night dinner and comedy show October 4 at the Twisted Fish (311 Broadway Street, 503-738-3467, TwistedFishSteakhouse.com). Dinner begins at 7:30 p.m., separate reservations required and ask to be seated with the EDEN PNW group. Show begins at 9 p.m. Tickets: .
For more information, visit EDENPNW.com.
Full Disclosure: Heather Cassell is the marketing and sponsorship director of EDEN Pride Events, which co-produces EDEN Pacific Northwest. The Seattle Lesbian, also a co-producer of EDEN PNW is also a publishing partner with Girls That Roam.