Bob Morrissey doesn’t fit the mold, regardless of what that mold is for. “I’m a bad gay,” he says. “I don’t get involved in anything gay other than standup and talking about my gay sex life on stage in front of people.” He prefers the slower pace of a coffee shop, scribbling in his ever-present notebook, his flat affect dropping a joke that doesn’t hit you immediately. Unlike the comedians who ham it up and jump around on stage and in conversation, Bob is thoughtful, methodical, dry and introverted. He moved to Houston from Chicago to drive a taxicab in the suburb of Pasadena. He’s a gay veteran with a history degree and a cat named Mrs. Kisses. Bob thinks he’s a bad gay, but he’s actually perfect, so exactly who he should be — we queers contain multitudes. We are weird and human, fragile and resilient, and outside of the fact that we all recognize Carly Rae Jepsen as our perfect and a fearless leader, we are all unique, celebrating pride in different ways.
It’s fitting, then, that Bob’s popular weekly comedy show at The Secret Group is called Gay Shame Parade. Like Bob, the title is gently self-deprecating, offbeat, and authentic. A noted favorite of previous Vocal Local, Bill Arning, Game Shame Parade is, “by gays, probable gays, and people we wish were gay,” held every Monday and hosted/produced by Bob Morrissey and fellow comics, Drew Holloway and Jamal Rahal. A steadfast and genuine supporter of the Houston comedy scene, but his recent third place win in the Best Comic in Houston contest show that he’s more than just a “comic’s comic.” Bob avidly weaves his part into the cultural fabric of Houston, and the fact that he identifies as somewhat of an outsider is precisely why his contributions carry more weight. We need a gay superhero who talks about PTSD and depression in between sex jokes. We need a queer icon who can shift effortlessly between esoteric political philosophy while doodling pictures of his cat.
When he’s not at Black Hole or on stage telling jokes, you can usually find him at Poison Girl, Catbirds, or getting his two hours of daily reading in at Half Price Books in Montrose. A huge fan of Catastrophic Theatre, Bob also holds our museums dear, from The CAMH to Project Row Houses, to The Blaffer and The Menil. His pseudo-ironic, partly-serious goal for Houston comedy is that, “the rest of the world will take notice and we’ll all become famous and I won’t have to wait tables anymore.”
Though you can catch Bob serving at Pondicheri on the regular, catching him on stage is the real treat. He name drops nearly every Houston comic and explains why they’re so great, but every single one of those comics would have even more to say about Bob. Even when he’s not expertly molding jokes out of clay like a gayer Patrick Swayze in Ghost, this introvert is still at home on stage and wants to see more performance in Houston of the comedy persuasion and otherwise. “I love Grown Up Story Time at Rudyards, but I wish there were other places where people could read the types of things people share there.”
Watch Bob share his own stories by following him on Twitter and Instagram at @BoringOldBob and @GayShameParade and head to The Secret Group every Monday at 7:30.