Transgender entertainer Mandy Goodhandy aka Amanda Taylor is Canada’s first trans woman stand-up comedian. Mandy has been living as a trans woman for over twenty five years. Mandy co-owns and operates a Toronto nightclub named Club120, formerly known as Goodhandy’s Nightclub with business partner Todd Klinck. She runs North America’s longest running trans woman party (now in its 10th year) at Club120 every Thursday night from 8pm until 2am, for all trans women, friends, supporters and their admirers to socialize in a safe and friendly environment. In 2014 she took over the downstairs restaurant space at the same location naming it 120 Diner, turning the 120 Church St. location into a complex. 120 Diner features talented local and visiting musicians, comedians and a very popular karaoke night every Friday night at 11:00pm. The larger dance and live music events, booked by outside promoters, are booked upstairs at Club120 on weekends.
Mandy Goodhandy has also been accepted into the 2016 TD Toronto Jazz Festival
She will be the first trans woman to sing at the Festival.
TD Toronto Jazz Festival Artistic Director, Josh Grossman is quoted as saying:
“For me, one of the most exciting aspects of the jazz festival each year is the breadth of diversity represented on stage and in the audience. We welcome everyone to enjoy this music, regardless of age, ethnicity, culture, economic background or gender identity. I am constantly reminded that music is a universal language – it has the power to bring people together – and we’re proud to have Mandy performing under the TD Toronto Jazz Festival umbrella.”
She will be performing a number of songs, to get back in touch with her music theatre roots. Tickets can be purchased online here. Or you can call 120 Diner to make reservations in advance (416) 792-7725. The show will also be affiliated with Pride Toronto 2016 as it falls on Friday July 1st 9:00pm till 11:00pm, the main weekend of pride, and following the Toronto Pride Trans March. It also takes place after the Toronto trans march. Along with Mandy’s singing contribution, the show will feature some of Toronto’s top stand-up comics from the very successful Comedy Kapow show that happens each Friday night at the Diner.
She hosted her own weekly blog talk radio shows 2012 – 2014 with almost 100 shows and over 5,000 listeners. She interviewed a lot of people during that time, on a great variety of subjects that related to things in the LGBT community. She plans on starting the show up again soon, and dealing with even more subjects that she is now experiencing as a restaurant owner and entertainer.
Mandy’s comedic monologues have become a staple in the underground Toronto LGBT scene and in mainstream Canadian comedy clubs, including Yuk Yuk’s Toronto, Absolute Comedy Club, The Comedy Bar & of course her own comedy hub 120 Diner. The Diner has been voted as one of the top 10 comedy clubs in Toronto by BlogTO, Yelp & The Culture Trip. She has performed as a M.C., host and stand-up comic for a number of years first as a male/drag female performer (10 years) and finally a trans woman performer going on 20 years. She is the first Canadian trans woman to be accepted into SheDot, Toronto’s Festival of funny women. Mandy performed in the SheFresh and SheLBGT shows in 2015 at the Toronto Comedy Bar with headliner Margaret Cho. Mandy returns to Shedot 2016 with performances on Thursday April 28 at The Corner Comedy club and Friday April 29th at Comedy Bar, both in Toronto. Her weekly open-mic stand-up comedy show is held upstairs at Club120 on Wednesday nights from 10pm-1am.
Mandy works tirelessly to help people understand that trans people exist. Starting with government recognition, legal documentation and trans rights in general, “To be acknowledged and recognized by the mainstream is a big step towards educating people that we exist and also deserve basic human rights,” claims Mandy. “People fear what they do not understand, we need to make them understand how we feel and why we feel this way. I like to deliver my message with comedy wrapped in a humorous sometimes political message”. I am surprised at the number of people who come up to me after a show and say “I did not know that about trans people” or “thank you for telling me about that, I am always afraid to ask in case I am offending a trans person”.
She was groundbreaking as the first trans person to refuse to participate in the Canadian census 2001, claiming she would not participate in any survey, government run or otherwise, that did not include or recognize trans people. Documents here. with a recent blog post regarding the 2016 census.
She also organized the very first North American trans woman beauty pageant named “Miss Shemale World”, a one-time only event, held in Toronto Canada. The purpose of the pageant was to bring attention to the fact that trans women existed and needed to be recognized. She decided to go the beauty pageant route, as a way to attract media attention towards this goal, and succeeded. The title “Shemale” is no longer acceptable among mainstream trans people , but it was the only term known back in the late 90’s on the internet, and it was an important pageant at the time to draw attention to transgender women. Documents Article in Daily Xtra
Mandy’s first graphic novel The Adventures of Little Annie Tranny, a comic written by her with illustrations by acclaimed playwright John Herbert (Fortune in Men’s Eyes), was recently released in 2013. It started as an ongoing online comic on a trans woman website she owned in 1997. It is a comic strip adventure of a trans woman who works in a law office, and at night she goes out and fights transphobia and educates people about trans people. She is hoping to work on a second edition once she finds an illustrator who shares her vision of the work.
She also appeared in the Canadian feature film Sugar released in 2004. Amanda Taylor played herself as her aka Mandy Goodhandy. The film was directed by John Palmer, and written by Palmer, her business partner Todd Klinck and Jaie Laplante based on short stories by Bruce LaBruce. The film stared Andre Noble & Brendan Fehr, also included Marnie McPhail, Sarah Polley, Maury Chaykin, Alexander Chapman and Michael Riley.
The film received two nominations at the 2005 Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television’s 25th Genie Awards. Klinck, Laplante and Palmer were nominated in the Best Adapted Screenplay category, while Fehr was nominated for Best Supporting Actor.
She also appeared in a short film project by Todd Klinck in 2003 called LUNCH, uniquely as a trans woman playing the part of a mother/sex-worker cis woman, as opposed to the other way around which is normally the case in film and television. LUNCH was released via the web in April 2015.
She took part on an interview style show also with her business partner Todd Klinck, called “The needle exchange” discussing sex & politics with Dora awards nominee Keith Cole. All three parts can be seen here: Part one, Part two & Part three
Mandy’s one woman show, Tranny, a musical comedy, was also launched at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in 2015. “The title of my show was not meant to be derogatory regarding trans women/men,” states Mandy Goodhandy, “It had two meanings, one being it rhymed with the musical comedy show “Annie”, and the second being that the show was packed with humorous but important messages educating people about trans issues. Paul Bellini said of the show “Equal parts autobiography and political rant, Tranny is a unique and refreshing evening of theater. I’m not sure I’d call it a musical, but it does sing.” And Kevin Sweet (Journaliste Culturel\Arts Reporter Radio-Canada TV\CBC National News) ”
“I found the piece to be very insightful on many levels….politically, socially and personally.” Other reviews can be found at these links: The Theatre Reader & The Buzz Magazine
She is also a vocal advocate for the decriminalization of sex work and also uses the humorous side of sex-work in her comedy monologues, with hopes of educating people that sex wokers are human and even have a sense of humour like anyone else. Mandy was featured in SEX WORKER, TRUTH & ARCHETYPE, an independent art project at Nuit Blanche, produced by Barbara Greczny, Esther Buckareff and Michelle Breslin in October 2014 at Beaver Hall Gallery.
As the Grand Marshal for Toronto’s Pride Parade in 2010, with her business partner Todd Klinck, Mandy received the theme award that year “You Belong” at the annual awards banquet. It was the most controversial year for the Toronto Pride Parade. They were not the first choice for Grand Marshal, but they had a message to give and this was their chance to parade it in front of the world “Decriminalize Sex Work Now”. Articles: Digital Journal & Daily Xtra Video: CP24, LifeInMollywood & Matt Thomas for Fab Magazine
An active supporter of AIDS Committee of Toronto and many other local charities and fundraisers, Mandy hosted and produced the fundraiser “Where’s the Love?” for three consecutive years which raised more than $15,000. With the help of generous entertainers such as: Suzie McNeil, Scott Thompson, Gavin Crawford & Rick Mercer . Plus money was raised from the silent auctions, with donations from the likes of: Tamara Taylor , Amanda’s step-daughter who adopted her last name. Tamara donated a season of the successful TV show “Bones”, with signatures of the whole cast. Also a treasure trove of donations from prominent writer of stage and screen Brad Fraser.
For more information on Mandy Goodhandy aka Amanda Taylor, please visit the other links on this site.
VISIT MANDY GOODHANDY’S CLUB120 CLUB AND HER NEW 120 DINER ALL IN ONE COMPLEX AT 120 CHURCH STREET, TORONTO