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Laugh Out Proud with VIDEO: Headliner Janice Remland was raised by drag queens in a Hawaiian ghetto

SAN DIEGO – Comedy headliner Janice Remland will take the stage at Martinis Above Fourth on May 12, when they once again host the newest comedy troupe catering to the LGBT community: Laugh Out Proud Comedy Show.

In an exclusive interview with San Diego Gay & Lesbian News, Remland discusses her Hawaiian childhood, being raised by drag queens, her crazy life and her upcoming Laugh Out Proud Comedy Show appearance.

Speaking with Remland you get the sense that she is constantly "on" as a comedian. Whether its on purpose, or just a natural reaction, she replies to most of her answers with jokes … and they are funny.

The Hawaiian “Hood” & Drag Queens

Remland's family has lived in Hawaii for five generations. If you have been fortunate enough to visit, then odds are you consider her lucky and perhaps have even wished that you had grown up on one of its many islands.

“I grew up in Oahu, and even though I had nothing to compare it to, I really liked our diverse culture and all the different food,” she said. “My family is very mixed. I am mainly part Portuguese, Native American, and Hawaiian.”

She traces her comedic roots to her crazy upbringing, and being able to use laughter as a positive coping mechanism.

“Even though I am multi-ethnic, I am fair-skinned, so I was always the fish out of water in Hawaii,” Remland said. “That and, as I like to joke with my husband, he was raised by apes, and I was raised by drag queens, who in Hawaii are called 'mahus'.

“Plus I lived in the ghetto. People don’t think there is a 'hood' in Hawaii, but there is a really tough one. If you know Samoans you know what I mean,” she added with a laugh. "Finding humor in all the tragedy and hardship, and having all mahu friends who always had the best cutting edge humor, I just naturally fell into comedy.”

Although she left Hawaii for California’s shores 22 years ago, Remland returns home at least once a year. She currently resides in Temecula, but her first home in the state was in Los Angeles.

“I came out here for acting and first landed in Torrance, but then I got a boyfriend who happened to be half Hawaiian and we lived in Manhattan Beach,” she recalled. “When we broke up, I went to Inglewood, back to the 'hood just like in Hawaii.”

While in L.A., Remland acted in a few commercials and made cast appearances in TV shows like the “Power Rangers.”

“I was also on ‘America’s Most Wanted’ … and no, they were not looking for me, I was a victim in a reenactment,” Remland said. “I was also the hoochie who got shot while making out with the sheriff in the closet on an episode of ‘Silk Stocking.’ We both died in the first scene.”

Somewhere along the way, Rembland gave birth to her first child and moved to San Diego in the early 90’s. When her daughter was two, Remland started taking the train up to the Paramount Studios for comedy “training.”

“They were so impressed with my dedication, but I just wanted to get out of the house,” she said laughing. “That was right about 15 years ago, when I was also a cheerleader at the Pond in Anaheim, and I got pregnant.

“I already had a 5-year-old and was told I was having twins, so I gave up life,” Remlandjoked. “No I kid, I moved to Temecula. I was looking for a laid-back atmosphere and I was in mommy mode for a couple of years.”

Her twins, now almost 16, have grown up in Temecula where Rembland and her third husband still live. She laughed when thinking about how long she has “collectively” been married.

Is the third time the charm for her?

“No, I just got too old and tired so I had to stop looking. I have given up on my appearance, I don’t want to have to do my hair, and I don’t want to start dating, so that’s why I stay married.

“I joke with my husband that he should thank my mother for giving me low self-esteem, because that’s why I married him,” she adds. “But it’s a joke. In the beginning, when I first got married, I used to think ‘no you should not joke about that,’ but now I don’t care. I had some tough personal times growing up, and now I can joke about them.”

Back on the Stage

Although Remland laid low for 15 years because of the twins, she took a workshop at the Comedy Store in La Jolla two years ago and started getting back into comedy.

“Right after I completed the course, I heard about a contest at the Improv, which is now Pechanga’s Comedy Club,” she said. “The first round in the ‘So You Think You’re Funny’ contest was determined by the audience. I was not about to get embarrassed, though, and I did not bring anyone.

“Then I was totally surprised I won, and when I came back to battle it out with the other finalists, I brought all my friends and won again. For winning, I got a one-week gig and opened for Ralph Harris, it really opened the doors for me. Now when Ralph comes to town, he always requests me.”

“I started living again,” she added. “I mean it wasn’t like I wanted to stop working, and I did a few things along the way, I just wasn’t focusing on any of those things then. Now comedy is my full-time job.”

Her favorite comedy topics are Hawaii’s ghettos and judgmental people, which she said, is code for her mother-in-law.

“Much to the disappointment of my husband who married a comedian, my mother-in-law is my favorite person to joke about,” Remland said. “She is always judgmental. She does the passive-aggressive thing, where I think she just puts me down, but I am not quite sure. It’s not that bad now, but it does make for good comedy. Plus, I have lived a crazy life.”

If Remland could choose just one word to describe both her lifestyle and her comedy, it would be “different.”

Laugh Out Proud Comedy Show

“I am so excited about the growing comedy scene in San Diego,” Remland said. “There is such a need for it, and there are so many great venues. I can go to LA and San Diego easily because I live in Temecula, but I love the San Diego audiences. In San Diego people are not as jaded and they are really a lot of fun. There is more freedom and we can put it all on the table.”

She is looking forward to the May 12th event.

“The line-up is going to be great. I know the other people and they are great. I also love the name of the event. It is quite timely. The freedom to be different and not be cookie-cutter is where we are rightfully heading towards in America.”

At the Laugh Out Proud Comedy show, Rembland will share the stage with comedians Albert Linton, Jiavani Linayao, and monthly hosts Sean Wherley and Sarah Burford.

The laughter begins at 8 pm at Martinis Above Fourth, and is free with a minimum two-menu item purchase. You must be at least 21-years old to attend.