Queer comedians are no new fad (despite what some disgruntled dudes who didn’t get a Netflix half-hour will tell you). In 1994, Lea DeLaria became the first openly LGBTQ comedian to appear on American TV. On the Arsenio Hall Show, she took the stage for her set and proudly announced, “It’s the ’90s. It’s hip to be queer and I’m a BIG dyke.” In the last 25 years, queer comics have flourished. Comedians like Ellen DeGeneres, Wanda Sykes, Tig Notaro, and Billy Eichner have brought LGBTQ comedy to stages and households all over America. The new class of queer comedy legends is on the rise and Laughspin is here to list some of the queer comedians that need to be your new obsession if they aren’t already.
Jaboukie Young White
Jaboukie Young White is everywhere. He’s on the new season of HBO’s Crashing (the premiere episode is simply named Jaboukie). He’s a correspondent on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and appeared in Set It Up and Ralph Breaks the Internet last year. Oh the kicker, he’s just 24-years-old.
Cameron Esposito is not new. Calling her part of a new class of comedians might be stretching it, but she has put out some great new projects this year. The lesbian comedian’s new special Rape Jokes raised over $93,000 for RAINN and her podcast QUEERY has really come into its own. While she split with her wife and comedy partner Rhea Butcher earlier this year, she isn’t slowing anything down.
Joel Creasey was just featured on Netflix’s Comedians of the World representing his home country of Australia, but the comedian is already a television staple in his homeland. Creasey recently recorded a 90-minute special at the Sydney Opera House. Joan Rivers once called him “fucking star!” and after listening to his comedy, you will see why.
In 2018, Sampson McCormick became the first out LGBTQ comic ever to perform at a Smithsonian Institution. McCormick has used his platform to speak about HIV. He also discusses the importance of being tested, intersectionality, and the power of black artists.
John Early might be the most recognizable comedian on this list. With roles in Search Party, Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later, 30 Rock, and the Disaster Artist, Early is on the precipice of being a huge household name. His comedy is dripping with pop culture references and is pure joy.
Jes Tom was a 2018 Stand Up NBC Finalist. Apart from being a stand-up, they are an actor and model. They have been featured as a comic to watch in NewNowNext, TimeOut New York, and Vulture. Basically, everyone’s got the gender nonbinary performer on their radars and you should, too!
Strange and captivating, Julio Torres’s comedy is as deadpan as it is mesmerizing. He has written viral sketches for Saturday Night Live like Wells for Boys and Payprus. He’s working now on the new comedy Los Espookys with Fred Armisen.
Patti Harrison has appeared in A Simple Favor, Broad City, and Search Party. In a profile in Rolling Stone, She was quoted as saying, “I love to create very dumb and stupid shit. And that’s the funny thing—when people seek me out as this like political comedian, I literally just want to joke about IBS and farting.”
Cole Escola is the type of comedian you wish was your best friend. Maybe most known for his iconic character Matthew on Hulu’s Difficult People, Escola is a genius when it comes to characters. He sold out his summer residency at Joe’s Pub and came back with a new show Cole Escola: Quick! Pretend I’m Asleep! in 2018.
One of SNL’s rising writing stars, Bowen Yang has also been seen on High Matinence and Broad City. He is also set to appear in Isn’t It Romantic and Awkwafina’s new Comedy Central sitcom. You may have also caught him handing out antacids at the Golden Globes. For all his success this year, you will fall in love with him for his silly Twitter videos doing reactions and impressions that give life to the gay community.
Samantha Ruddy is the kind of stand-up who has a timeless appeal. Her jokes are well-written, smart, and most importantly, the kind of stand-up that celebrates the form. She recently appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and has written for College Humor and Reductress after starting comedy at only 14!
Joel Kim Booster
With multiple appearances on shows like Conan, Joel Kim Booster is bringing his very personal stories and stand-up to the masses. Since his Comedy Central Presents special in 2017, he has been making the rounds doing stand-up on Conan, Late Late Show, and the new Amazon series Inside Jokes.
Sabrina Jalees is maybe better known in Canada than she is in the US, but that is fast changing. She was a writer on Canada’s Got Talent, but her set on 2018’s The Comedy Lineup introduced this hysterical lesbian comedian to American audiences.