20 LGBTQ+ comedians that will make you shriek with laughter

Wanda Sykes
Wanda Sykes Photo: Aaron Ricketts/Netflix

Comedy is funny — that’s where all the jokes are! And LGBTQ+ comedians have a lot to say about being queer, their lives, or just whatever weirdness happens to cross their minds.

LGBTQ+ comedians have always been in comedy. And here are 20 comedy legends who will crack you completely up.

1. Tig Notaro

Tig Notaro is one of the funniest standups working today. She’s been doing comedy since 2001, but it was her 2012 Grammy-nominated album Live (pronounced like the verb, not the adjective) that broke her through. In that album, she talked about her mom dying, having breast cancer, and a different life-threatening illness — yet it’s still funny.

2. Scott Thompson

Actor and comedian Scott Thompson is one of the members of the legendary comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall. The show was especially important to queer folks in the 90s, as it was one of the only shows that addressed LGBTQ+ issues on TV. One of Thompson’s most famous characters is the monologuist, Buddy Cole.

3. Billy Eichner

Billy Eichner‘s often a love-him-or-hate-him figure. People generally find his intense style either hilarious or offputting, whether he’s yelling at strangers on Billy on the Street or playing a catty jackass in Difficult People. He’s recently made the mainstream gay romantic comedy Bros.

4. Patti Harrison

Patti Harrison is an absolute hoot. Whether via her surreal social media posts, her stand-up, or appearances in shows like I Think You Should Leave, it’s always a delight to see her.

5. James Adomian

James Adomian is a gifted impressionist whose roster of impressions strays from the common targets. Adomian does impressions of folks like Sen. Bernie Sanders, philosopher Slavoj Žižek, wrestler/Montana Governor Jesse Ventura, and singer David Crosby. He’s not just an impressionist — he’s also an insightful standup and razor-sharp improviser.

6. Suzy Eddie Izzard

Suzy Eddie Izzard has been making audiences laugh since 1982. She’s shared a lot of herself in her comedy but also does sillier routines, like her famous bit about the Star Wars canteen on the Death Star. She has always been out about her gender nonconformity, identifying in the past as a transvestite, before coming out as genderfluid and transgender.

7. Fortune Feimster

Fortune Feimster came to fame in the 2010 season of Last Comic Standing. Her low-key style brings the audience in, and it’s always nice to see her on shows like After Midnight or Drunk History.

8. Wanda Sykes

Wanda Sykes started her career back in 1987 and quickly became known as a writer and standup to watch. After coming out in 2008, she’s used her voice on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community, appearing in anti-homophobia PSAs. She was the first Black woman and first openly gay person to be the featured entertainer for the White House Correspondents’ Association in 2009.

9. Robin Tran

Robin Tran has a hilarious introduction in her routine: “My name is Robin Tran, and I am transgender, and that is a coincidence. Someone always thinks that I transitioned for one pun, and that’s not why I did it…” She’s performed at high-profile festivals like the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Just For Laughs, and she’s opened for the likes of Margaret Cho and Anthony Jeselnik.

10. Todd Glass

Todd Glass is a Last Comic Standing alum, though he’s been appearing on TV since the ’80s. Currently, he’s doing a unique standup set where he performs with a jazz band. In 2012, he came out publicly, telling comedian Marc Maron on his podcast that he was driven to come out by a recent string of young queer kids dying by suicide.

11. Matteo Lane

Earlier this month, Matteo Lane released his latest special, The Advice Special 3, to YouTube for free. He’s appeared on many great comedy shows, including Stephen Colbert’s Late Show, The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, and Netflix’s The Comedy Lineup. He’s also a popular podcaster and just generally a funny guy.

12. Guy Branum

Guy Branum has been a fixture on TV since the 2000s, showing up as a Chelsea Lately panelist, a regular on Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, and, of course, Last Comic Standing. He’s also done a lot of work involving fat activism, including a recent appearance with Lindy West talking about Netflix’s Baby Reindeer.

13. Gina Yashere

Nigerian-British comedian Gina Yashere made a big name for herself in the UK before moving to the United States… and making a big name for herself. She’s the co-creator of the CBS sitcom Bob Hearts Abishola, and her standup is outstanding.

14. Cameron Esposito

Cameron Esposito is a standup and actress. They used their 2018 special Rape Jokes, a set about sexual assault, to raise over $100,000 for RAINN. Despite the title and subject matter, though, it’s a legitimately hilarious special handling the subject with nuance. They’ve appeared in shows like Adventure Time and Comedy Bang! Bang! and Esposito hosts a podcast, Queery, where they interview queer icons.

15. Bowen Yang

Bowen Yang joined Saturday Night Live as a writer in 2018 and was the first featured player on the show to get an Emmy nomination in 2021. His career has exploded since then, appearing in films like Bros, Fire Island, and the upcoming Wicked.

16. Stanzi Potenza

Stanzi Potenza is best known for their short sketch comedy videos on TikTok and YouTube. They often play all the roles in their clips, including series where they portray Satan, Satan’s assistant, and God in conversations about Heaven and Hell. They’re a great actress; a parody they did of true crime fans fooled Dr. Phil, who played one of their clips thinking it was sincere.

17. Joe Lycett

Joe Lycett is one of the most popular comedians in the U.K. He’s openly bisexual and uses his platform to call out queerphobia, but in a funny way. He recently had a bit where he criticized David Beckham for supporting the World Cup in Qatar, saying he’d shred £10,000 unless Beckham pulled out.

18. Hannah Gadsby

Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby broke through worldwide with their special Nanette, in which they said they were, ironically, quitting comedy. That was such a success that they, thankfully, went back on their promise and have done more specials and even a showcase highlighting other genderqueer comedians.

19. Jerrod Carmichael

Jerrod Carmichael has been doing comedy since 2008, but he only came out as gay in 2022 in his special Rothaniel. He was also the creator of the NBC sitcom The Carmichael Show and recently appeared in his own reality show, the appropriately titled Jerrod Carmichael Reality Show.

20. Jaboukie Young-White

Jaboukie Young-White is another comedian who first got traction via social media, where he was known for his Twitter pranks. He famously pretended to be the FBI, tweeting on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, “Just because we killed MLK doesn’t mean we can’t miss him.” Or when he tweeted as CNN Breaking News, “BREAKING: Joe Biden is not DEAD. He just getting some d**k. We’ve all been there” He’s also written for Big MouthThe Daily Show and American Vandal.

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