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Our favorite lesbian comedians taking over the comedy world

Robyn Exton

Feb 09, 2023

Our favorite lesbian comedians taking over the comedy world
  • Comedy is known for pushing boundaries, and in a male-dominated industry, marginalized people are often the butt of the jokes. Thankfully, things are changing, and gay female comedians are part of that change.

    There is an abundance of lesbian comedians out there, making their mark, not just by leaving you doubled over in laughter after their punchlines. 

    We’ve previously shared some of our favorite lesbian jokes, but what about the comedians themselves who are pushing the boundaries not just in their punchlines but also in increasing tolerance for more LGBT+ people in comedy?

    We’ve compiled a non-exhaustive list of the best lesbian comedians to keep an eye out for because they’re making some big moves as of late! Of course, it’s worth giving the nod to those who paved the way – Margaret Cho, Wanda Sykes, Hannah Gadsby, and more.

    And we get it: the comedy world can also be quite white, too, so we also included some representation of black comedians and comedians of color! 

    Just read on for the best female comedians that’ll surely tickle your funny bone.

    Funniest queer and lesbian Comedians to watch out for

    Katie Nixon

    Katie Nixon is a gay female comedian who originally started her career in Chicago. She is now a cast member of BOOM Chicago, a comedy club in Amsterdam. She’s known for her musical comedy and is seen in this headshot smiling with her arms crossed. She wears a white top and a floral blazer while donning medium-length hair.
    Source: Katie’s website

    Amsterdam is known for its queer-friendly culture, and that’s where Chicago-native comedian Katie Nixon is making her mark. She’s a cast member at BOOM Chicago, a comedy club in Amsterdam that has alumni from Amber Ruffin (Amber Ruffin Late Show) and Jordan Peele (Us and Get Out), to Seth Meyers (Late Night with Seth Meyers). 

    BOOM Chicago makes careers, so I’m sure you’ll see Katie Nixon rising the ranks even more in the near future.

    Her stories about being a lesbian in a long-distance relationship with her partner living in Chicago are pretty relatable if you have also been in a long-distance relationship. But to be fair, Amsterdam and Chicago are more like medium-distance in the lesbian world, am I right?

    Find this iconic lesbian comedian on Instagram here and more about her on the BOOM Chicago website.

    Fun fact: Katie occasionally does solo stints at open mics at Saarein, the oldest lesbian bar in Amsterdam. If you ever find yourself in town, that should be one of the first places to visit for queer history and a fun time. Who knows, maybe you’ll find Katie there and find some solo work! 

    Allison Reese

    Allison Reese is a lesbian comedian of color who has guest starred in the movie Bros and recently headlined at Do Better Comedy in Pheonix, Arizona, seen in this image. This picture shows Allison on stage facing the crowd at Do Better, performing in front of a decorated Christmas tree. She wears a baseball cap with a graphic t-shirt and a striped button-down on top, while holding and speaking into the microphone.
    Source: Second City

    Chicago continues to churn out comedy legends, and Allison Reese is a legend in her own right. A Second City alumna who recently had a cameo in the film Bros, she’s also famous for her impressions. 

    When you see her break out in a perfect Kamala Harris impression, it won’t be long before you’re laughing at how perfect it is. 

    You can find more of Allison Reese on her Instagram.

    Shantira Jackson

    One of the first things you’ll notice about Shantira Jackson is her contagious smile. And alongside that, her enormous comedic talent. You can find her writing on the Amber Ruffin Show, Big Mouth, and the Saved by the Bell revival series. 

    Fun fact: Besides loving comedy, Shantira is also a big bird fan. Her favorite birds are the finch and the fairy wren. 

    Sam Jay

    Sam Jay is not necessarily a newcomer but has been making great strides in the comedy industry as of late. She is not afraid to talk about race, gender, and sexuality.

     She does stand-up, where she speaks candidly about being a black lesbian, and has been writing for Saturday Night Live since 2017.

    In a hilarious interview with Stephen Colbert on The Late Show in January 2023, she shared the pressure she felt by sharing the big screen with the likes of Eddie Murphy and Jonah Hill in the upcoming film “You People.” 

    “You never believe it until you see it,” Jay told Colbert about her big break on the big screen. Check out Sam Jay’s interview with Stephen Colbert on YouTube below!

    DeAnne Smith

    A self-identified Gentleman-Elf, DeAnne Smith is a global force of comedy nature. 

    They are a Canadian Comedy Award winner, and have performed at Just for Laughs, JFL42, the Winnipeg Comedy Festival, Melbourne International Comedy Festival, the New Zealand International Comedy Festival, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and the Iceland Comedy Festival, to name a few. 

    DeAnne’s also been on TV all over the darn world, including on Last Comic Standing and The Late Late Show in the U.S., as well as in Canada, Australia and the UK. 

    Their video “Straight Men, Step Your Game Up” has over 46 million views! Smith was also featured in Netflix’s Comedians of the World special, and hosts “DeAnarchy” monthly at Union Hall in Brooklyn.

    Mae Martin

    Source: NY times

    Mae Martin is the UK’s favorite Canadian standup. Having made a name for themself in London’s comedy scene with their show “Dope” about Martin’s addictive personality—they described it as like having “an easily-awoken psychopathic shrimp” in their head—was modified into a half-hour Netflix comedy special, released in January 2019 as part of the Comedians of the World collection. This led to Feel Good, the Channel 4/Netflix comedy series which Martin co-created, wrote and starred in.

    Getting real about addiction and all things queer, Martin strikes a perfect balance of vulnerability, queer awkwardness, and keeping it real. 

    After the success of Feel Good (and a second season), Martin had a guest starring role on Season 2 of the Flight Attendant, as well as continues to write and perform new stand-up in both the UK and the US.

    Famous Lesbian comedians who paved the way

    As recently as the 90s, being an out gay comedian was not the norm or socially acceptable. It’s important to give the nod to the ones who paved the way. These lesbian comedians have been kicking it for decades, and even though they may have recently found themselves in hot water, we still want to give the nod to their careers.

    Hannah Gadsby  

    She’s been in the industry for well over fifteen years but, in recent years, gained popularity for her Netflix special Nanette, after which she published an autobiographical book called Ten Steps to Nanette. We love that she not only gives us lesbian representation but autistic representation too. 

    Lea DeLaria 

    You might know her as Big Boo on the Netflix hit series Orange is The New Black, Lea DeLaria is also a musician who touches on topics from gender identity to sexuality. 

    Wanda Sykes 

    Making a mark since the early 1990s, Wanda Sykes is an American actress, comedian, and writer. Like the other comedians on this list, she talks frankly about race, gender, and sexuality. 

    In every single sketch Wanda Sykes DE-LIVERS. She’s been the most consistent and hilarious female comedian on screens.

    Margaret Cho 

    Master of gallows humor, Korean-American comedian Margaret Cho is known for her satirical comedy, and often talks about her own vulnerable experiences of being alienated and bullied growing up – and manages to make it funny. That’s no easy feat! 

    Cho has recently guest starred as herself in the hit Freeform series Good Trouble, where she mentors another gay Asian female comedian, Allison Kwan, who is trying to break into the comedy scene. So if you want to support a fictional Asian lesbian comedian, add Good Trouble to your watch list! 

    Tig Notaro 

    Another black comedy master, Tig Notaro is most known for her 2012 stand-up special, Live. Her vulnerability about her personal experiences is probably why she has such a huge fanbase.

    Ellen DeGeneres 

    Despite Ellen’s pretty notorious fall-from-grace (did you think we’d ignore the elephant in the room?) Nothing changes the fact that in the 90s, Ellen DeGeneres lost pretty much everything and was disgraced for a completely different reason than hosting a hostile work environment.

     Alongside other famous lesbian comedians on this list, Ellen challenged society’s tolerance of LGBT+ people and quickly regained her reputation in the 2000s.

    Cameron Esposito 

    Cameron Esposito not only talks about gender and sexuality in her stand-up but also talks about it in their podcast Queery. They’ve been active in the comedy industry since 2007 and released a memoir titled Save Yourself in 2020. In 2021, she came out as genderfluid. We love to see it! 

    Lesbians are everywhere, including in the comedy world. As we mentioned before, this list doesn’t even scratch the surface of the amazing lesbian comedians out there. We can’t wait to see these gay comedians continue making waves in the industry and which ones break through in the coming years!

    Be sure you search for stand-up specials on Netflix or Youtube, these lesbian comedians are often just a click away.

    Robyn Exton

    Robyn is the CEO & Founder of HER. Find her on Twitter.

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