It’s been said that women aren’t funny. It’s also been said that lesbians have no sense of humor. If those ridiculous statements were true, stars like Ellen DeGeneres, Rosie O’Donnell, Kate Clinton, Suzanne Westenhoefer, Michelle Balan and Julie Goldman would all be unemployed. Thankfully, that’s not the case.
With nothing but a brick wall and a mic, future Ellens and Rosies are performing nightly in clubs all across the country. Whether you like smart, observational humor or dark, twisted riffs, there’s a lesbian comic for you.
Here, in alphabetical order, are five lesbian stand-up comics, some you may know, others you may not. There are dozens of hard-working, hilarious women out there who deserve recognition, but due to space limitations, we couldn’t fit them all in. If you have a favorite comic or know an underground sensation in your city, let us know!
Claudia Cogan: "I long to be a modern lesbian pirate"
Claudia Cogan is a native New Yorker with an "award-losing" blog and a loyal and ever-growing fan base. Riffing on everything from being mistaken for Jewish (she’s not), to idiotic temp agency names, to her wistful desire to be a stripper, Cogan brings a wry, snarky sensibility to her act and writing. When she’s not performing in and around New York, Cogan is putting together a tour called Under the Gaydar.
AfterEllen.com: How long have you been doing stand-up?
AE: I’d go based on that title, too, but that’s just me. Did that first show go well?
AE: It takes a brave soul to do stand-up. Do you ever get heckled?
AE: Do you think being gay limits a stand-up performer’s audience or opportunities?
Honestly, I couldn’t say what effect is has in the minds of industry. I’ve always been out onstage so I could either attribute any career stalls to homophobia — but more likely [to] the fact that I forgot to send my comedy tape to a manager last week or something dumb like that.
AE: What do you find funny about lesbians?
You know, after Alice and Dana broke up, in order for the fans to consider allowing Alice to date other people, I think Dana had to die. That would explain it for me. Although some think Alice should have gone ahead and given Danish one more shot by moving up north to marry the waterfall.
AE: There’s’s an idea — a lesbian with water for a partner. Some people think the show could use more diversity anyway.
AE: Sure. Again, I’d go based on the title alone. Maybe that’s a show whose time has come. We’ve come a long way. Why do you think lesbians used to have a stereotype for being humorless?
AE: At some point, I think any lesbian stand-up worth her salt gets to work an Olivia Cruise. Would you work on one? Would it be a great gig or a seafaring nightmare?
AE: Keep talking with that accent and I don’t see how they can resist. What else are you working on besides your pirate-speak?
AE: If you weren’t in comedy, what would be your dream job?