Queer girls and comedy go way back: Sometimes the best way to make incisive social commentary, temporarily escape the difficulty of everyday life, and make connections with other powerful LGBT women is through laughter. We all know and love LGBT comics like Kate McKinnon, Wanda Sykes, Margaret Cho, and our patron saint, Ellen, but here are seven other standup comedians and writers to check out.
Queer Canadian comedy powerhouse Mae Martin was trained at legendary improv training center Second City in Toronto and garners rave reviews from critics and audiences alike. She’s experienced as both a comedian and a writer, having nabbed her first Canadian Comedy Award nom at age 15 and debuted on Canadian TV in the Comedy Network’s Cream of Comedy at 16 before moving to the UK, where she now lives and performs. On a shallower note, she’s an adorable bundle of anxious energy who makes us laugh about everything we usually can’t, from social goofs and embarrassing moments to shyness, depression, and stereotypes. Bonus: A lot of her standup includes hilarious self-written parody songs.
And in case you’re wondering how to woo her, here are some tips from Martin herself:
Irene Tu originally hails from the suburbs of Chicago but currently performs standup and hosts popular comedy shows like Millennials Ruin Everything in the Bay Area. Named one of the “Bay Area’s 11 Best Standup Comedians” by SFist, Irene’s snarky, clever comedy often centers around her suburban upbringing and the everyday hilarity resulting from misperceptions of androgyny and Asian identity.
Watch her win a dirty haiku battle here:
Boston-based Sam Jay’s badass, poker-faced, off-the-cuff comic stylings lead to comparisons with the late Patrice O’Neal: She’s candid, bold, and unafraid to speak her mind.
Jay has opened for Hannibal Buress, Joe Clair, and Rob Stapleton, and was named one of Comedy Central’s Comics to Watch. She uses comedy to fearlessly tackle social issues both big and small.
Check out her video on food waste in the U.S.:
Becky Drysdale is a sketch comedy and television writer with a multicoastal career history (currently based in L.A.) and some big-name collaborators. She started her career in Chicago with her writing partner Jordan Peele of Key and Peele (for which she’s written extensively), was trained at the Upright Citizens Brigade and Second City, and has worked with MTV, LOGO, the Jim Henson Company, and HBO. She’s also an educator, having taught advanced improv to hundreds of students out of her own Chelsea loft.
But don’t take it from me–here’s Drysdale with Kate McKinnon and Julie Goldman (a comedy celesbian trifecta if ever there was one):
Notaro’s career as both standup comic and writer is certainly impressive–she’s written for Inside Amy Schumer, has earned accolades from fellow comedy veterans like Sarah Silverman and Louis C.K., and was featured on Comedy Central Presents–but some of her most showstopping career moments to date came from an unlikely source: the aftermath of a breast cancer diagnosis. She was diagnosed on July 30, 2012, and performed an acclaimed set about the diagnosis and other issues in her personal life four days later at Largo in Los Angeles; in 2014, after undergoing a double mastectomy, she appeared topless for part of a set at the New York Comedy Festival.
Notaro’s 2015 Netflix movie, Tig, chronicles her efforts to have a child with her now-wife, Stephanie Allynne, as well as her experience with cancer. She created her new Amazon Prime comedy series, One Mississippi, with Diablo Cody; it premiered last month.
In case you’re not convinced of Notaro’s awesomeness, here’s all the proof you need–Ellen calling her brilliant:
Lianna Carrera is a comedian and blogger with a performance style that’s as endearing as her accent. She uses her sets to address the trials and tribulations of growing up as the gay kid of a Southern Baptist minister (!!) in rural Virginia. In addition, her mother and brother are both Deaf, an experience she probes with humility and hilarity alike.
Here’s Carrera just last year at AfterEllen Live:
Catherine McCormick is an out-and-proud bisexual standup comedian based in Toronto. McCormick’s style is relatable, endearing, bold (check out her ‘thigh gap’ joke on YouTube if you don’t believe me), and just a tad bit bawdy. What’s more, she also produces comedy nights for women and LGBT comedians who are seeking a supportive environment to showcase their art.
You especially don’t want to miss her singing “Fat Elvis” to the tune of Alannah Myles’ “Black Velvet”: