We’ve compiled a list of 12 queer comedians—new and old—who we continue to make us crack a smile. And before you ask: No, we didn't include everyone's fave, Ellen DeGeneres, because, well, what else is there to say?
Liedman is one of the hottest new commodities in comedy. Aside from being a writer on Inside Amy Schumer as well as Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Kroll Show, Liedman’s become a web celeb for Besties X Besties, his Funny Or Die series with his bestie, Jenny Slate.
Truly a comedian’s comedian, Tig Notaro—aside from being a writer on Inside Amy Schumer—is a darling of the stand up scene. After seeing her perform at Largo in Los Angeles, Louis C.K. tweeted, "In 27 years doing this, I’ve seen a handful of truly great, masterful standup sets. One was Tig Notaro last night at Largo." She's also buddies with Sarah Silverman. As she told us last year, “Even though she and I have very different humor, we still get each other’s sensibilities,” adding that she and Silverman spend a lot of time emailing one another videos of “a cute animal or cute old person or cute baby; it’s heavy on the cute.” Silverman has also been dating Notaro’s writing partner, Kyle Dunnigan, for more than a year. “I always call it ‘one-stop shopping,’ with them dating,” Notaro says.
Though Kate McKinnon may be SNL’s reigning MVP this season, her sketch comedy history predates Bieber and Merkel impressions. Kate first cut her teeth on Logo’s Big Gay Sketch Show, most famously as Fitzwilliam, a little British boy whose only wish is to become a little British girl. Though not quite as polished as her Ellen impersonation or beleaguered Russian peasant, Olya Povlatsky, you can definitely see the makings of a comedy star even way back when.
A screen staple, Out100 honoree Wanda Sykes has been making us laugh for over a decade. The Emmy Award winner has had a myriad of big screen roles, as well as a recurring role on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm and starring alongside Julia Louis-Dreyfus in The New Adventures of Old Christine. She's even made pals with Oprah and taken over Harpo.
Margaret Cho is perhaps one of the most beloved funny people in the LGBTQ community. Aside from being an actress, comic, and burlesque dancer, Cho’s also a marriage equality activist who fought to repeal Prop 8 in her home state of California. As she told Michael Musto recently: "If you’ve been around the gay community forever, you achieve Mother Superior status. 'Fag hag' is an outdated term, so I want to start using 'dick widow.' At a certain point in the night at a gay bar, you become invisible as a woman. You’ve lost your friends to dick."
Better known in Britain as the acerbic yet slightly awkward former host of Nevermind The Buzzcocks, Simon Amstell has recently made his foray into the States. His “Numb” tour was a sold-out success in New York City, and he’s currently back Stateside touring the East Coast. The man takes adorable British awkwardness to the next level. And we love him for that.
Sampson McCormick made history when he became the first openly gay black man to headline Washington D.C.’s Howard Theatre when he took his “Joyful Noise” show to the historic venue. An author as well as a comedian, McCormick has published two books and has been featured on MTV, OWN, and BET.
Another stand-up veteran, Out100 honoree Sandra Bernhard started playing comedy clubs in the '70s. After her breakout starring role in Scorsese’s The King of Comedy and her memorable role on Roseanne (not to mention her famous friendships with Madonna and Isaac Mizrahi), she became a household name and continues to shower us with one-liners in her one-woman shows.
A contributor for NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! and CBS Sunday Morning, Mo Rocca is still the one of the funniest men on TV even when he’s not cracking a joke. While he may be enjoying himself in the kitchen, we still like when he's writing funny material (for himself and others).
The man behind Billy on the Street, Billy Eichner has managed to combine his passion for pop culture with his love of shouting and the results have been nothing short of glorious. As he told us recently, he also loves to follow funny people on Twitter, including: "Julie Klausner, who writes for my show, is hilarious as is Jake Holmes who also writes on my show. In fact, one of the reasons he writes on my show is because I found him hilarious on Twitter. I love Sandra Bernhard. She’s really funny. There are so many people."
Stephen Fry is England’s most beloved comic and perhaps most beloved citizen. From A Bit of Fry a Laurie to Black Adder to Jeeves and Wooster to Qi, Stephen Fry may be the funniest Briton who ever lived.
Though is most well known for his George W. Bush impressions on Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and playing Madonna, Rihanna, Freddie Mercury, Louis C.K, and Kate Upton on Children’s Hospital, James Adomian is a commensurate stand-up comic. He even made it to the top 10 of Last Comic Standing.
John Oliver's New York Stand-Up Show
Get More: Watch More Stand-Up.