Listening to the experience and hardships queer people face is a unique experience. Many times we can’t imagine how it feels to be in that position, but we can all relate to the feeling of being left out, misunderstood, or unfairly targeted.
Comedy holds a special place within the community. Sometimes trauma runs deep, and all we can do to keep ourselves sane is to laugh through it, turning the negative experiences into something that no longer haunts us, but a stone we step on to live, interact, and achieve success. It is undeniable that laughter is an incredible defence mechanism for the bad stuff that can run through our minds.
With that in mind, here is our list of notable stand-up specials performed by queer folks. Tune in to laugh, relate, and most importantly, understand each other’s differences a bit more.
Emmy Award-winning comedian Wanda Sykes is most famous for her roles in The Chris Rock Show, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Black-ish, but few performances have seen her genius mind and unmatched energy put to work like this Netflix special. Not Normal is filled to the brim with politics, racial issues, menopause, and the realities of being unapologetically black. The best part? It’s on Netflix right now.
If deadpan comedy is your thing, Tig Notaro will surely be your cup of tea. The Emmy- and Grammy-nominated comedian shares anecdotes and confessions of life as a parent, to challenge our conception of what a usual stand-up routine should be. It’s sweet, brutally honest, and uplifting. It makes us feel like life isn’t always a walk in the park, but after being through tough times, we’re Happy to be Here.
You can watch the special on Netflix.
The Comedy Lineup is exactly what it sounds like—a diverse lineup of comedians, each with 15 minutes to bring their best. One of the performers in season two is Matteo Lane, a former opera singer turned multi-talented comedian who brings stories of his visit to Ohio, Grindr adventures, and how he feels about the younger generation being able to come out earlier. The series is now on Netflix.
Jaboukie is a rising star in comedy, and his name can be found in the credits of internationally acclaimed works such as Bojack Horseman, Big Mouth, and Ralph Breaks the Internet. This short special breaks down technology addiction, “male feminism”, and how bugs are homosexual, apparently.
Joel is both gay and Asian—meaning he has material for days. In this special, he also talks about his experience as someone growing up in a conservative family, being single, and how he sucks at maths. The relatability is off the charts with this one.
Note: Joel Kim Booster's Psychosexual comedy special just dropped on Netflix very recently, for those of you who can't get enough of Joel.
Famously known for winning season eight of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Bob the Drag Queen never fails to ace any comedy challenges thrown her way. After her time on the reality programme, she has brought her wits to her debut comedy special, sharing her thoughts on life, fashion, sex, and politics.
Suspiciously Large Woman is available to stream on Amazon Prime and Apple TV.