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Queerty: 8 queer comedians who are fearless in making sure stand-up is full of the gay agenda

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Jerrod Carmichael, Bianca Del Rio and Matteo Lane
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We’re at the golden age of queer comedy, and the “gay agenda” has never been more hilarious. Nowadays, comedians are emboldened to flip the bird at the palette of hetero sensitivities and put their hearts and proverbial boners into every second of their routines. Cuz guess what? Authenticity sells, baby!

But we’re not here to hand out Presidential Medals of Honor; we’re celebrating 8 comedians whose stand-up is as unhinged with gayness as it is hysterical, vulnerable, and, dare we say, audacious. While America is often a disappointing and dangerous place for the LGBTQ+ community, finding moments for rambunctious joy and laughter has become more vital than ever.

Thankfully, this is easier done when you have the following queer creative geniuses committed to ensuring for every frown, there’s a shameless smile.

Bianca Del Rio

This bitch is hilarious, and we mean that with all the love in the world for someone who has most likely insulted every member of the Queerty staff. Drag royalty Bianca Del Rio proved herself an unstoppable emblazoned phenomenon when she won RuPaul’s Drag Race‘s 6th season in 2014. She has offended her way to stardom and America’s heart with her merciless wit and daring jokes as politically and ethically messy as her makeup. (What? She inspires us!) Del Rio has set the standard for queer comedic excellence with four global comedy tours, a Roledex of eponymous film and TV features, and becoming the first drag queen to headline Carnegie Hall and Wembley Arena. It’s truly no wonder the New York Times dubbed her the “Joan Rivers of the Drag World” – because they are similar in age. In all seriousness, she’s a fearless icon and we stan.

Matteo Lane

Who hasn’t thought about having Matteo Lane al dente? Calm down, we’re talking about the Italian stand-up superstar’s new The Al Dente Tour, where he unabashedly performs to sold-out crowds with his poignant observations about queer culture and all things pasta. (Bottoms need their fiber!) Named one of Variety’s “10 comics to watch for” in 2022, Lane is uncompromisingly gay in his routines and proves not only can a mainstream audience handle hearing about mating between men, but they like it. Imagine Dane Cook if he was gay, handsome…and funny. 

Jerrod Carmichael

Emmy Award-winning comedian Jerrod Carmichael is running the game when it comes to getting them checks! (Yes, we’re talking about his unforgivingly hilarious – and sometimes cringey – $500,000 Golden Globes hosting spectacle that made all the white cis straight A-listers uncomfortable.) He’s achieved the success every gay comedian dreams about with three HBO comedy specials and an NBC sitcom under his belt, and yet was a reminder to America that wealth and success doesn’t make coming out any easier. But we’re so glad he did last year because comedy is better without restraint. And it makes thirsting for him all the more fun.

Mae Martin

Hold on to your bathwater, nonbinary comedian Mae Martin is insatiable. (Even our jokes don’t land sometimes, but that just means you haven’t seen their new comedy special SAP.) The Canadian actor is not shy to address the struggles of identity and addiction in their humor or call out homophobic excuses for comedians! But they also possess a fraught and tender relatability that lets the audience know we’re all figuring it out together. In a world of Belles and Gastons… Martin reminds queer people it’s OK to be Lumiére. 

Kemah Bob

Kemah Bob is a “horny little creep,” and she’s not afraid to admit it, at least on stage. We stan a bisexual comedian who thinks “not bad” after seeing 2 Girls, 1 Cup. Bob hones in on her Black cultural identity, mental health (hello, bipolar visibility!), and sexuality to make hysterical commentary, and has a one-of-a-kind recognizable voice that has been heard on ASOS ads, commercials for eCover, Expedia, and Dua Lipa. Of course, we can’t forget her drag alter ego, Lil Test Ease, a conservative rapper and men’s rights activist, and her work advocating for diversity and LGBTQ+ representation on various media outlets. Regardless of what she’s doing, she’s never not cracking jokes. 

Mawaan Rizwan

It wouldn’t be 2023 if one of the comedians on this list didn’t start out as a YouTuber. Mawaan Rizwan knows humor is in a good story and has a way of delivering punchlines unexpectedly and with body movement and expressive eyes that reels you in. He’s gone on to write for Netflix‘s Sex Education and open for Jonathan Van Ness. Still, we have to say his claim to fame is his comedic songwriting and music videos (see “Are You Checking Me Out or Are You Just a Racist?” or “Mango”). His style might channel the Little Rascals trying to sneak into a hip-hop concert, but his physical comedy embodies the greats.

Ian Harvie

If it’s a battle of genitalia, we’re betting on comedian Ian Harvie, who became the first trans man to release a stand-up comedy special with May the Best Cock Win in 2016. While he may best known as Dale in Transparent, Harvie’s comedic charm comes in what he describes as “two voices” in his head – the girl he was conditioned as and the man he became – informing him with amusingly conflicting points of view and an ability to engage anyone watching.

Jessica Watkins

If you ever find yourself in rural America, in the south, and there’s a queer chick promoting abortion to a conservative audience by encouraging them to look at it like deporting a fetus (“deportion”) back to heaven because they entered the body illegally, then you’ve found Jessica Watkins. She has a vendetta against the patriarchy and is not afraid for her jokes to go there. She took comedy to extremes by literally walking across the nation, living off the kindness of strangers, and performing countless times in small towns across more than a dozen states. When that didn’t jumpstart her career she turned it into the documentary film SPECIALish. Watkins beautifully captured the spirit of stand-up and what it means not to have a rich person funding your project.