What is with all of the lesbian stand-up comics?

I listen to a lot of stand-up comedy, especially since I got my XM radio (availible at your local electronics dealer). One thing that I have noticed is that there are a whole heck of a lot of lesbian stand-up comics. I don’t think I would be exagerating that they are about half of all female performers. Something even more odd, but in the same vein, is that there are virtually no male gay stand-up comedians. I can only think of that one guy from The Kids In The Hall off the top of my head. Even at a local comedy club I frequent often (Laughs Unlimited in Old Sac) of the two females that go up on amateur night, one is a lesbian.

So what is up with that? Why do the lesbians love the stand-up comedy?

I’m guessing they’re given more prominence today than in past decades because of the success of TV shows featuring Rosie O’Donnell and Ellen DeGeneres. Everyone wants in on the Next Big Thing.

I’ve not noticed this phenomenon but if it’s true the only WAG I can think to make is that humor is a defense mechanism and that they use it as a form of catharsis.

Nah, Ellen and Rosie never made being gay a part of their act, whereas the only reason that I know that so many of the female stand-up comedians are of the saphic persuasion is that they (sometimes gratingly, I’m looking at you Elvira Kurt) make it a big portion of their act.

Put it this way: When the Beatles hit it big in the States, record execs combed England looking for other bands with the same kind of appeal and found several. This happens in other parts of the entertainment industry as well.

While Rosie and Ellen didn’t make their orientations a big part of their act initially, they did later. It opened the door for other lesbian comics.

Margaret Cho is bi, but she talks about sex more than any of them. I think the lesbian comics sound pretty chaste by comparison. :wink:

I think that traditionally many if not most successful stand-up comics dating back to Vaudevelle and Burlesque were outsiders, commenting on both themselves and on mainstream society from the outside. There were the Irish, Italians, Jews, and blacks. Most , I believe started in their own clubs and evolved in time to the mainstream theaters.

I think it is not surprising at all that an outspoken minority like lesbians with a literate history has produced a number of very sucessful comics.

I think it is more surprising that male gays have not produced a larger number of stand-up artists. Perhaps they have, but the stigma of being “out” is greater for males and they feel it is necessary to “pass”.

Or they both might have to do with the rejection of stereotypical behavior. The stereotype behavior for women is quiet and submisive while that for males is vocal and out there. By turning that on its head you have females that are outspoken and out speaking and males that are more reserved.


I forgot that the one exception to this is black-female stand-up comedians. There are no black lesbian stand-up comedians. None, they are all straight. Same for the men. Not sure if there are any gay black people at all. I think that other black people sent them all to camps some time in the seventies.

Some gay male stand-ups include Bob Smith, Jaffe Cohen and Danny McWilliams, collectively (and based on their book Growing Up Gay inappropriately) known as Funny Gay Males. Pomo Afro Homos was a black gay male comedy troupe but at least two members have died so I don’t know if the troupe is still active. As for black lesbian comics none spring to mind but that annoying woman who does the Pine-Sol ads did a routine about being raised by lesbian mothers, which is the closest I could come up with off the top of my head.

Saw a gay black male comedian on one of those variety comedy shows recently. (The ones that feature a few minutes from several comics.) I don’t remember his name, but I do remember his punchline, he was funny. He talked about visiting his family at the holidays and they started bugging him about getting a wife. “What’s the problem?” they asked him, “Don’t you like chocolate?” “Yeah, I do,” he answered, “But I like my chocolate with nuts.”

It took me a minute to get it.

So that’s one. Surely there are others.

Elvira Kurt has been doing her lesbian-focused act for years and years. Back about ten years ago I saw her perform at the Michigan Womyns Music Festival, and about 95% of the audience were lesbians, and the audience loved her. So she was a lesbian commedian before it was an official hot commodity. I was surprised to see her on Comedy Central, actually.

Should she try to diversify her material now that she’s reached some sort of mainstream status? Doubtlessly it would be good for her career, or would it, considering it’s a niche that makes her superficially memorable? I dunno.


:eek: Margaret Cho is a Commediane? Wow, someone better get her some funny material and QUICK!

Seriously, to me, she is one of the un-funniest commedianes I’ve ever heard. Ugh.


Ever since she got really political, yeah. Before that she was really good.

Elvira Kurt is very funny and I wonder what your issue is with her.

I’ve seen her specials on Comedy Central a couple of times and really enjoyed them as well.

I think Judy Gold can be pretty funny, I had never heard of her before seeing her on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn.

She is freaking tall for a woman too I’ve heard her height is between 6’2’‘and6’ 3"

When you’ve been forced to conform to a narrow concept of what society expects being brutally honest about one’s identity and experience is often going to be the outcome.

There are plenty of people who think they know what it is to be gay. Kate Clinton, Suzanne Westenhoffer, Elvira Kurt, and the rest use humor in increasing visibility.

It takes a great deal of bravery to do their work.

If you don’t like them, don’t listen.

No, no, no. I love Elvira. I just find it annoying how much she make “I’m a big lesbian!!!” a part of her act. I give her some points for the bits about how her parents reacted to it (very funny stuff) but otherwise I am kinda tired of it. It is a bit like a black comic coming on stage and doing the typical “White people like this, but black people is like this!”. groan

I just think that she is better than it.

That should read “such a big part of her act”.

Congrats for completely misinterpreting the OP.

Double points for doing so in a way that offends you.