Lesbian stand-up

I love comedy, comedians and stand-up to the point where I was procrastinating writing this article by watching other stand-up shows. Since the theme of the week is lesbian humour, what better way to celebrate it than to watch and review some great lesbian and bisexual comedians.

Ellen Degeneres 

You didn't think we'd do a theme about lesbians and humour without talking about Ellen, did you? It would be like making a list of bad movies and not mentioning The Room. Not to overstate things but if you ask some straight people Ellen invented being a lesbian.

For this review, I watched her "Here and Now" HBO special because it was my favourite and it's my article so I get to do what I want.  I found myself mouthing along to some jokes that I'd remembered from re-watches and even those made me laugh. The main theme is relatable humour about daily annoyances like procrastination and social awkwardness. This accessibility makes it easy to watch time and time again.

There are of course jokes that haven't aged well, not due to the outdated references but because we have moved towards not complaining about "these new-fangled disorders why can’t we just call everyone crazy people?" But I get it, this was 2003 and some people still think like that today.

Other than that, it's a very solid hour of well-written comedy where every joke and story seems to be rambling but is clearly part of a well-structured routine. I think everyone can enjoy Ellen's brand of kid-friendly and non-threatening humour that can take your mind off of hard times because, to quote Ellen, "with all of our differences we have one thing in common. We're all gay".

 

Wanda Sykes

 

I remember the joy I felt when I found out that Wanda Sykes was gay. A famous black comedian who I'd loved for years was gay as well! Dream come true.

I've watched her HBO special “I'ma Be Me” for this review. I chose it because I'd seen and liked it but also because it was her first special after she'd come out.

She starts her show with the 2008 election. Y'know American politics when they were normal bad and not rotting carcass hell-scape bad. She talks about the joy of having a black president. She also discusses the dissonance of being black and gay wanting to celebrate the Obama's election but also being devastated by the passing of Prop 8 which happened during the same election. The intersectionality of being black and gay is interwoven neatly into the show.

The main theme of the show is change. The fear of changes to the status quo and the difficulty in changing opinions. She also brings up changes in her private life such as having to publically come out, getting married to her wife and having her two children.

It leans equally on relatability and the addressing of social issues while remaining consistently funny, which is my sweet spot. It gives you a lot of hope, the hope she feels about the progress in society is infectious. It also gives hope and confirmation that life as a black gay woman is not a constant struggle but full of joy and companionship and family.

 

Margaret Cho

I had only seen Margaret Cho in movies and TV shows and I had no idea she was bisexual. I found out when I was making a list of comedians for this article and someone recommended her to me, specifically her routine about a lesbian cruise.

 

In this routine, she talks about performing a show on a lesbian cruise. It starts with jokes about different lesbian stereotypes and then she talks about having sex with a woman. She talks about the confusion that brought with it and brings up refreshing sex-positive ideas about being a slut and being proud of it. She touches briefly on the intersection of being Korean and queer but never delves into it. 

 

I'll be honest, the first time I watched the video I felt like I didn't "get it". I didn't respond to the impressions but mainly, the sex jokes and vulgar humour made me uncomfortable. I realise though, that this is because I still have that good-old repression that makes me act weird when people joke so openly about sex. I can go into specific details when I'm speaking about it scientifically but as soon as it's comedians making jokes about it I clam up. All that to say, if you're well-adjusted and comfortable with that sort of humour, I'd heartily recommend it. Even my repressed self got a laugh or two.   

 

Student, writer, pop-culture enthusiast and Ravenclaw
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