10 LGBTQ+ Comedians to Watch Who Aren't Dave Chapelle
Dave Chappelle: The Closer, the latest special from the controversial comic, debuted on Netflix last week. It's since received intense online backlash for jokes made at the expense of the LGBTQ+ community, specifically trans women, that are not just offensive, but dangerous.
Referring to the rapper DaBaby, who recently came under fire for insensitive and ill-informed comments about HIV, Chapelle joked he "punched the LBGTQ [sic] community right in the AIDS." He goes on to declare himself proudly "team TERF," which stands for Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist, because, he argues, "gender is a fact," the implication being that trans women are not "real" women.
Various advocacy organizations have condemned the special. In a tweet linking to an NPR review of Chappelle's latest, GLAAD said "Dave Chappelle's brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities. Negative reviews and viewers loudly condemning his latest special is a message to the industry that audiences don't support platforming anti-LGBTQ diatribes. We agree."
In an effort to support the LGBTQ+ community and celebrate people no matter how they express their gender identity, here are 10 comics from that diverse group you can giggle with instead of Chappelle.
You may know her from television like Shrill and Q-Force or the 2021 film Together, Together. Perhaps you thought you were reading tweets from Nilla Wafers that were actually hilarious parodies concocted by her. Either way, she's an absolute genius—check out her work on Comedy Centralor, if you're in London this November, see her live at the Soho Theatre.
Nori Reed is a Los Angeles-based comedian who has opened for legends like Amy Poehler and Maria Bamford. She's also a writer, credited on the That's So Raven reboot series: Raven's Home. Take a look at her Punchline SF set here and read her work in Vogue here.
Look no further than your Instagram stories for Washington's humor (hers are a Barbie-filled delight). The New York-based comedian is also known for her series Syd Can Cook, the podcasts The Unofficial Expert and Hobby Hunter, and her live shows, like this set on Comedy Central.
Cole Escola has been making sensational short films for years, and is most recently known for their television work as a deranged twink on Search Party. They've also appeared on various TV projects like At Home with Amy Sedaris and Difficult People, and released a self-produced lockdown comedy special, Help! I'm Stuck!, last year.
Peter Smith is a comedian who's appeared on HBO Max's Three Busy Debras alongside their frequent collaborator Sandy Honig, with whom they've regularly hosted the live show The Bongo Hour. Look for them in the upcoming Searchlight/ Hulu feature Fire Island next year, and check them out on Comedy Central here.
Based in New York City, Jes Tom is a standup, writer and actor featured in GO Magazine, Splitsider, The Fader, and TimeOut New York. Check out their self-produced half-hour comedy special, Cold Brew, on Vimeo.
River L. Ramirez
Ramirez is a New York based comedian and co-hosted the podcast A Woman's Smile with fellow listmaker Patti Harrison. For their surrealist approach to the art form, they've been featured in The New York Times. Check out their hour-long set at MoMA PS1 here.
McBride is a standup comedian based in New York, proudly the first openly transgender comedian to perform at Madison Square Garden. In addition to opening for legends like Amy Schumer, she's a regular at Manhattan's 'Comedy Cellar.' You can check out some of her live work here.
D'Lo is a comedian and actor perhaps best known for his work on Looking, Sense 8, Transparent, and Mr. Robot. His solo shows like Ramble-Ations, D'FunQT, and D'FaQTo Life have toured nationally. Check out his Comedy Invasion set here.
Larry Owens won a Drama Desk Award for his role in the Pulitzer-Prize winning musical A Strange Loop last year. He can be seen on HBO Max in High Maintenance, Betty, and Search Party, starring in an upcoming film from Miramax, and regularly performing live around New York City. Check out his One Direction cover!