Sometimes, you just need to laugh. There are days that feel like they quite literally take the life out of us, and we need something to put that life back. This is why, often, I’ll turn to some of the funniest comedy specials that I have ever seen - which include titles from every single fantastic comedian on this list.
In honor of pride month, today we are going to be taking a look at some of the most hilarious comedy specials that are available to stream right now from amazing LGBTQ+ comedians, from newbies to people who have been around for decades. If you’re looking for something that will truly make you laugh and smile for an hour or two, this is the list for you.
Wanda Sykes: Not Normal (2019)
I'm sure at some point you have heard of Wanda Sykes, whether from her acting career or when she co-hosted the 2022 Academy Awards, but have you ever actually seen her comedy specials? In Wanda Sykes: Not Normal, the famous comedian goes off about everything you could possibly think of, from the Trump administration to reality shows and her own personal life.
To someone like me who has watched Wanda Sykes for a good portion of her life, I have to say, this comedy special of hers is amazing. I’ve seen so many of her roles in movies and TV but there’s just something about her doing pure standup that makes her even better. This special sort of offers a new look into her life that we don’t normally get to see, and I for one think you’ll enjoy it just as much as me.
Stream Not Normal on Netflix. (opens in new tab)
Sam Jay: 3 In The Morning (2020)
Saturday Night Live has some very famous alumni, and I’m telling you, Sam Jay is going to be huge one day. A writer on the famous primetime sketch show, Sam Jay: 3 in the Morning follows the comedian as she talks about her girlfriend, traveling, and everything else in her life.
I remember when I first watched this special I was astounded that someone like Jay wasn’t put in front of the camera on SNL and instead was behind writing all the sketches, because she is so funny. Not only is this a great comedy special from a person of color, but she is fully open in every aspect of her life and makes you smile in more ways than one. I could re-watch this over and over.
Stream 3 in the Morning on Netflix. (opens in new tab)
Margaret Cho: PsyCho (2015)
This bisexual-identifying comedian will cause your sides to hurt. In Margaret Cho: PsyCHO (emphasis on that last part), Cho isn’t afraid to dig deep into not only herself, but the audience, often talking about her upbringing as an Asian, her love of everything entertainment, and how she has grown so much as a person just through laughter.
As a bisexual woman myself, I can fully say that I really love Margaret Cho’s work. The ways in which she blends her jokes with her sexuality are so effortless that it makes me wonder if she just came out of the womb cracking jokes at her mother. It made me want to watch more of what she’s done after, and if a comedy special can do that, I consider it a success.
Eddie Izzard: Dress To Kill (1999)
Let’s take it all the way back to before this century. In this comedy special, Eddie Izzard: Dress to Kill, this hilarious comedian talks about all the topics you could think of, from their sexuality to the royal family of England and murder - all while doing it with a fabulous outfit and a killer smile. They’re certainly dressed to kill.
I think what I love about this special so much is its impact. Back in the 1990s, there really weren’t a lot of mainstream comedians such as Eddie Izzard where they were so openly and unashamedly themselves, and looking back on it now, I am so thankful for someone like Eddie Izzard who openly showed off how funny they were and didn’t alter their personality in the slightest.
Jerrod Carmichael: Rothaniel (2022)
Next up, we have Jerrod Carmichael: Rothaniel. In this HBO special, Jerrod Carmichael opens up about his life, coming out as gay to the public for the very first time during his stand-up act, and using that as a catalyst for a hilarious hour of humor.
There are so many reasons why you should watch this show. First of all, this HBO special is directed by fellow comic, Bo Burnham, who has had his own success with incredible comedy specials such as Inside and more, so you know he poured his whole heart into this. But, honestly, watch it for Carmichael himself. While he’s also pushed boundaries with his jokes in the past, I feel like Rothanial is a more raw and open look into his life, specifically talking about what his sexuality means to him and making people laugh while doing so, and I think that’s just beautiful.
Stream Rothaniel on HBO Max. (opens in new tab)
Fortune Feimster: Sweet & Salty (2020)
This is the type of comedy I want every day for the rest of my life. In this Netflix special, Fortune Feimster: Sweet & Salty, you see the titular comedian for who she truly is - a hell of a good time. During the show, she talks about growing up, how she learned to embrace who she is, and so much more.
I believe what I like the most about Feimster is that she’s so welcoming. There’s just something about her that screams “best friend.” I feel like she would be the type of person who would hold your drink for you while you went to the bathroom in a bar, and fight off any men that tried to dance with you if you thought they were creepy. She’s so open and sweet about her life, and cracks some hilarious jokes to boot. I’d gladly recommend her again and again.
Stream Sweet & Salty on Netflix. (opens in new tab)
Tig Notaro: Happy To Be Here (2018)
Someone else who has been around for some time is Tig Notaro, and you can get a taste of her comedy in Tig Notaro: Happy to Be Here. In this special, Notaro talks about her life as a gay woman, and how it has changed and shaped to her, as well as how much she loves her wife, while keeping that same dry humor she is known for.
For someone who is just getting into watching queer comedy, I would whole-heartedly recommend watching Tig Notaro (she's also in Army of the Dead). Her kind of comedy, delivered in that dry way that has made her famous, is so easy to enjoy, but her set is all very down-to-earth. You relate to a lot of what she says, regardless of whether you’re a part of the LGBTQ+ community or not. Plus, you’ll laugh your ass off when you hear that her child’s first words were, “I’m gay!”
Stream Happy to Be Here on Netflix. (opens in new tab)
Hannah Gadsby: Nanette (2018)
For those who are looking for something that might be a little more serious, but still make you laugh, check out Hannah Gadsby: Nanette. Gadsby talks about living in a small town, her identity and what it means to her, and how through her trauma, she has only grown stronger.
Out of all the comedy specials on this list, I personally believe that Nanette is one of those that takes itself a little more seriously, and that’s a good thing. Gadsby isn’t afraid to dig deep to the root of her problems and talk about how her past has truly shaped who she is today, what life is like as a queer woman in the world. The show is still very funny, with laughs that are generously offered throughout the special, but I found myself tearing up a few times watching this.
Stream Nanette on Netflix. (opens in new tab)
Simon Amstell: Set Free (2019)
This is one that I’m sure you’ll all love. Simon Amstell: Set Free is a great special from Netflix featuring Simon Amstell, a young comic who has a bit of an awkwardness to him that I’m sure we can all relate to, all while making us laugh a ridiculous amount.
Okay, maybe I’m a little biased because I love anything British - I grew up watching the Harry Potter series and now binge Gordon Ramsey shows for instance - but I have to say that Simon Amstell is so freaking funny. I truly love how he works his sexuality into his comedy act, talking about weddings and love and especially his boyfriend. The stories about his relationship are truly some of the best moments of the show. I promise, you’ll be laughing your butt off.
Stream Set Free on Netflix. (opens in new tab)
Bob The Drag Queen: Suspiciously Large Woman (2017)
If you’re a fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race like I am, then you need check out this special from the Season 8 winner, Bob. In this special, Bob the Drag Queen: Suspiciously Large Woman, this hilarious woman travels all the way back to her hometown in Atlanta, Georgia, talking about her newfound fame, the world of entertainment, politics, and so much more.
As someone who adores the show that made Bob famous, I have to say, this special is hilarious. There's a reason why Bob ended up winning the season she was in of RuPaul’s Drag Race and this just further her talent. The way she delivers her lines makes you laugh even more, all while she has this amazing outfit on. I wish I could pull off her fits.
Stream Suspiciously Large Woman on Amazon Prime. (opens in new tab)
Stand Out (2022)
Last but not least, we are not celebrating one special, but several amazing LGBTQ+ comedians. In Stand Out, which came out in June 2022 on Netflix, we get several small sets from legendary and rising comedians within the LGBTQ+ world which will make you laugh your ass off - all hosted by Billy Eichner.
In honor of Pride Month, this show features many of the comedians we have on this list, such as Wanda Sykes, Margaret Cho, Eddie Izzard, and so many others. It’s like every single one of these legendary queer comedians all coming together for a night of literal hilarious pleasure. Trust me, if you like any of the comedians on this list, please check out this special. It’s so good.
Stream Stand Out on Netflix. (opens in new tab)
While there are plenty of amazing comedians out there who have come out with some great comedy specials, these are some of my favorite ones from the LGBTQ+ community that I truly think you should watch right now. Trust me, you won’t regret it - in fact, your side will be hurting after laughing so much.
Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!
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