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Comedy: Stand-Up, Lesbian  
page: 1  2  3  4  


Although many lesbian comics are still closeted onstage, there are now many out lesbian stand-up comics who perform regularly in cities from Seattle to Provincetown. Comedians such as Karen Williams, Lynn Lavner, Gail Hand, Julie Goldman, Lisa Koch, and Georgia Ragsdale give voice to the humor in the lesbian condition and crack jokes as a means to make serious and sometimes poignant observations about the lesbian experience.

In addition, comedy troupes such as Hysterical Women and Five Lesbian Brothers perform skits and improvisational comedy with a lesbian focus. Many comedy clubs in cities with large gay and lesbian populations have weekly gay comedy nights. Every day new lesbian stand-up comics are born as women continue to take the stage and try to achieve the age old goal of comedy--to translate pain into laughter.

Tina Gianoulis

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More Entries about The Arts

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arts >> Overview:  Cabarets and Revues

Historically, cabarets and revues have been much more likely to mention or imply same-sex desire than the "legitimate" theater; and same-sex desire has been less frequently condemned in cabarets and revues than in mainstream plays.

arts >> Overview:  Comedy: Stand-Up, Gay Male

Beginning in the 1980s, a new generation of gay stand-up comics began to appear, telling jokes from the perspective of the gay insider.

arts >> Bernhard, Sandra

Sharp-tongued comedienne, writer, singer, and actor Sandra Bernhard is known almost as well for her amorphous sexuality as for her cynical wit.

arts >> Bernstein, Leonard

For most of his life, the specter of the closet lurked threateningly behind the glamorous and often brash public image of American composer Leonard Bernstein.

arts >> Clinton, Kate

Comedian Kate Clinton has been comfortably open about her lesbianism from the beginning of her career in the entertainment field.

arts >> DeGeneres, Ellen

No matter how great her contribution to the world of comedy, Ellen DeGeneres will probably be best remembered as the first lesbian to star as a lesbian on her own network television show.

arts >> DeLaria, Lea

A proudly out lesbian from the very beginning of her career, the versatile Lea DeLaria has earned accolades for her talents as an actor, a singer, and a stand-up comic.

arts >> Garland, Judy

The fragile persona and emotion-packed voice of actress and singer Judy Garland are powerfully linked to gay culture and identity; she appealed especially to gay men, but also to lesbians.

arts >> In the Life

America's only nationally broadcast gay and lesbian newsmagazine, In the Life began in 1992 as a variety show, but has since evolved into an acclaimed public-affairs program.

arts >> Leifer, Carol

Comedian, writer, actor, and producer Carol Leifer never anticipated that after the age of forty she would find personal fulfillment by recognizing her lesbianism, becoming a mother, and standing up for glbtq rights.

arts >> O'Donnell, Rosie

Comedian, actress, television talk show host, and openly gay mom, Rosie O'Donnell has achieved remarkable success in her relatively short career.

arts >> Sykes, Wanda

Actress and comedian Wanda Sykes, who has never been shy about addressing sensitive or controversial issues on stage, has also become a spirited advocate for glbtq rights.

arts >> Tyler, Robin

Charismatic performer and activist Robin Tyler has spent much of her life enmeshed in the struggle for gay and lesbian rights, from planning national marches to promoting same-sex marriage.

arts >> Westenhoefer, Suzanne

Out, proud, pretty, and funny, stand-up comedian Suzanne Westenhoefer is also an outspoken supporter of glbtq and feminist causes.


Allis, Tim. "Saying It Loud: Lesbian Comedian Lea DeLaria Emcees April, 1993 Gay and Lesbian March on Washington D.C." People Weekly 39.18 (May 10, 1993): 49-51.

Cagle, Jess."Stand-up kinda gays." Entertainment Weekly No.200 (December 10, 1993): 18-20.

Harris, Trudier. "Moms Mabley: A Study in Humor, Role Playing, and Violation of Taboo." Southern Review 24 (1988): 765-776.

Jones, Anderson. "Funny Girl [Suzanne Westenhoefer]" The Advocate (February 15, 2000): 59.

Karvoski, Ed, Jr. A Funny Time To Be Gay: Hilarious Gay and Lesbian Comedy Routines, from Trailblazers to Today's Headliners. New York: Fireside Books, 1997.

Kuehl, Sheila James. "A Clinton Without Compromise." The Advocate (November 16, 1993): 73-80.

McNamara, Mary. "Laughing All the Way to the Revolution: The New Feminist Comics." Ms. 2.4 (January-February, 1992): 22-28.


    Citation Information
    Author: Gianoulis, Tina  
    Entry Title: Comedy: Stand-Up, Lesbian  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated August 17, 2005  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2002, glbtq, Inc.  


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