12 Essential Queer Comics — From the New to the Legendary

By: Alex Panisch

Amy Schumer’s hilariously raw sketch comedy show Inside Amy Schumer returned to Comedy Central this week. And, of course, it made us laugh. In honor of one of our favorite funny ladies, who also relies on the humor of gay women and men for some of her best material, we’ve compiled a list of 12 queer comedians — new and old — who we continue to make us crack a smile. And before you ask: No, we didn't include everyone's fave, Ellen DeGeneres, because, well, what else is there to say?


Gabe Liedman

Liedman is one of the hottest new commodities in comedy. Aside from being a writer on Inside Amy Schumer as well as Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Kroll Show, Liedman’s become a web celeb for Besties X Besties, his Funny Or Die series with his bestie, Jenny Slate. 


Tig Notaro

Truly a comedian’s comedian, Tig Notaro — aside from being a writer on Inside Amy Schumer — is a darling of the stand up scene. After seeing her perform at Largo in Los Angeles, Louis C.K. tweeted, "In 27 years doing this, I’ve seen a handful of truly great, masterful standup sets. One was Tig Notaro last night at Largo." She's also buddies with Sarah Silverman. As she told us last year, “Even though she and I have very different humor, we still get each other’s sensibilities,” adding that she and Silverman spend a lot of time emailing one another videos of “a cute animal or cute old person or cute baby; it’s heavy on the cute.” Silverman has also been dating Notaro’s writing partner, Kyle Dunnigan, for more than a year. “I always call it ‘one-stop shopping,’ with them dating,” Notaro says.


Kate McKinnon

Though Kate McKinnon may be SNL’s reigning MVP this season, her sketch comedy history predates Bieber and Merkel impressions. Kate first cut her teeth on Logo’s Big Gay Sketch Show, most famously as Fitzwilliam, a little British boy whose only wish is to become a little British girl. Though not quite as polished as her Ellen impersonation or beleaguered Russian peasant, Olya Povlatsky, you can definitely see the makings of a comedy star even way back when.


Wanda Sykes

A screen staple, Out100 honoree Wanda Sykes has been making us laugh for over a decade. The Emmy Award winner has had a myriad of big screen roles, as well as a recurring role on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm and starring alongside Julia Louis-Dreyfus in The New Adventures of Old Christine. She's even made pals with Oprah and taken over Harpo.


Margaret Cho

Margaret Cho is perhaps one of the most beloved funny people in the LGBTQ community. Aside from being an actress, comic, and burlesque dancer, Cho’s also a marriage equality activist who fought to repeal Prop 8 in her home state of California. As she told Michael Musto recently: "If you’ve been around the gay community forever, you achieve Mother Superior status. 'Fag hag' is an outdated term, so I want to start using 'dick widow.' At a certain point in the night at a gay bar, you become invisible as a woman. You’ve lost your friends to dick."


Simon Amstell 

Better known in Britain as the acerbic yet slightly awkward former host of Nevermind The Buzzcocks, Simon Amstell has recently made his foray into the States. His “Numb” tour was a sold-out success in New York City, and he’s currently back Stateside touring the East Coast. The man takes adorable British awkwardness to the next level. And we love him for that.