LGBTQ Comics to Check Out

As the power dynamics of the comedy world shift towards balance, inclusivity and creativity, LGBTQ+ comedians are taking the country by storm.

Their sexuality isn’t necessarily the focal point of their sets, but for LGBTQ comedians, stand-up is an opportunity for their voices to be heard.

Though the industry still has a long way to go, the past few years have seen an extraordinary range of stories across the spectrum of queer experiences.

Joel Kim Booster

Joel Kim Booster is an LA-based comedian and writer. Joel’s TV and film credits include Curb Your Enthusiasm, BoJack Horseman, Big Mouth, and American Dad. He has appeared on Conan, The Late Late Show with James Corden, Netflix’s The Fix, and Comedy Central’s The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail.

“Gay people and Asian people are really, really underrepresented in comedy and just in pop culture in general, so both those communities are so thirsty to see anything that’s speaking directly to them.”

Joel Kim Booster

Fortune Feimster

She first became known as a writer and panelist on E’s hit show Chelsea Lately, and then starred as a series regular on The Mindy Project for Hulu and Champions for NBC. She has gone on to have many guest appearances on TV shows including Claws, 2 Broke Girls, Workaholics, Glee, Dear White People, and Tales of the City, as well as recurring roles on Showtime’s The L Word: Generation Q and CBS’s Life In Pieces.

She’s had memorable roles in the movies Office Christmas Party, Social Animals, and Father of the Year. She also recently voiced the role of Evelyn on The Simpsons, she’s the voice of Brenda on Bless the Harts for Fox, and she voices Ava on Summer Camp Island for the Cartoon Network.

“I think if I had had a platform like that to watch when I was young where you see people like you, I think I probably would have come out sooner. Once a mirror is being held up to you, you can see yourself better.”

Fortune Feimster

Chanty Marostica

Chanty Marostica, formerly known as Chantel Marostica, is a Canadian stand-up comedian who won SiriusXM Canada’s Top Comic competition in 2018 and received a Juno Award nomination for Comedy Album of the Year at the Juno Awards of 2019 for The Chanty Show.

On September 20th, they came out to their parents as transgender. That same night, they started a series of hour-long solo shows at JFL42 (the Toronto edition of Just For Laughs), effectively becoming the first trans comedian to ever do so.


Bowen Yang

Bowen Yang is a comedian, writer, and actor based in Brooklyn, New York. He is currently a featured player on Saturday Night Live, where he wrote for one season before moving on-screen. He can next be seen recurring on Comedy Central’s upcoming Awkwafina. Bowen is the co-host of the popular podcast “Las Culturistas” which he co-hosts with Matt Rogers and which has been featured in The New York Times, New York Magazine, Splitsider and Time Out New York. TV credits include Broad City, High Maintenance, and Jon Glaser Loves Gear.

The addition of comedian Bowen Yang to the cast of Saturday Night Live is a triumph being celebrated by two minority communities that have been historically underrepresented on the long-running sketch comedy show. Though the show is embarking on its 45th season on the air, Bowen joins the cast as the first Chinese-American performer in history and one of only three openly gay male cast members ever.


Matteo Lane

Matteo Lane is a New York-based comedian whose stand-up special can be seen on Netflix’s The Comedy Lineup. He has performed stand up on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Comedy Central’s Adam Devine’s House Party, This Week at the Comedy Cellar and The Comedy Jam, as well as HBO’s Crashing.

“I’m just saying this is the first time ever that gay, queer, male comedians are sort of on the spotlight that straight comedians are being seen in. So it’s all kind of just new. It’s all new and discovered and all new territory. I think it’s exciting.”

Matteo Lane

Jaboukie Young-White

Jaboukie Young-White is a comedian originally from Chicago who is currently a Correspondent on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. Named one of Variety’s “10 Comics to Watch” at the Just for Laughs Montreal Comedy Festival, White has performed stand up twice on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and recently debuted his half-hour on “Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents.” White can be seen in the last season of HBO’s “Crashing,” the Sony feature “Rough Night,” the Netflix feature “Set It Up,” and in the feature “Someone Great” also on Netflix. Previously, White was a staff writer on Netflix’s “American Vandal” and “Big Mouth.”

In late 2017, Young-White came out as queer during his first appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon; he later clarified that he identifies as gay, in his second appearance on the program in late 2018.

Stavros Halkias Comedy Works Debut

On Sunday, September 12, 2021 Stavros Halkias will be making his Comedy Works debut!!

After dabbling with comedy in college, Halkias started performing regularly in his hometown of Baltimore, where he was named New Comedian of the Year in 2012. Since then he’s toured clubs, colleges, and independent shows across the U.S., been featured on XM Satellite radio, and become a regular on Robert Kelly’s You Know What Dude podcast.

You Know What Dude podcast

Stavros Halkias is a stand-up comedian, actor, and host of the popular podcasts Cumtown and Pod Don’t Lie. He’s also widely known for his body-positive Instagram account, @Stavvybaby2.

Stavros has made appearances on Comedy Central, IFC, and the MSG Network, where he wrote and performed on the Emmy nominated, People Talking Sports and Other Stuff.

People Talking Sports podcast

Catch Stavros LIVE in Denver at Comedy Works Downtown in Larimer Square on September 12, 2021! Tickets are available for the 6:00pm and 8:15pm shows at ComedyWorks.com

TikTok Users Create Their Own Adult Swim “Bumps”

In a recent TikTok trend, users are recreating “bumps” that became popular on Adult Swim, Cartoon Network’s late night programming block.

On Adult Swim, there would often be a short clip called a bump would play after the commercial break before returning to the show that is playing.

With over 1.3 billion uses of the hashtag “adultswim” and 126.2 million uses of  “adultswimbump”, this viral trend gives users to creativity to film, draw or animate their own Adult Swim style bumps to an audio created by TikTok user Vano 3000.

@jooystin

new banger dropping 😉 #fyp #adultswim ib: @8illy

♬ VANO 3000 – VANO 3000

Brands often use social media platforms like TikTok to promote themselves or get involved with trends on the app. While many brands use a branded hashtag or create challenges for users to get involved and promote the brand, this trend is divergent.

Although Adult Swim has done the challenge, the trend didn’t originate from their page and they hadn’t initially promoted it.

TikTok users feel like they can join a trend that is both authentic and creative. They feel as if it was made for them, rather than giving free advertising and promotion to a brand.

Five Exceptional Comedic Podcasts for 2021

While many people are still working from home, there are many good comedic podcasts to help ease into the workday and make things just a little brighter. Five podcasts that provide some laughs to get you through the day are listed below.

1) Smartless – this podcast is hosted by actors Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Sean Hayes. In it, they discuss topics that cover shared experiences that bond and connect all people in life. The conversations are generally improvised and unscripted, adding to an authentic feel and genuine funny remarks. Guests have included Judd Apatow, James Corden, Conan O’Brien, and many more. Check it out HERE!

2) You Made It Weird – Pete Holmes hosts this very popular podcast. It explores everyone’s unique and often private quirks that makes them stand out as individuals. Holmes has interviewed actors Paul Bettany, Justin Long, and Kumail Nanjiani to just name a few. Download episodes from Apple or Spotify!

3) Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend – This podcast is hosted by O’Brien himself. After realizing that he is missing real and true friends, he has decided to invite guests onto his podcast to see if they are friendship material. Potential “friends” to be vetted have included Mike Birbiglia, Fred Armisen, Amy Sedaris, and John Cleese. Take a listen HERE!

4) Office Ladies – If you are missing the adventures at Dunder-Mifflin paper company, The Office co-stars Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey are there for you! They are re-watching every episode of the popular television series commenting on each and providing some behind-the-scenes secrets that will keep you laughing and wanting more. To hear all of the details about the show from Jenna and Angela, click HERE!

5) Fake Doctors, Real Friends with Zach + Donald – If you are a big Scrubs fan, this is definitely a must-listen for you! Similar to the “Office Ladies” podcast, each week the Scrubs stars, Zach Braff and Donald Faison, provide commentary for each episode, share some behind-the-scenes memories, and even chat with some Scrubs “super-fans”. You can find new episodes on Apple, Spotify, or iHeartRadio.

A list of more recommendations appeared on the Oprah Magazine website HERE. Happy Listening!

Comedy Central Celebrates Black History Month With Comedy

With February being Black History Month, the cable television network, Comedy Central, is going to celebrate by airing a special docuseries featuring prominent Black comedians entitled Dark Humor.

According to Vulture, the series will have nine parts and focus on a mixture of current topics and how these issues are intertwined with comedy. The first episode airs this week to kick-off the month, airing on Comedy Central’s YouTube channel with new episodes being released each week at 12pm EST on Mondays. Dark Humor will include many notable appearances from Tommy Davidson, Lil Rel Howery, Eddie Griffin, Roy Wood Jr., Sinbad, along with others. Many of them have been in the comedy scene for a while with some having performed at Comedy Works. In addition to these well-known Black comedians, the series will also share commentary from Harvard professor, Glenda Carpio, who teaches African and African American studies, and famous talent producer Bob Sumner.

Topics that will be covered in the different episodes range from comedy and politics, Black women in comedy, the art of speaking out on current social issues of the time, and the experiences of performing for different types of audiences. While some of the topics can admittedly be a little tough, the creators behind the series believe that with a little bit of laughter and light-heartedness, they might just be a little easier and more authentic. When asked, participant Roy Wood Jr. said “Black comedians are some of the most important journalists in America. We are the ones that are responsible for taking complicated and painful issues and sprinkling a couple of laughs inside of it so you can actually digest what the hell is going on.”

Click HERE to watch the first episode right now. In addition to raising awareness, Dark Humor is also serving as a fundraising source for Comedy Central’s partner for this docuseries, Color of Change, who is leading the charge for equality while aiming to provide some humor in the interim.

Review: Yearly Departed Special

There are many things that people are not sad to see go with 2020. Amazon Prime’s “year-in-review” comedy special, Yearly Departed, was no exception.

The special is set in a funeral parlor viewing room and features an all female cast as they say goodbye to things that won’t be missed from 2020 and that they hope are now dead. The cast features fake eulogies from Tiffany Haddish, Sarah Silverman, Rachel Brosnahan, and several others and sheds a light on what each of them is happy to bid a final farewell.

From a personal standpoint, overall the special has some funny moments and provides some good comic relief. It is a fun way to leave 2020 and bury some of the things that have been in the news and top of mind. There are some political and racial topics discussed but overall in a light-hearted, comical tone while still driving the message of the need and call for more acceptance and equality home. Topics included pants, having more children, band-aids, and “making America great again.” For me, the most relatable topic discussed was the death of pants. Brosnahan comments on how 2020 brought the death of pants due to most people working from home and opting to wear more lounge clothes compared to traditional, more formal apparel. Despite this being the most universally comparable topic, the need to show the pants-less star wasn’t necessary.

The end credits showing the “behind-the-scenes” was very insightful and interesting to see as it showed how through the technology of green screen, the actresses could be all placed in the scene together while keeping all parties safe.

Reviews from IndieWire and Decider gave the special “middle-of-the-road” reviews as well, noting some of the funnier moments that make it worth watch but leaving room for viewers to decide on their own what parts resinate with them and what they deem funny. If nothing else, its cathartic nature helps to close the chapter on a tough year with some laughs.

-MR

Top Comedy Specials Of 2020

With the rollercoaster year that was 2020, it is a good time to spend the last few weeks enjoying some much-needed laughs by highlighting the top comedy specials that were released this year.

Many people have been spending more time than usual looking for quality programs to watch with comedy helping to brighten the day. Vulture magazine announced their picks for the year earlier this week in this article. Top picks from the magazine include a variety of talent from Kevin Hart to Maria Bamford. The magazine’s top pick is Marc Maron’s End Times Fun which was filmed prior to the widespread shutdown seen this year by the pandemic. One notable piece in the special is Maron’s Book of Revelation–style closing segment which Vulture describes as “a mishmash of spiritual systems that combines Jesus, Iron Man, and current politics into a bizarre fantasy sequence.”

Other top-pick specials included Leslie Jones’ Time Machine, Patton Oswalt’s I Love Everything, and Fortune Feimmster’s Sweet and Salty. The best platform for viewing all of these comedy specials seems to be Netflix with a majority of them being available through that streaming service.

Sklar Brothers’ Dumb People Town Podcast

Comedy Works alums, Randy and Jason Sklar, have their own podcast series – Dumb People Town. The podcast started in January 2017 and chronicles dumb people doing dumb stuff, the instant recipe for laughter and comedic humor.

The dynamic duo partnered with Daniel Van Kirk to present this hilarious podcast to the world. Since its first episode, there have been multiple famous guests including Will Arnett, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Margaret Cho, and Harland Williams. A full list of available podcasts is available HERE. Some examples of topics for Dumb People Town are pickle juice, drunk people that like to brag, and many other offbeat subjects. The episodes also don’t miss an opportunity to poke fun at current events and politics.

The Sklar Brothers are well-known in the comedic industry from their multiple web series and podcasts that also feature Sklarbro Country and Cheap Seats. The brothers are also the creators behind the popular History Channel show, The United Stats of America, that can now be viewed on the AppleTV platform. They just finished a comedy tour, including some shows at Comedy Works this past fall. Daniel Van Kirk is also a well-known comedian that is recognized for his podcast, The Pen Pals Podcast, as well as his debut comedy album, Thanks Diane. If that weren’t enough, he has also been on the popular FOX television show, Bob’s Burgers, and The UCB Show on Starz. When they get together and join forces, the result is pure comedic gold.

The podcast has a few live tour dates that have been announced for 2020. Be sure to check out their Facebook page for upcoming dates! If there isn’t a stop near you, new episodes are released about once a week and are guaranteed to make you laugh out loud while listening and become a true “Townie” fan!

New Andy Samberg Comedy Goes To Hulu

Comedy news coming from the Sundance Film Festival is reporting that Andy Samberg’s new comedy film, Palm Springs, will be coming to Hulu soon. To add to this announcement, the streaming service purchased the rights to the new movie for a record-breaking sum, making it the largest sale at the festival during its first weekend. In true comedic fashion, this title only out-sold the previous record holder by 69 cents for a total of $17,500,000.69.

Palm Springs centers around Samberg’s character who is attending a wedding as the guest of one of the bridesmaids and encounters the unenthusiastic maid of honor. After the initial meeting, the two decide to “begin wreaking spirited havoc on the wedding celebration” drawing some inspiration and concepts from much beloved comedic classics. The film was produced by Samberg and his Lonely Island partners, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer. Other notable actors in the film include J.K. Simmons, Camila Mendes, and Peter Gallagher. Click HERE to check out some clips and interviews on the IMDb page. Additionally, the film has received early positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, IMDb, and Metacritic.

Samberg is well known for both his time on Saturday Night Live from 2005 to 2012 and The Lonely Island. Check out some of his infamous SNL skits with a “Best Of” reel HERE. He is also one of the main stars of Brooklyn Nine-Nine which was picked up by NBC for a 2019 mid-season premiere after being dropped from FOX. The seventh season is going to start in February 2020. Alongside Samberg’s television credits, he has starred in the well-known theatrical releases of Hot Rod, I Love You, Man, and lent his vocal talents to the Hotel Transylvania films.

As of present there is no set release date for Palm Springs on the Hulu platform but be sure to check back for a date to watch it!

Lorne Michaels – How He Persevered

The man, the myth, the legend – Lorne Michaels is opening up about the continued success of Saturday Night Live. The show first debuted in 1975 and is currently in its 45th season proving that Michaels has remained committed and determined to continue its success.

When asked in a recent interview with Deadline, Michaels discussed some of the aspects that have helped shape the show and how for him, its permanence was solidified as the show reached its 40th season five years ago. In the spotlight feature written by Biography, show secrets are revealed as well.

First of all, the show name was not originally Saturday Night Live. This name was owned by ABC for a different show but purchased by NBC at the beginning of Michaels’ second season in the fall of 1976. Secondly, the show is purposefully made to look “run-down.” Michaels said that he didn’t want the set to look “terribly slick.” It gives it a New York look and feel that has become an iconic component of the show and to give it a theatrical vibe. Additionally, Michaels left the show in 1980 for five years but returned in 1985 and has been back ever since.

Saturday Night Live is filmed at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Studio 8H where it has been since the beginning. Hosts for this season have included Adam Driver, Harry Styles, and Eddie Murphy. Remaining shows for the season will have JJ Watt and RuPaul – others will be announced as the season progresses.

When asked about the future of the show, Michaels is quick to assert that each new generation brings a new generational perspective and cultural references. In a separate interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Michaels says the production team “doesn’t have much of a wide shot, so when you see somebody going into the lens and taking it to some level that you hadn’t seen even at the dress rehearsal, it’s a magical thing.”

Be sure to catch new episodes of the show every Saturday night at 9:30 pm MST or here on the official NBC site.