During times where it’s difficult to laugh, such as we’re in now, we find ourselves needing humor more than ever. Thankfully, we are living in something of a golden age for stand-up comedy, with streaming services offering access to specials new and old alike for your binge-watching pleasure.
Here are some LGBTQ comedians with specials help you laugh your ass off while you sit it at home during quarantine.
Wanda Sykes: Not Normal
The Emmy-nominated special Wanda Sykes: Not Normal sees the veteran comic taking on the strange political and social climate of 2019. While last year’s problems almost seem quaint by comparison with this year’s insanity, the set still holds up, and helps put things into clearer perspective.
Fortune Feimster: Sweet & Salty
If you’d prefer to get your mind off politics altogether, Fortune Feimster’s new special is for you. She shares stories from her awkward childhood and early adulthood, where she slowly began to put together why she was so protective of her female friends. It is her first hour-long special and demonstrates why she has been getting more popular with each year.
Ellen DeGeneres: Relatable
Ellen DeGeneres took a long break from stand-up, but her return, 2018’s Relatable—her first special in 15 years—showed she hadn’t lost a step. All that time off provided her with plenty of untapped material as well, including living a life that most would find entirely unrelatable, which she presents with self-awareness that helps the tales of luxury go down a bit smoother.
Simon Amstell: Set Free
If the pandemic has you feeling anxious, depressed, and generally spiritually lost, Simon Amstell: Set Free could be the perfect special for you. Amstell is no stranger to all of those feelings, even before the coronavirus hit, but in Set Free he shares the ways in which he learned to let go of the past, embrace acceptance, and forge ahead into an uncertain future with a better mindset.
Tig Notaro: Happy To Be Here
Tig Notaro brings her full unique, playful sensibility to the delightful Tig Notaro: Happy To Be Here, which includes bits about parenthood, married life, and why the best parties are the ones where you don’t know anyone. (Remember parties?) Oh, and make sure to watch till the end for a special surprise.
Hannah Gadsby: Nannette
Hannah Gadsby’s Nannette sparked an intense debate in the comedy community, and was so popular among the wider public that it was the only thing anyone seemed to be talking about for awhile (think Tiger King, but totally different in every other way). If you somehow missed it, now is the perfect time to check it out, and if you caught it when it was released, but haven’t seen it since, now might be a good time for a re-watch. Her next special, Douglas, is set to hit Netflix next month.
The Standups – Season One
After a run of hour-long specials, Netflix decided to shoot a collection of half-hour specials collected as different episodes, all under the title The Standups, which was released in 2017.
Before her aforementioned hour-long special, Feimster cut her teeth on a half-hour set for the streaming service, which helped introduce her to the comedy-loving public. If you have seen Sweet & Salty and want more Fortune, check out this bit of earlier work, where her voice is already strong, if still developing.
The Standups – Season Two
Netflix returned the following year with a second season of The Standups, presenting a new crop of half-hour sets.
British comedian Gina Yashere, whom you’ll likely know from The Daily Show, delivers her unique take on American culture, trying to make it in Hollywood, and dealing with her overprotective, scrapbook-of-death keeping mother.
The Comedy Lineup – Season One
The Comedy Lineup is a series of 15-minute sets, also released in 2018. The first season featured three LGBTQ comedians.
Sam Jay, a writer for Saturday Night Live, muses on topics like going from broke to having money, the unearned confidence of white men, and why Trump is like the white 2Pac.
Sabrina Jalees delivers a strong set on what it was like coming out to her Pakistani family, life with a pregnant wife, and the eternal idiocy of Vice President Mike Pence.
Tim Dillon extols the importance of finding a new show to watch (very relatable at this present moment), why Instagram is annoying in the summer months, and why renting makes you treat things better than when you own them.
The Comedy Lineup – Season Two
The second season of The Comedy Lineup featured two queer comedians.
The multi-talented Matteo Lane shows off his pipes (he was a former opera singer), discusses the trials of visiting Ohio, Grindr life—including what he would have called the app—and why he’s simultaneously happy and bitter about kids coming out younger and younger.
Emma Willmann mines her life growing up in small town Maine to great effect, including tales of a cop you can blackmail while you call him by his first name, a father who won’t say the word “gay,” and a “progressive but proper” mother.
Bill Burr Presents: Jessica Kirson
Jessica Kirson is a well-respected comedian who, as Bill Burr, who produced her special, notes, should have had her own special years before it finally happened. She seized the opportunity, turning in a great performance in Bill Burr Presents: Jessica Kirson.
Comedy Central Presents Jaboukie Young-White
Jaboukie Young-White is a rising star whose credits include Ralph Breaks the Internet, Big Mouth, and The Daily Show. His Comedy Central Presents half-hour sees him breaking down “male feminism,” his technology addiction, and which bugs are gay.
Comedy Central Presents Sam Jay
If you can’t get enough of Sam Jay, she too has a Comedy Central Presents, where she talks about the trials of married life, how she realized she was gay, and what it was like finding out Trump won the 2016 election while on a cruise.
Comedy Central Presents Tim Dillon
Comedy Central Presents Tim Dillon sees the comic giving his take on the worst part of being unemployed, visiting his schizophrenic mother at a mental health facility, and his strong feelings on ice cream.
Comedy Central Presents Joel Kim Booster
Joel Kim Booster brings stories of growing up a home-schooled kid in a Christian, conservative family, becoming an uncle, and being single for the first time in eight years to his Comedy Central Presents.
Comedy Central Presents Julio Torres
Saturday Night Live and Los Espookys writer Julio Torres talks veganism, being “too much,” gives a look at what it’s like to have brunch with him, and shares an awkward sex dream in his Comedy Central Presents.