Thankfully, these days, the LGBTQ+ community represented in British comedy is strong and thriving. As Capers Magazine continues to celebrate Pride Month, our columnist Frankie Yates shares her favourite gay comedians.
Beginning his career as a tv presenter on Nickelodeon where he claims he was “sacked for being sarcastic and mean to children”, Simon Amstell is well loved for hosting Never Mind The Buzzcocks before leaving to concentrate on stand up, writing and directing. He came out when he was 21 and has said in an interview that he “didn’t think it was possible to like boys without ruining my entire life.” Amstell’s debut feature film ‘Benjamin’ was written to help him figure out what happened in his 20’s and understand his younger self.
Known and loved for being ‘The Sinnerman’ on the ITV game show The Chase, Paul Sinha is also a hilarious stand up comedian. He quit his job as a doctor to pursue his career in comedy and refers to himself as “comedy’s only gay Asian former GP”. Eight months after Sinha was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2019 he married his long term partner Olly, after previously saying that he didn’t think he would ever get married. He thought a gay wedding would be too difficult for his Hindu parents.
You’ve probably seen her on Mock The Week or 8 Out of 10 Cats, or heard her on Deborah Francis-White’s The Guilty Feminist podcast, but before Bohart appeared on our screens she write for Frankie Boyle and subsequently found her own performative feet. Bohart came out to her parents as bisexual when she was 19, saying that although her mother was very liberal and ‘way too enthusiastic’ about it, there was definitely a period of adjustment for her father as he is a Catholic deacon. In the run up to the gay marriage referendum, her father threw a coffee morning in aid of the Yes campaign to show his support. Bohart’s 2020 show ‘Lemon’ centres around her sexuality and is developed from the reaction of a grumpy audience member in a lemon cardigan when she first performed at Edinburgh Fringe Fest.
Could we really have this list without including Stephen Fry? Fry has recently opened up about his experiences of being gay in the 1980’s, speaking about how unhappy and lonely he felt, thinking (incorrectly in our opinion) “I’m such an undesirable person. I’m as far from cute as it’s possible to be.” Although Fry has never specified at what age he came out, he says that he knew about his sexuality from a very young age, stating “I suppose it all began when I came out of the womb. I looked back up at my mother and thought to myself, that’s the last time I’m going up one of those.”
Once known for being the UK’s most famous drag Queen Lily Savage, Paul O’Grady is now more commonly known for being a tv host and wanting to adopt all the dogs in the world. He has been married to his husband, the former ballerina André Portasio, since 2017 after a long history together dating back to 2006. O’Grady was recently interviewed about the possibility of Lily Savage appearing as a guest on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, but it doesn’t seem that’s going to happen any time soon. O’Grady said that he couldn’t bear it and doesn’t have very fond opinions of the show, saying “That’s not drag! It’s all about shading and contouring your face now and being like supermodels.”
Zoe Lyons is a hilarious comedian who is definitely at her funniest when she is doing stand up, which is usually centred around being gay and living with her wife. You also might have seen Lyons on Mock The Week, Michael Mcintyres Comedy Roadshow or the ITV game show Survivor from back in 2001. Lyons says that she suspected she was gay from the age of 12 but really knew for sure when she was 16, although she read a lot of advice telling her it was just a phase she would grow out of. Lyons says that although her mum and partner get along really well now, coming out to her parents at age 21 was difficult. Her mum was devastated, first suspecting she was either pregnant or on heroin after Lyons approached her saying “I have something to tell you”, and her dad purchased a self help book on having a gay child.