Coming out: New and unsung LGBTQ+ voices in Canadian comedy you should know in 2021

To celebrate Pride this June, CBC Comedy reached out to a few of our favourite funny LGBTQ+ folks to find out who they think comedy fans should be paying attention to. Here’s what they had to say!

To celebrate Pride this June, CBC Comedy reached out to a few of our favourite funny LGBTQ+ folks to find out who they think comedy fans should be paying attention to. Here's what they had to say!

"Monica Garrido is a bright light all on her own, I'm just the lucky fan who gets to call more attention to this brilliant force of nature. I envy people who get to see Monica for the first time, unprepared for the energy that fills the room once she hits the stage, a sonic boom of charisma that at once blows you away even as it pulls you in. Suddenly you're in the best kind of consensual embrace—warm, welcoming, knowing—and from there, what holds you in place is an unfolding razzle of Monica's mesmerizing physicality matched only by the dazzle of her words. Monica is my favourite kind of storyteller, layering truth that's deeply mined and richly felt with humour that's by turns sharp, delicate, silly, daring, honest and always provocative. It's a treat to keep searching for ways to describe the ineffable, but you'll see it for yourself. For now, take it from this proud queerdo and admirer of Monica's talent, how she uses it and who she is—when it comes to comedy, Monica Garrido is the real deal. Happy Pride!" - Elvira Kurt

Elvira Kurt, one of Canada's finest comedians, made history as the first openly gay performer on late night TV on CBC in 1993, and has recently written for the Baroness von Sketch Show, The Great Canadian Baking Show, Canada's Drag Race and much, much more.

"Robert Watson. He's been doing comedy for maybe five years, but he's a hard worker. When he's not doing children's theatre, he's producing, and acting on his web series A Gay Victorian Affair (winner of a Canadian Comedy Award in 2018) or producing LGBTQ2S shows, now online. He's a funny, charming, smart guy who works really hard at his craft and promoting LGBTQ2S+ comedy." - Martha Chaves

Martha Chaves is a multi-lingual standup comedian, originally hailing from Nicaragua, and is well known to CBC audiences for her appearances on
Because News, The Debaters, and various comedy specials. She recently wrote for CBC Comedy about "Why I have issues with 'Latino' and 'Hispanic,' but like 'Latinx.'"

"Wilma Fingerdoo! Long time stalwart of the Toronto stand-up scene, Richard Ryder branched into drag to start reviewing RuPaul's Drag Race way back in season four. She was rough when she started (kind of like Drag Race...) but is now a full on glamour puss, who has quietly been carving out her space online, branching out into sewing tutorials and even some queer history lessons with her new Make Up and Movies series. Plus she's a whore for a little hat!" - Ted Morris

Ottawa's Ted Morris is a standup who was also a veterinarian, and has regularly appeared on CBC's comedy specials, as well as CBC Radio.

"If you're not already paying attention to Tranna Wintour, we suggest you immediately stop what you're doing and follow this woman immediately. From the moment she arrived on the comedy scene in Montreal and walked onto the very unglamorous Comedyworks club stage in full make-up, sequins and stilettos our lives have only gotten better. She was the first trans woman on the scene, sure, but more importantly she was the first comedian to prove you can be hot AND be funny. Go listen to her CBC podcast Chosen Family, buy tickets to every show she puts on, and for the love of god hire her for every red carpet—we did and no one's done it better." - Jess Salomon & Eman El-husseini

Collectively known as The El-Salomons, Jess Salomon and Eman El-husseini are Canadian comics based in New York City, who host
Comedians vs. the News for the BBC.

"Inés Anaya. She is a Montreal-based comedian. I remember the first time I saw her, I was completely captivated and was just like, 'Who is that?' Her comedic voice is fresh, sophisticated, and so damn clever. She's so stylish in every way and is one of the rare standups who can make me laugh out loud for real." - Tranna Wintour

Described as "Barbra Streisand minus the fame, fortune, and cloned dogs," Montreal's Tranna Wintour co-hosts the CBC podcast
Chosen Family, which recently featured Saturday Night Live's Bowen Yang, who discussed growing up in Canada

"I've had a crush on Acadian comic Coco Belliveau since I first heard them tell the hilarious story of how they dealt with the worst customer service rep ever on the phone (they crushed it, and her). A finalist of Le prochain stand-up, Quebec's comedy competition, this bilingual self-proclaimed weirdo reminds me of Hannah Gadsby and Fortune Feimster. Their recent material on the pressures of performing femininity and how losing weight has changed how society views them had me belly laughing. Oh, and they also perform impromptu absurdist raps, because why not?" - Thomas Leblanc

Thomas Leblanc co-hosts the CBC podcast
Chosen Family with Tranna Wintour, has performed to sold out crowds at Just For Laugh's OFF JFL, and has ranted about culture regularly on Radio-Canada. 

"Ajahnis Charley is the REAL DEAL! This comedian has chops.  Whether working with the all new Black sketch troupe The Untitled Black Sketch Project, that they helped found, hosting the online late afternoon variety show High Tea on Bad Dog TV or performing their solo shows (of which they have TWO coming up this Pride, STAY AT HOMO & '27 Club (Part One), partnered with another wonderful queer comedian Tom Hearn), they bring fun high octane energy that makes you laugh and think. Ajahnis has that star quality charm, and I cannot wait to see all the wonderful things this performer does in the future!" - Tricia Black

Multiple Canadian Comedy Award winner Tricia Black has previously appeared on CBC's
Baroness von Sketch Show, Kim's Convenience, as well a recurring role as Tara Swallows in Pretty Hard Cases.

"I don't know where Ajahnis Charley came from but he exploded in the improv/sketch world a few years ago, is already so funny and confident and has just scratched the surface of his comedic skills and talent. He already has so much to work with but also has so much potential. I'm very excited to see where his career takes him." - Kevin Vidal

As part of Soul Decision, Kevin Vidal appeared in a
series of sketches for CBC Comedy, and in addition to appearing as Mo in Workin' Moms and taking centre stage in the wildly popular Come from Away musical, Vidal will appear as Liam in the upcoming Kim's Convenience spin-off, Strays.

"Jin Lee: I really loved her stage presence. I mean she has great confidence for a young comic.  She's also wonderfully smart. And of course because 'Gaysian' comedian Kate Rigg is one of my writing and performing partners, I was instantly drawn to Jin and the content of her comedy. I also admire how part of her mission in comedy is to represent queer women and POC. I think she's going to grow to be a kick ass comic." - Maggie Cassella

Lawyer-turned-performer Maggie Cassella created the world's first international queer comedy festival in 1996, eventually known as
We're Funny that Way, and recently won a Canadian Screen Award for the festival's "Virtual Pride" offering, picking up the award for Best Performing Arts Program.

"After coming up through Toronto's standup scene, Celeste Yim proved to be one of Saturday Night Live's greatest assets during this past season, her first as a writer on the show. Taking on  which was pulled off during a pandemic no less. Taking on a notoriously demanding gig (during a pandemic, no less), Yim was behind some of the season's best sketches, including one that spoofed French Canadian television (and the CBC). One of the most exciting up-and-coming LGBTQ voices in comedy, they are clearly just getting started." - Peter Knegt

Peter Knegt is a writer and producer for CBC Arts, author of the column
Queeries, as well as spearheaded the launch and production of series Canada's a Drag, variety special Queer Pride Inside, and interactive projects Superqueeroes and The 2020s: The Decade Canadian Artists Stopped Saying Sorry. 

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