This Pride guide to L.A. comedy offers funny shows with rainbow flair

LA Pride
(LA Pride)

“Sometimes I think back to when I was a kid and how I struggled with my identity and safety every day, and I do not understand the life I’m living now,” Hannah Gadsby says.

There’s a moment in the influential international comic’s recent Netflix release, “Something Special,” that goes, “You’ve got to remember I grew up in a time when us gays weren’t even allowed to adopt a f– highway.” Now there’s an entire special on Gadsby’s new marriage to longtime producer and “Something Special” director Jenney Shamash.

Along with Wanda Sykes’ positively fire May 23 special “I’m an Entertainer,” “Something Special” continues to garner acclaim for elevating the art of unapologetic personal narrative.


“I don’t take it for granted,” Gadsby continues. “There is a lot of anti-LGBTQ+ chat in the world right now, particularly in the U.S., that reminds me of the debate around legalizing homosexuality from when I was younger, and that really concerns me. That’s a big part of the reason why it was important to me to make this new show positive and joyful. I don’t want the entire queer story to have to center on trauma and controversy. It’s important to celebrate our joy publicly whenever we can in an unencumbered way.”

The L.A. comedy scene offers diverse live options year-round, plus an extra burst of celebratory Pride programming for June. Whether locally or on the road, performers of all identities will elevate uniqueness within the community both onstage and off-.

A person in a tiger-print outfit speaks into a handheld microphone onstage
Tuesday Thomas performs for an L.A. crowd during her first stand-up special.
(From Tuesday Thomas)

Tuesdays in June (and all the other months too), Cara Connors heads “Straight for Pay” at the Glendale Room. A budget-friendly $5 ticket promises “The comedians are straight, or willing to be for the right price.” The fully accessible Glendale Room offers free parking next door. Fittingly, trans comic Tuesday Thomas presents “Comedy Church” every Friday at 4874 W. Adams Blvd. Here laughter is religion and nonpermit street parking is miraculously available. The 501(c)3 benefits community members including LGBTQIA and BIPOC youth with suggested donations of $10, “but no one is turned away.” Adds Thomas, “’Comedy Church’ is filmed and shown on Roku’s Pagan World TV channel.”

In the podcast realm, River Butcher and Gabe Dunn’s new podcast “The Knew Guys” debuted on June 1 with first guest Daniel Sea. On the Comedy Store Podcast Network, the host of “Not Cool With Sarah Hyland” drops a new Pride episode June 5. Guests include Hyland’s photographer wife, Jen Rosenstein, multihyphenate athlete-performer Jason Ellis and Justin Martindale, recent host of the “Drag Isn’t Dangerous” live telethon that raised more than $560,000 for the ACLU, GLAAD, GLSEN and Black Queer Town Hall. As an artist, Hyland plans to hand-paint a custom backdrop and create an entirely rainbow-themed set. “My guests have a vast array of experiences with their own sexual and gender identity and how they got to where they are today,” Hyland says. “It will be real, relatable and funny. The purpose is to bring awareness and help to those who still may be struggling or questioning their own sexual identity, as well as to help inform people who are not LGBTQ of how they can be educated and open. We will answer problems from people writing in as well on the topic of Pride.”

As a longtime WeHo venue, the Comedy Store has a float planned for June 4’s Pride parade. Manager Jenn Kane declares the 51-year-old club is “ready to bring a bit of the inside of the Store out into the streets and support our LGBTQ+ community.”

Grey building with sign that says Upright Citizens Brigade
(Jim Steinfeldt / Getty Images)

The 2022 sale and reopening of Hollywood’s UCB Theatre came with a statement putting “diversity, equality and inclusion front and center.” Improv team Queer World gets “Your queer stories brought to life by your favorite queer improvisers” on June 2, while June 3’s “Halloween in June Drag Extravaganza” is “bringing the tricks and treats to Pride with a cast of killer queens ready to slay the stage.” On June 8, it’s “Conversion Camp: A Queer Comedy Show” from Nick Murhling and Charlie James. The “Pretty Darn Queer” variety juggernaut combines veteran improvisers and celebrity guests June 11, Jared Goldstein co-hosts “Icons” alongside Maddie Connors and Christine Medrano on June 14, and June 17’s “Gays vs. Straights: A Gameshow Death Match” asks, “Who will come out on top? Who will bottom live on stage?”

At UCB on June 23, producer Sam Varela’s Naked Comedy monthly “Mr. Horsepower” is “Pride-lineup oriented.” Varela’s string of national Pride shows in conjunction with the Feeld dating app lands at the Echoplex June 27. The latter is free — first come, first served — to anyone with a Feeld profile.

Red haired woman sitting down in a dark room lit with purple neon
Beth Lapides, talent booker for Uncabaret at El Cid in Silver Lake, at the restaurant.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

In Silver Lake, Goldstein’s “UnCabaret” debut arrives June 23 at the historic El Cid. (Creator-producer Beth Lapides hosts an online UnCabaZoom featuring Justin Sayre and Jeff Hiller on June 11.) Nearby at the Virgil, Eric Williams of “That’s a Gay Ass Live Show” pits comics and drag performers in a June 15 competition to be named the Champion of Character Actress Knowledge.

Hosted by and raising top-surgery funds for Sammy Mowrey, Echo Park’s Permanent Records throws “Big Titty Boyfriend: A Comedy Show and Fundraiser” on June 9. A $10 suggested donation includes an all-trans lineup of Nori Reed, Roz Hernandez, Hayden Johnson, Jake Noll and Ever Mainard. Mainard’s own “Big Boned” solo hour is “a celebration of Butch Identity, top-surgery mishaps, and trash fires in Texas” at the Lyric Hyperion on June 22. Olivia Brown hosts the Lyric Hyperion’s “Shes Theys & Gays: Pride Edition” stand-up and drag gathering June 3. The revamped Silver Lake black box welcomes a classic “Kids in the Hall” lounge-lizard character June 30 with “Scott Thompson as Buddy Cole in KING,” which continues at the theater in July.

Big group of people posing with hands raised on a stage
The board of directors/comedians at the Elysian Theater on April 28, 2022.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Lest Frogtown be forgotten, the Elysian Theater’s “Friends and Gay S—” from Nic Scheppard and Jenson Titus celebrates the launch of the pair’s “A Very Gay Book!” June 9. The improvised-character talk show and signing will include celebrity “house band” musician Jason Mraz. On June 30, trans duo Girl God (Grace Freud and April Clark) presents the second annual “Gay Aid: A Live Fundraiser Telethon in Support of Gays.”

Mae Martin’s “Experiments With Friends” improv shows June 5 and 6 at Dynasty Typewriter feature guests including Stephanie Allynne. Before Nikki Levy hosts “Don’t Tell My Mother” storytelling at the same venue on June 20, Robin Tran offers a headlining sneak peek of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe hour she’ll perform starting June 16 and will run throughout August. “People can expect jokes about gender, race, sexuality, drag queens, porn and Vietnam War movies,” Tran says. “My shows always feel like they’re about to go off the rails, but I always steer it back into surprising laughter.”

Martin also hits the Elysian for a work-in-progress night June 2 and Largo on June 20 for “Mae Martin and Friends.” Beverly Grove’s Largo gets chummy with “Hannah Einbinder and Friends” benefiting the Entertainment Community Fund June 5, “Cameron Esposito With Friends” June 14, “Joel Kim Booster and Friends” June 22 and Fortune Feimster June 27. Along with Feimster’s “Live Laugh Love!” hour currently taking her across the States, streaming series “Fubar” with Arnold Schwarzenegger has the comic excited to break the action-performer mold and express a different side of herself.

“I play a CIA agent, which I never thought I would be playing in a million years,” Feimster enthuses. “I assumed when they asked me to do this show I would be the computer person that is giving the coordinates to everyone, drinking a Slurpee. But I’m in the field, I’m a field agent, I’m the sharp-shooter and mathematician. Clearly on-brand.”

NoHo-wise, “Percy Rustomji and Friends” returns to the Ha Ha Cafe June 14. The Comedy Chateau’s June 16 “Out of the Closet” show arrives as part of the second Comedy Chateau International Comedy Festival. In Burbank, Flappers continues its recurring “LGBTQ Open Mic” in the Main Room every Monday at 5:30 p.m.

A smiling person wearing glasses and a red top.
Fifi Dosch
(Asher Phoenix)

Off the 405 and West Pico, Fifi Dosch brightens the cocktail garden at Sorry Not Sorry on June 14. For Bergamot Station Arts Center’s the Crow, using the code STANDUP4PRIDE gets $5 off online tickets for a quartet of Santa Monica options. Rachel Rose curates a lineup of her favorite singer-songwriters on June 8’s “Queer Sounds,” June 10 sees the “I Gotta Crow Pride Comedy Show” gathering the “funniest LGBTQIA+ comedians to absolutely murder (crow pun!),” and June 21’s “Generation Comedy Smackdown With Judy Carter: Pride Version” wonders “Will the Lesbian Millennials know who K.D. Lang is? Will the Gay Boomers be able to do a ‘Death Drop!’ without breaking a hip? And the biggest mystery — will the gay Gen-Zers even show up?” In the thick of summer, Jack Brenner, Emily Cyrier and Izzi Cavotta produce “Air Conditioned Comedy” on June 28.

Elsewhere nearing June’s conclusion, Todd Glass is confirmed for a members-only Pride edition of “Comedy House” at Soho House West Hollywood June 21. In Culver City, Pink Foxx presents “The First Annual Foxx Fest Powered by Jam in the Van” June 23. The 5 p.m.-12 a.m. event entails, says Foxx, “a day of live music, comedy and vendors. A portion of the proceeds to be donated to feeding the homeless and the L.A. LGBT Center.” Erin Foley’s June 24 “Gays R Us” Rushtix livestream boasts guests M.K. Paulsen, Bridget McManus, Shelagh Ratner and Gloria Bigelow, plus an audience Q&A. D’Lo brings his “Big Daddy Energy” to the Virgil June 22 and on June 30 joins the nonprofit Satrang organization’s inaugural South Asian Pride night, sponsored by the City of West Hollywood and the L.A. LGBT Center.

Jonathan Van Ness is smiling while looking over his shoulder and is wearing a brown jacket
Jonathan Van Ness attends the world premiere of “Cats,” at Alice Tully Hall, Monday, Dec. 16, 2019, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
(Evan Agostini / Invision / Associated Press)

For “Queer Eye” grooming expert Jonathan Van Ness, the seventh-season debut of the reality series is followed by his “Fun & Slutty” stand-up tour of the U.K., Ireland and Amsterdam for the first half of June. It’s a skill learned “on the job” over the last six years.

“Going from the Improv and smaller spaces in L.A. to Radio City and now my third international hour show, it kind of blows my mind,” Van Ness says. There’s the tour, then U.K. promo for JVN Hair, “Then — I am the proud mother of five cats, three dogs, seven chickens, and they don’t like when I’m gone too long, but — I’ll be back in L.A. performing here. I love the comedy scene here. It’s where I got my start.”


As for a future stand-up special, Van Ness acknowledges the importance of both readiness and the right timing. Not to mention current industry issues of appropriate compensation. “I worked so hard on my comedy career that I want it to be what it deserves,” Van Ness says. “We’re kind of in a weird time in our industry with specials. I’ve had offers. I just felt like it wasn’t where I wanted it to be yet, so I’m holding on for what she deserves. And what I know my work is worth. I write my own comedy, I write my own shows, and I think we are in this time of all understanding what we are worth.”