My Time as a Lesbian Stand Up Comedian

by Jenna
Sandi Toksvig

Young, dumb and full of jokes

When I started as a stand up comedian in 2012 I was full of laughter, energy and spunk; 150 gigs and one disastrous Edinburgh Fringe show later I was deflated, beaten down and all spunked out. Stand up comedy is for thick skinned people who are really passionate about it, unfortunately my skin is lovely but very thin and it’s fair to say that I was not totally obsessed with stand up. It was when I was drunk on my own watching Ab Fab that I decided I wanted to get into comedy, so a few months later I started a comedy course in London and started the magical road to becoming a stand up comedian.

Once I’d finished the course, which by the way was really good and taught by the wonderful Rob Hitchmough, I went on to perform on the London comedy circuit. At first I still had that nervous energy and love for performing that I didn’t pay much attention to the other acts as I was far too busy rushing to the toilet every five seconds. Once my temporary incontinence subsided I started to pay a lot of attention to the other acts…


Beginners start with sex

A lot of beginner comedians start with sex, it’s the easiest way to get a laugh. Anyone can write a joke about sex, for example:

Having sex with me is a lot like visiting/going (enter name of horrible place)
It’s (enter 2 adjectives)
And you’re bound to get (enter verb or noun related to the horrible place)


Having sex with me is a lot like going bowling
It’s slippery, expensive
And you’re bound to get hand herpes

Ok, maybe that’s not the funniest sex joke in the world but I never said my jokes were any good did I? I must admit that I also did a few sex jokes to begin with, but classy ones, obvs. Once I had been doing stand up comedy for a few months I moved on to some topics that interested me (not that sex doesn’t interest me, I love a good bang just as much as the next person does). Nothing makes people laugh more than a fat lesbian ranting on about how much of a feminist she is, especially when said act was sandwiched in between two #Lads with (apparently) very colourful sex lives.


Feminist lesbian bantz

It’s tough when you do a feminist lesbian joke about syncing periods with your girlfriend that gets zero bloody laughs, then a guy says what a whore his mum is and he gets a huge laugh and a paid Saturday night gig. Maybe I’m just bitter, maybe I just wish that I could be that funny, maybe I just wish that my mum was a whore, but she’s not so I guess I’ll have to stick with my messy period jokes instead.

A few years ago there was quite a few ass-hat promoters who wouldn’t book two women on the same night in case people thought it was some sort of special “ladies night”. Apparently all that oestrogen scares people away. Personally I bloody love a room that’s full of oestrogen rather than testosterone but that’s just because I’m a massive doughnut bumper. When I was gigging there were less gays so I had a USP but now it seems that nearly everyone is bloody gay! Alright, maybe not everyone is bloody gay but there’s enough gay comics for my gayness not to be unique.

My Edinburgh Fringe show was pretty disastrous and I had a few reasons why I quit stand up comedy, but if you’re a lesbian stand up comic then that’s fantastic, you should keep going! (And call me… Actually no don’t call me, I have a very steady girlfriend, steady as in long-term not as in balance, she’s actually very clumsy on her feet. See! Terrible at jokes…)


Stuart Mason



A friend of mine who I met on the comedy course and used to meet up with to do some writing died recently, thanks for the laughs Stuart, you’ll be sorely missed. (By the way, I’m still waiting for your feedback on my How to be a lesbian guide, so if you could send that down to me that would be great).




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