Gina Yashere: A Queer Queen of Comedy Brightening the World

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Photo Credit: David Burgoyne

From London’s West End to The Apollo in New York and many more venues all over the world, Gina Yashere has left audiences shedding happy tears. The British-born comedian resides in New York with her partner and continues to bring laughter to the masses. She is the British Correspondent on the Daily Show, currently writing a biographical comedy, and bringing joy to the world.

Yashere wasn’t always in New York. After leaving the UK, she moved to Los Angeles, California for her career and the weather. “I went to L.A. first because I wanted the weather and sunshine and palm trees and beaches,” she said. “Obviously being born and raised in England, I was chasing the sun, but New York has a much better comedy scene.”

Yashere discovered that if she wanted to do shows and make money out west, she had to go on the road but could relax in the sun when she returned. This was nice but neither the California sun nor her television appearances fulfilled her drive to do more of what the loved. “So when I moved to L.A., I was looking to do my stand up and do whatever other TV stuff I could pick because all the TV stuff fueled the people to come out to see my stand up. But when I was in L.A., I was doing bits of TV things but the stand up just was just not fulfilling. That’s why I left to go to New York because stand up is what I want to do.”

In the Big Apple, Yashere does far more of what she loves. “In New York, if I want to work every night of the week and do three or four shows a night, I can. You know what I mean?” she said. “That means I’m continuously writing, continuously preforming, continuously creating because I’m doing shows all the time.”

Photo Credit: David Burgoyne

 

As a black queer woman in comedy, Yashere has a distinctive voice and point of view. She does not approach shows with the intent on making a political point. Her comedy is biographical, she says, explaining that her presence in a field dominated by white men is a statement regardless of what she says. “I’ve got a totally different voice. I’m also from another country. I’m black but I’m not African-American, and I’m queer. I’ve got lots of [other] things I’m talking about than the stand ups in America,” says Yashere.

“But often people don’t quite know what to do with me. Live [show] wise, it’s great. Audiences love it because I’m never going to be the same as anybody else who’s come on. You can go to a comedy night and see four white, male comedians talk about the same stuff… When I come on stage, the audiences know they’re going to get something completely different.”

Regardless of the location, Yashere adapts her comedy to the audience before her. She does shows across world–she’ll be heading to the Dominican Republic after three nights in Baltimore–and wants to keep her audiences laughing but comfortable. “I’ll hang out in the town and eat and people watch and see what I can pick up locally. But the core of what I’m talking about doesn’t change. I can adapt and add little nuances but the core of what I’m talking about doesn’t change.  I am who I am. I’m not going to change who I am because the audience might be Trump supporters or whatever. I’ll do what I do. But I’ll do it in a way that doesn’t make people feel uncomfortable. At the end of the day I’m there to entertain. Entertainment is my first port of call.”

 

You can catch Yashere at Magooby’s Joke House in Baltimore, Maryland from October 19-21, where she will be delighting the DMV for three days. She will also be emcee for the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice 40th Anniversary Gala on November 13 and touring the world many days in between.

 

 

 

 

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