The 5 Hottest Transgender Comedians
BY Diane Anderson-Minshall
March 18 2013 7:00 AM ET
Julia Scotti first made a splash in the stand-up comedy scene in New York City in the 1980s, performing at the Improv in Hell's Kitchen alongside such contemporaries as Jerry Seinfeld, Paul Reiser, and Eddie Murphy. Back then, Scotti's act focused on a caricature of Scotti's loud, animated, overbearing father.
These days, Scotti's act features a hilarious caricature of Scotti's loud, animated, overbearing mother — which is a more accurate fit, since Scotti is a transgender woman. Her first stand-up gig as a woman was in 2011 at Comedy Works at Georgine's Restaurant in Bristol, Pa., according to a comprehensive profile from Philadelphia City Paper.
"I had this mission to be a trans comic who could stand up for other trans comics," Scotti told CityPaper last year. "So I said to the audience, 'I've been away for 10 years and a lot's happened. I went to college. I became a teacher. My parents died. And, oh yeah, I had a sex-change operation.'" The audience was dead silent.
Undeterred, Scotti has since found a comfortable mix between trans-related jokes and riffs on family, being a woman, and trying to make a love life work. In addition to gigs all around the tri-state area, City Paper reports that in 2012, Scotti became the first transgender person to perform in the Ladies of Laughter competition at Gotham Comedy Club in New York City, and secured a place for herself as one of the five finalists. That victory encouraged her to set a new goal to become the nation's first successful trans comic, so she can help dispel stigmas that keep trans folk in the closet, unable to be their authentic, (and in Scotti's case, hilarious) selves. Scotti told City Paper she wants to be so successful that she's invited to perform on Ellen, truly representing a cross section of the oft-divided LGBT community.
Catch Scotti in action at Comedy Works at Georgine's in the video below.