100 Women We Love: Class Of 2018

Each one of these women, in her own unique way, is a role model who exemplifies the best of the LGBTQ community.

Elsa Waithe

Photo by Arin Sang-Urai

Comedian Elsa Waithe learned early on that breaking into the mainstream wasn’t for her. Rather, LGBTQ audiences have given her a comedic home. “Being a QTPOC performer, not everywhere will be welcoming to what I am bringing to the table,” says Waithe, a Virginia native, who hosts GOLD Comedy Live at the Williamsburg Hotel and her own show, Affirmative Laughter, at the Bureau of General Services, Queer Division. Rather than “exhaust myself” trying to please mainstream audiences and “eat at that table, I will just make my own,” she says. “And then I’ll invite all the queerdos to eat with me.” Waithe delves into the nuances of sexuality and race in her comedy, and isn’t afraid to lay onto both topics with a critical eye. “But mainly,” she says, she just talks about herself — “and weed.” Offstage, Waithe gives back by coaching teen girls in the art of standup, as the founding teacher of GOLD Comedy School for Girls. “Humor is a powerful tool that isn’t often encouraged in girls,” Waithe says. “I love to work with them to help them process the world around them and turn it into something funny.” —SEJ

What Do You Think?