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Seattle's Queerest open mic

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Photo by Lindsey Anderson
Photo by Lindsey Anderson

If you're looking to enjoy some live comedy in Seattle, the city is full of great open-mic stops to get you laughing. Unfortunately, even a liberal and welcoming city like this can fall prey to flocks of comedy bros who love to elicit a cheap laugh at the expense of marginalized identities.

Wanting a safe escape from the Brads and Chads lurking in the shadows of stand-up clubs, a group of Queer women and Nonbinary people got together to create a revolutionary new space.

Photos by Lindsey Anderson  

Originally known as "The Comedy Womb," the female-centered show opened its doors in 2013 to Queer and female comedians often not featured in other venues. For the last nine years, it has rotated through different weekly producers, welcomed special featured performers, and even pulled in some outstanding out-of-town acts, all to the delight of dedicated fans.

After a while, the show's producers decided to rename the event "The Comedy Nest," shifting focus away from anatomical words such as "womb" so as to emphasize that women-centered comedy does not have to focus on reproductive systems. The name also did not reflect the experiences of women without wombs.

Photos by Lindsey Anderson  

Each week, up-and-coming comedians still sign up for three-minute open-mic slots on Tuesday nights. The Nest reserves half for self-identifying women and keeps a strict "no punching down" policy. Comedians at the Nest refrain from sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, or fatphobic jokes. The room is also "heckle-free."

It's a great environment for new and aspiring comedians to get on stage and practice their sets in front of a wonderfully warm and supportive audience. Event producers frequent the show and are more than willing to offer a tip or trick of the trade to those just starting. And experienced comedians often visit to try out new material and connect with old buddies

For fans of Seattle's underground comedy scene, the Nest is a great place to spot local comedy stars and make friends among a wonderfully Queer community. Fans, comedians, and bartenders connect over delicious drinks and experimental new jokes.

This week the Nest hosted a full house of great up-and-coming talent, with a special feature performance from Seattle's incredibly talented Jaleesa Johnson, who has become known as the "Lesbian Pete Davidson." Johnson drenched her audience in never-before-heard jokes that had the audience in stitches with her clever stoner humor. Many familiar faces also took to the stage before Johnson closed out the night.

One returning comedian, Gretta Gimp, has become one of the Nest's biggest celebrities in recent years. With her dry wit and deadpan delivery, fans adore her dark and often very sexual jokes. What solidified Gimp's space in Comedy Nest history was not her iconic "dolphin sex" set but the night in early 2021 when she decided to officially come out on stage to a round of warm applause.

Located at the Rendezvous in Belltown, the Comedy Nest is one of the friendliest spaces in Seattle. Come for the jokes and stay for the camaraderie, and the booze.