Looking for some queer comedy to spice up your Pride Month? This weekend, beloved Toronto comedian Tamara Shevon will headline an outdoor stand-up show stacked with an all-star lineup of the city’s top LGBTQ+ comedians. 

Since her start more than 10 years ago in Beijing, Tamara’s comedic storytelling has wowed crowds across Canada, the US, and China, including audiences at NXNE and JFL42. She describes her comedy as “a reflection of what I am going through at that exact point in my life”, often addressing her experiences as a Black, bisexual woman.

For the third year in a row, the Gay AF Comedy Pride-Stravaganza promises a sun-soaked afternoon of “fantastic fierce fun” at the Campbell House Museum courtyard. Expect an abundance of laughs from this stellar lineup, headlined by Tamara!

We caught up with Tamara ahead of the show to hear more about her decade as a comic, advice for queer women in comedy, and her plans to celebrate Pride Month.

You recently celebrated 10 years of comedy! What do you love about being part of the queer comedy scene in Canada?

I am so proud of the queer comedy scene and I’m so happy to be a part of it. I love how thoughtful and respectful the queer comedy scene is. We have come such a long way in terms of being able to take up space and we have surpassed the cliché of being viewed as just queer comics and instead, we are now viewed as comics who also happen to be queer.

Your comedy often draws from your personal experiences- what is it like to share your life with an audience?

Unfortunately for my family and close friends I’ve always been an over-sharer and it’s usually at their expense but being able to share my life with an audience has honestly been a blessing. Having people come up to me after shows telling me how much they can relate to my experiences or how much I changed their perspective on a situation makes me feel it’s all worth it. 

What is a memorable audience reaction that has stuck with you?

I had an audience member last year laugh so hard at one of my jokes that she spat her drink out and started choking on the tail end of that. She was front row center so I was looking her directly in the eye and had to debate in my mind if that would be the first show ever where I would have to finish a punchline and then immediately do CPR. It was the only time I ever felt like it was important that I’m a comedian and a certified lifeguard and I never thought I’d have to blend those careers until that moment. 

Your comedy addresses your experience coming out as bisexual- what is something you wish was more widely understood about the bisexual community?

This is a great question. I wish that people took more time to understand the bisexual community. I think a lot of the time people think that because I’ve been in a monogamous relationship for 5 years with a cishet White man that I tell jokes about that I’m not “as bi as I was before” which is laughable. I am pretty over people thinking that being bisexual is a choice or that it was a phase and now “I’m over it”. People always want me to give them a detailed elaborate explanation of what being bisexual means so that they can make sense of it based on their societal norms and upbringing and it’s so much more complicated and nuanced if you look at it that way.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Chaotic Good Comedy (@chaoticgoodcomedy)

Do you have any advice for queer women of colour who want to pursue comedy?

Understand how unique and important your voice is and if you feel comfortable with it, share it. You never know how many people you are helping, even if to you, it feels insignificant. For me, without being able to watch Wanda Sykes and relate to so many of her experiences, I don’t think I’d be the comic that I am today and I am forever grateful that someone like her paved the way for me to feel comfortable sharing my feelings and experiences. 

Do you have any plans for celebrating Pride this June?

My plan every year is to get out and see as much queer talent as possible! This year I’m especially focusing on seeing talented queer musicians. I have such a deep love for music and I’m always trying to discover new artists. Last year I wanted to get out and see as many drag queens as possible and this year I want to hear as much live music from queer musicians.

What is making you laugh these days?

The traffic in Toronto is actually making me laugh the most these days. I used to get angry at how literally every street, subway line and highway is under construction at the same time but now I’ve grown to find so much humour in the execution of such a poor plan. I truly think we’re being trolled and now I kind of respect it. 

What can you tease about your set for the Pride-Stravaganza? 

I just came back from spending two whole weeks in Costa Rica with my partner and so many hilarious things happened along the way that the audience will be able to hear about, once again at the expense of a loved one. 

Tickets for the Gay AF Comedy Pride-Stravaganza on June 22 are available here.