As we come to almost a full 365 days in a pandemic, we could all use a little more light and laughter in our lives. Here are five hilarious BIWOC comedians who are helping us get our daily dose of funny:
Atra Asdou does a little bit of everything: standup, sketch, film, TV, improv, and writing.
Before the pandemic, she was writing and performing for two years in The Second City’s 43rdand 44th revue on the e.t.c stage. The comedian has also been on NBC’s Chicago Med, Chicago PD, Fox’s NeXt, and works as the Artistic Associate for Lookingglass Theatre where she’s also performed in plays.
She’s been honing her craft at home by filming bits to make herself laugh and then sometimes posting them. She also submits video and virtual-live sketch ideas to local shows like “Paper Machete,” “Girls Night In,” and “Power Hour.”
Asdou likes to call her friends and family and says she makes it her “secret mission” to get them to laugh at least once each time she talks to them. Check her out on “Black and White News: The Plan” where she serves as showrunner, co-head writer, and creative producer. “Black and White News: The Plan” is an all-BIPOC created virtual comedic news debate show where they “heal the divide between Black and white America through debate, improvised spoken word, and lots of laughter.”
Asia Martin is a comedian, writer, and actor who is originally from Washington DC. She attended Duke Ellington School of the Arts before moving to Chicago to attend the Theatre School at DePaul University. She does standup, improv, and sketch comedy. Martin has performed at the Laugh Factory, The Comedy Store LA, The 2021 Viacom CBS Showcase, and The Second City’s mainstage revue “Do You Believe In Madness?”
Since the pandemic, Martin has been making comedy at home with her podcast “PREACH!,” working as a director for “Black and White News: The Plan” at The Second City, writing for the popular YouTube show “Bambi Bakes,” and shooting sketches with her partner, Max! Check her out on Instagram for more hilarious content!
Originally from Boston, Devin Wright, 20, is a comedian based in Chicago. She does sketch, improv, and standup. At one point in her life, she was on track to be a musician and can still play 11 instruments.
Wright found comedy in college and has since switched her focus to that, but she still loves using music to express her creativity. With people unable to frequent comedy clubs and theaters, the pandemic has put a huge toll on the comedy industry. Wright says that she uses social media in order to practice her craft and keep making people laugh.
“I am always on Instagram. Posting stories, sketches, doing live videos—and it has definitely been paying off. I get so much interaction every single day from people who just want to reach out to let me know that they love and appreciate what I am doing.”
Wright stays busy and is constantly working on new material. Keep up with her on Instagram!
Yazmin Ramos is a comedian, actor, improviser, and writer who also performs neo-burlesque and solo characters. She has performed nationwide with the popular Matt Damon Improv, an all-WOC satirical improv group. Ramos also performs with Burlesque is More, at the “Holy F*ck Comedy Hour” at the Annoyance Theatre, and, more recently, with The Second City’s “She The People” revue in a Boston residency with the Huntington Theatre Company.
She’s been flexing her comedy muscles at home with the web series, “In-Diana,” a workplace comedy created by the cast of Matt Damon Improv. She’s also performed some characters for Zoom shows but says she’s mostly been focused on her writing. She also likes to test jokes via FaceTime on her grandparents and sister, who she calls “the most honest audience I’ve ever had.” Check Yazmin out on Instagram, NBC’s Chicago PD, and in “In-Diana” on Youtube!
Originally from Northern California, Jessica Mance is a standup and sketch comedian here in Chicago. She has performed all over the city, notably at the Laugh Factory and The Second City Theatre. She is set to make her debut at Zanies Comedy Club at the beginning of March.
Mance produces and hosts “Fourplay Friday,” a comedy show designed to get you laughing while you pregame before your night out. Mance is also a founding member of Unlikely Friends Comedy, a group that produces live and sketch comedy on YouTube. The group luckily recorded several sketches right before the pandemic hit, so they were able to edit and release them periodically throughout 2020.
She is currently working on a podcast called “Childhood Drama,” where she will discuss “petty childhood drama and first fight stories.” Keep your eyes peeled for that premiering in the next few months. To keep up with Jessica, follow her on Instagram where she posts all of her upcoming show dates and comedy announcements!
Support Your Local Comedians!
We’re coming up on almost a full year of not being able to perform live. Now is the best time to support your local comedians. Follow them on social media, donate when possible, and seek out virtual comedy events in your area!
Zoë is a writer and comedian from Minnesota. She is currently living in Chicago where she likes to read, watch TV, and bake in her free time. She hopes to use her passion for writing and journalism to help educate people and build a better and more equitable world.