Why You Need to Know About Comedian and Activist Elsa Waithe

Meet your new favourite comedienne.

Elsa Waithe is a force to be reckoned with. When she’s not doing stand-up, podcasts, or vlogs, she’ll be seen amongst the many crowds of protesters at demonstrations.

Residing in Brooklyn, New York, Elsa’s comedy is light-hearted but is also no-holds-barred. Her sets will often see her take a critical approach to homosexuality, race, political issues and, of course, weed.


Right now, Waithe’s star is shining bright and its clear to see that she is on the pathway to success. We’ve rummaged through her many interviews, podcast appearances, and stand-up routines to highlight just some facts about Elsa Waithe, which will show the reasons why you need to keep your eye on her.

She’s a podcast pro

Elsa has appeared on a number of different podcast shows, offering her humorous and insightful take on the world. Her most notable appearance has got to be on This American Life where she discussed playing an active role in the Black Lives Matter protests, as well as fancying her arresting officer. Awkz.

Not only has she featured on many shows, she also has her own podcast. Hosting ‘2 Spicy’ with her partner Heather Marie Scholl, the podcast is described as “discussions around race, gender, pop culture and relationship with a leftist lean.” The vast topics featured in the series in the past have ranged from gun control to Papa John’s pizza, so you know you’re in for a treat.

She got her comedic inspiration from an unlikely place

Not everyone can cite American TV show The View as being a source for their comedian inspiration, but Elsa Waithe can. Speaking to Gold Comedy, she explained how she got into comedy:

I was watching The View one day (it was just on and I didn’t change the channel) and one of the ladies was describing how she was on vacation and afraid to skydive or something. She finally bit off the courage and it was one of the most rewarding things she’d experienced. She said “Whatever you are afraid of, it’s probably the thing you should be doing.” That quote never left me. A week later I was doing stand-up.


She’s got her own video series

If you weren’t already aware that Elsa is clearly super talented and brimming with creative ideas, then her video projects must certainly help point it out to you.

She’s just recently launched a web series called High Bible Stories. with fellow comedian Andrew Pabon. The series is pretty self-explanatory in that it sees the pair get high and recite the bible. Speaking to GSN, Waithe said that “the stories of the bible are awe inspiring and being stoned allows the words to hit my mind in a different than the way and paint vivid pictures.”

The series is currently being crowd sourced, and you can see a teaser of the series below.

Not only that, but Elsa and her girlfriend were recently featured on ‘Bedtime Stories’, a web series by them.

The video sees Elsa and Heather discuss how they met each other through their protesting and the importance of good sex.

In an interview with Bedford and Bowery, Waithe said that she was “tired of being in shows where I was the only Black person, the only woman, the only queer person.” Her position in the New York comedy scene allows her to create places for under-represented comedians to showcase their talent. Explaining her reasons, she said:

Even if you don’t belong to one of these minority communities, it’s important that we all hear voices from everywhere. Audiences for comedy, these days, are more diverse. … I’m realising even here in NYC you don’t get a lot of opportunities to be around somebody from a different background, so going to a comedy show may be the only time a white person hears authentically from a Black person.

Her civil rights activity also, maybe surprisingly, helps her comedy routine too. Not only has led 1000’s of people through the streets of New York during Black Lives Matter protests, she’s also a motivational speaker.

Her comedy sets will often feature her experiences from the protests and even with her encounters with the police – something which not everyone feels comfortable with. “People have asked me, ‘How do you joke about something that’s so dire, like police brutality?’ And I’m like, ‘Well, it’s also very ridiculous too,'” she explained to Bedford and Bowery.


Plus, she’s super funny

Of course, one of the main reasons why we love Elsa Waithe is because she is a comedic goddess. Her perspective type of stand-up is unique, fresh, and funny. Take a quick look at one of her sets, which also features a bit of poetry, below.

Be sure to follow Elsa Waithe on Twitter and Instagram.

Written by Jackie S.

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