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This Gay Comedian Is Using Humor to Shed Light on Issues in the LGBT Community

This Gay Comedian Is Using Humor to Shed Light on Issues in the LGBT Community

This Gay Comedian Is Using Humor to Shed Light on Issues in the LGBT Community

Michael Henry is proof that comedy takes many forms, and can be used to create light on important topics.

brendohales

If you spend time on social media, especially LGBT content, then you’re probably familiar with the work of Michael Henry. The actor/comedian’s iconic sketch videos have been a constant source of humor for many, as well as a platform for some of the gay community’s most prevalent image and social issues.

PRIDE sat down with Michael to learn more about the inspirations and messages found in his hilarious viral sketches.

PRIDE:What were some of the inspirations that ultimately contributed to your comedy brand?

Michael Henry: The Golden Girls were a huge inspiration to me growing up. All of those women used comedy as a defense tool, which they had such ownership and power over. It was a type of comedy I found to be so unique. I had never thought of comedy that way but, being a little feminine gay boy, you needed something to defend yourself with and I totally related to what they created.

How did you start making content?

I was jealous of everybody else who was doing it, who also weren’t asking me to do it with. So it was basically fueled by jealousy. *laughs* But then I was like "Oh, ya know what, I can actually do this too." And I’m glad I did. I’m glad nobody included me in their stuff, because then I wouldn’t have found my own platform and voice.

Did you always want to touch on real issues, even if they're sugar coated with comedy and/or shade?

Well, it’s not enough to just do funny stuff. The most authentic and real you can be tends to make for the most fruitful and rewarding content, and I’m just really happy that so many people are getting on board with my point of view, because it’s what a lot of gay guys are thinking. The problem is that people are feeling weird about their body or uncomfortable sexually, but aren’t saying it. I honestly think that the body standards in the gay community are getting worse. The most popular people online are still the beautiful-looking, chiseled gays. I feel like everybody in the LGBT community isn’t doing enough to say "You’re beautiful in so many different physical ways," which leads to an ongoing discrimination against body types that go outside that "perfect" norm.

Have you seen more LGBT representation or LGBT acts in the comedy scene?

I haven’t really played in the stand up world, mostly just improv and sketch. However, I see so many gay sketch teams and improv teams where it’s just about LGBT themes. Whenever I’m at an audition, I always see these talented gay guys, which is a great thing because it’s showing that there are roles for us out there that aren’t just the sassy gay friend. It is a small group, but it’s a pool that it rapidly growing. I've also noticed how tight knit a community we are for the most part and it’s because we’re all hustling and making our own projects. Hollywood still isn’t cherry picking us yet, which is why I see a lot of LGBT people in the industry who really want to help other LGBT people to succeed.

Regarding your content, are there any other messages you hope to tell people, whether LGBT or not?

I’ve been working on an idea for a video about HIV, and another on sexual abuse in the gay community, but it’s a very tight rope for you to walk. I want it to feel like me, something where people are like "Oh, yeah, that’s a Michael Henry video," but I also want a spark to go off in people’s brains. I like to think that I’m shedding some light or helping others to see some of the prevalent issues in the gay community. Now that I’m getting more eyeballs on my stuff, I’d like to tackle deeper issues now. 

For more of Michael's work, subscribe to Michael's YouTube channel and follow him on Twitter and Instagram. And watch his latest comedy sketch in the video below!

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Brendan Haley