He wants to know why there are no famous gay male comedians

Jason Frank

Jason Frank '22

Who: Jason Frank ’22, an anthropology major and queer and sexuality studies minor from Peterborough, New Hampshire. A Louis D. Brandeis Legacy Fund for Social Justice Fellow, he is authoring the study, “Fairies and Funnies: Gay Men in Standup Comedy.”

What he’s passionate about: LGBTQIA+ culture and history in stand-up comedy.

Where he discovered it: In professor Brian Horton’s class, Queer Anthropology: Sexualities and Genders in Cross-Cultural Perspective.

What he discovered: While Ellen DeGeneres, Wanda Sykes and Rosie O’Donnell are household names in lesbian humor, their male counterparts have struggled to receive recognition. Frank believes society prefers narratives about gay men leading lives of tragedy and thus can’t see gay comedians in the same light as their lesbian counterparts.

Who’s on his team: Frank’s research started as a final project in Horton’s queer anthropology class. Horton and fellow faculty mentor Harleen Singh, associate professor of literature and women's, gender and sexuality studies, encouraged him to take his findings to the next level and apply for the fellowship. He specially thanks professors Stephen Dowden and Elanah Uretsky.

Frank was also one of 31 undergraduate students awarded his fellowship through a collaborative effort between the Fellowships Advising Office and the Undergraduate Research and Creative Collaborations Office. The Undergraduate Research and Creative Collaborations Office is a newly formed unit within the Division of Arts and Sciences at Brandeis designed to centralize information and resources for students, faculty, and staff. 

Next chapter of his story: Graduate school, and further research into the anthropology of gay male humor.

Actionable advice: “Form relationships with your professors. They know what research requires, so really listen when they share their experience and perspective. Also, find something to research that you’re passionate about, otherwise your lack of passion will show in your findings.”

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