Skip to content

Irene Tu – the Talented Comedian Making the LGBTQ+ Community Proud

  • by
Learn about Irene Tu

Irene Tu is an American writer, actor, and comedian. She grew up in an Asian-American household and became famous for being hilarious during her high-school years. Irene was inspired to take up comedy by watching Ellen DeGeneres before becoming a national TV show host. She started taking classes at the Second City in Chicago at age 16 to learn more about comedy. Irene was entirely focused on making jokes that did not depict her personal life.

Irene is a talented comedian who has appeared at multiple comedy festivals such as the Portland Queer Comedy Festival, Bridgetown Comedy Festival, and SF Sketchfest. Not only that, but Irene Tu has also been in Comedy Central’s Clusterfest and other shows like Funny How? And Take My Wife. To learn more about the talented comedian Irene Tu, keep on reading this article about her comedic career, pursuits, and inspirations.


Here Are Some Hilarious and Light-Hearted Facts about Irene Tu

1. Irene Tu has performed at several comedy clubs

Irene Tu is a popular comedian in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and her hometown, Chicago. She has performed at The Laugh Factory, Helium Comedy Club Portland, Vermont Comedy Club, White Horse Bar Oakland, Hollywood Improv, and the Punch Line San Francisco. Irene has fans all over the country owing to her hilarious performances and new sets on stage for them. Irene can entertain all types of audiences with her quirky and fun nature and likes to poke fun at herself and her appearance.

2. Irene Tu was inspired to take up comedy by Ellen DeGeneres

Irene Tu loves Ellen DeGeneres! She has said that her goal is to meet Ellen one day. She confessed that she did not watch stand-up much while she was growing up, but she watched Ellen DeGeneres. Irene found comfort in being gay and in the closet, knowing that Ellen had felt the same when filming her 1990s sitcom. Irene is really inspired by Ellen’s work and has bought the five seasons of her show on DVD and all her books to read. She has even gone to four of the tapings of her show and likes to watch her on YouTube as well.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Irene Tu (@irene_tu)

Although her love for Ellen might sound obsessive, Irene claims that she has toned it down and only watches her when she is free at home.

  Learn about Kerry Coddett – A Rising Comedy Legend!

3. Irene started doing comedy while she was a student at the University of California, Berkeley

Irene started doing comedy at a young age when she was a student at the University of California, Berkeley. Ellen Tu began her studies at Northwestern University when she was majoring in environmental science, but switched to economics, considered gender studies before transferring to the University of California, Berkeley for Asian-American studies.

As a student in Berkeley, Irene co-founded and hosted Man Haters, which was a monthly comedy show at White Horse Bar in Oakland. The show went on tour nationally with Irene and other comedians and was hosted by her. Irene also hosted a weekly open mic called Hysteria, which featured queer and female comedians. Hysteria gained quite a lot of fame and was even noted as East Bay Express 2016 and 2017 Best Comedy Show. Just around 2018, Irene performed her first hour-long comedy show at the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center of San Francisco called “Triple Minority.”

4. Irene is friends with a lot of comics all over the country

Irene is a popular comic and has a lot of friends in the industry owning to her honest, charming, and funny personality. She has met and been photographed with comics like Ronny Chieng, Hasan Minhaj, Julie Kim, Travis Tate, Luke Soin, Brain Simpson, Taylor Tomlinson, Dustin Nickerson, Fumi Abe, and many more. Dom Gelin is a close friend of Irene Tu, who has co-hosted many shows with her. Jim McVeigh is another comedian who is a fan of Irene’s work and has praised her work ethic and dedication to comedy.

5. Irene has been singled out as a comedian to watch by many publications

Irene Tu has been in the eyes of major publications ever since she started doing comedy. Her jokes are fresh, and one-of-a-kind and have the ability to even make the toughest of audiences laugh with her. Vulture wrote about Irene in 2019 and noted her as “Comedians You Should and Will Know in 2019”. W. Kamau Bell has also praised her for being confident on and off stage and for her caring behavior that hides a dark side he can relate to.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Irene Tu (@irene_tu)

The Portland Mercury also praised Irene and commended her jokingly for her “pleasant – almost parental – condescension” and “the confident undercut.” Irene has also been praised by the San Francisco Chronicle as an “artist on the brink of fame” and was also named as one of the “Bay Area’s 11 Best Stand-Up Comedians” (SFist) and one of twenty “Women to Watch” (KQED).

  Lorraine Lopez – Learn about This Up-and-Coming Comedian

6. Irene has been featured in Comedy Central Stand-up

Irene Tu is a highly talented comedian who has been featured on Comedy Central Stand-Up to entertain audiences on TV and online. The Comedy Central special show featured Irene’s anecdotes about her mom and her shopping habits, Irene’s coming out story, and the confusion everyone around her seems to have about her appearance. Irene has a unique sense of humor that allows her to make fun of herself in a way that does not sound self-deprecative but makes the audience have fun and laugh with her. Her stand-up style is inspired by Ellen DeGeneres, and it clearly shows in her Comedy Central Stand-Up show.

7. Irene Tu has an album coming out

Irene Tu recorded her first live comedy album at The Punch Line with a live audience in San Francisco. This comedy album will be Irene’s debut comedy album which will feature her jokes for a longer time. Although many details of her album have not been released, it is expected for Irene Tu to release her comedy album in March 2022.

8. Irene has toured with the Minority Retort

After moving to Los Angeles in 2018, Irene Tu performed in several comedy events such as Woman Crush Wednesdays, Very Forward!, Kids in the Yard, and Gays ‘R’ Us at the Hollywood Improv and Asian AF Los Angeles’ Autumn Moon Rap Battle.

After performing in several events, Irene began touring with the Minority Retort, a stand-up comedy show based in Portland featuring comedians of color. Irene has also performed at the Oakland Pride in 2019 and performed at numerous Comedy Clubs across the country.

9. Irene focuses mainly on jokes about race, sexuality, and gender

Irene is a popular comedian who is not afraid to be a little edgy with her jokes. Although most of her humor is not intentionally political, she likes her jokes to be slightly provocative at the minimum.

Most of her jokes are about her gender identity and sexuality and her race, but these are things that come up in regular conversations and stand-up often. Irene Tu likes to talk about interesting topics and has been known to dislike boring comedy performed by the likes of Jerry Seinfeld.

  Pete Lee – The Standout Performer from Janesville, WI

10. Irene is not afraid to be labeled as a “typical female comedian”

Although there is a cliché of many female comedians only talking about their periods, relationships, and bodily functions on their sets, Irene believes that it is important to talk about funny things without fearing being labeled. Irene feels free to talk about what is funny and likes to make humorous jokes to her.

She has posted a photo of drinking a red liquid from a diva cup to unnerve her audience and has made jokes about nursing bras and adult diapers comfortably, as well


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Irene Tu (@irene_tu)

11. Irene is a hardworking comedian with an admirable work ethic

Aside from being a talented comedian excelling at her work, Irene is a hardworking comedian with a commendable work ethic. Although she labels herself as lazy and a procrastinator, her friends and colleagues seem to think otherwise as she consistently works hard to deliver her best.

Her passion for comedy and drive allowed her to juggle several shows at one time, such as the Millennials Ruin Everything, The Mission Position, Comedy x Pop Up Food, and Man Haters.

Irene Tu’s Mom Already Knows You’re Gay

Irene Tu shares why she hates going into public bathrooms and airport body scanners and describes coming out to her mom. (Contains strong language)

Irene Tu Summary

Irene Tu is an upcoming queer Chinese-American comedian making waves with her confident performances and light-hearted provocative humor. Her comedy mostly focuses on her sexuality as a lesbian, race, and gender. She is a female comedian who is unabashedly herself and works hard to move forward in the industry. Irene is a big fan of Ellen DeGeneres and has always hoped to meet her someday.

If you want to learn more about comedians like Irene Tu, check out the following:

Related Profiles of Up and Coming Comedians

Fizaa Dosani – Learn about the Empowering Female Comic

Paige Weldon – The Quirky Comedian with a Talent for Illustrations

Hilarious Guy Monty Franklin

Alex Falcone – a Multi-talented Comedian

Zara Mizrahi – Rising Comedy Legend

Lorraine Lopez – a Multi-talented Comedian