From winning the 2Northdown New Act Of the Year competition in 2020, to then moving on to support Simon Amstell, Reich’s comedy was then impacted by the pandemic. Like many, he took to TikTok and Instagram to scratch that performative itch.
In 2022, his show Literally Who Cares?! was an instant hit – selling out its run at the Edinburgh Fringe as well as its run at Soho Theatre in London. The show explores big questions such as ‘Am I hot?’ and ‘What is going on?’. Definitely questions we can get behind.
Featuring material about his sexuality, we asked Reich if this was something that was ever an obstacle in the beginning of his career. “Honestly? Not really. The biggest obstacle has, I guess, been the fact that some crowds don’t like me – especially outside of cities, or at the more retro comedy clubs. But you learn to see that as a positive. Performing an anecdote about gay sex to a group of silent pensioners in Yeovil is actually really character building.”
“I was extremely lucky to start doing comedy in London, where there are alt gigs, queer nights and cabaret shows – where you can perform comedy about Call Me By Your Name to a hundred gender non-conforming students with futuristic hairstyles. It gave me a base to go back to, so even if I bombed fifteen times in a row at straight nights I knew I wasn’t totally unfunny. If I‘d had to brave the club circuit like a real comedian then I imagine everything would’ve gone very differently.”
Having just announced his New York residency at the Greenwich House Theatre starting in February, and performances at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in April, success is something that doesn’t come as a surprise.
“It felt 100% justified and correct to be number one on a perfect and objective list,” he shared after pondering what it felt like to be named No.1 Comedy Show of 2022 by The Guardian. “I aim to defend the spot every year until my death.”
Cracking America can be a tricky task for many, but Reich isn’t worried about how he’ll be received amongst the queer community of New York City. His show, which will run from 15 February to 11 March, is (according to Leo himself) “still funny”.
“I’m really looking forward to joining NYC’s famously non-competitive comedy circuit – and, even more so, its notoriously welcoming gay scene!”
Despite spiked conversation surrounding the Dave Chappelles and Ricky Gervais’s of the world – who arguably use LGBTQ+ in their material to poke fun at rather than include LGBTQ+ in on the joke – LGBTQ+ comedians are storming the circuits. With clever narratives about internalised homophobia, hook-up culture and White Gays (looking at you Simon David), comedians of the LGBTQ+ persuasion often hit the nail on the head far better than our straight counterparts – effortlessly critiquing the very community they adore being a part of.