Amazon’s New Year’s offering, Yearly Departed, premiered via the streaming platform today. Who is “trailblazing” trans comedian Patti Harrison?

Who is Yearly Departed actress Patti Harrison?

Born 1991, Brooklyn-based Harrison is an American actress and comedian. Although her comedy career spans just five years, she made a name for herself on Jimmy Fallon’s The Tonight Show.

On the show, she made jokes about Donald Trump’s ban on transgender people in the US military.

Variety recognised Harrison’s quick rise to fame by placing her on their “10 Comics to Watch” list in 2019.

She moved to New York to pursue comedy full time in 2015. Since then, she has appeared in a range of comedy dramas, sitcoms and sketch comedy television shows.

Additionally, Harrison hosts Comedy Central’s digital series Unsend with fellow comedian and actor Joel Kim Booster. She also co-hosts A Woman’s Smile with Lorelei Ramirez

According to her IMDB profile, Harrison has a total of 14 acting screen credits to her name. The next release to feature her as an actor will be 2021’s Togetherish, by Nikole Beckwith.

However, Yearly Departed is Patti Harrison’s latest credit as herself.

Coming to terms with trans identity

In conversation with Rosa Escandon of Forbes, Harrison described the difficulty she had in finding her comedic voice.

She said: “I had a lot of internalised transphobia”, which translated into anxiety when talking about sexuality. In Escandon’s words, Harrison didn’t want to further stereotypes of trans women.

On top of this, Harrison grew up in a “very rural Christian community with a lot of respectability politics”.

In an interview with Interview Magazine, Harrison revealed that she is the youngest of seven children. Her mother is Vietnamese mother, while her father was from Detroit.

However, she has since developed a strong, onstage persona – one that has mastered the art of meanness. “A lot of what I say isn’t my real thoughts it’s this character and maybe that’s true for a lot of comedians,” she continues (in Forbes). “It’s really the inversion of my thoughts.”

Patti Harrison on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon

In an interview with Vogue, Harrison described being typecast as a “de facto voice of the resistance”. After discussing Trump’s policy regarding transgender Americans serving in the military on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, she received a lot of offers from TV writers.

“There were a lot of calls and meetings”, she said. However, “it was a lot of people asking me to do things because I was trans.”

Vogue describes Harrison as a “trailblazing trans comedian, precisely because, like a 9 who identifies as a 10, she doesn’t let any one thing define her”.

Yearly Departed premiered today (30 December) on Amazon Prime Video.

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