Mawaan Rizwan is the recipient of the GAY TIMES Honour for Comedy Hero.

The comedian, writer and actor has come into his own in 2023 with the release of BBC Three’s trippy comedy Juice. The former YouTuber has risen in notoriety through an array of telly gigs on Live at the Apollo and Taskmaster and as a writer for Netflix’s Sex Education.

Key to his success is the combination of laugh-out-loud comedy intersected with a multifaceted exploration of queer British-Pakistani identity.

In the critically-acclaimed comedy, praised for its slapstick humour and trippy visuals, Juice follows Jamma (Rizwan) as he navigates the millennial mundanities of finding the balance between his creative agency job, budding romantic relationship with Guy (Russell Tovey) and the complexities of fighting for attention in a busy family environment.

Quietly interwoven into the plot is an important layer of representation; views are presented with a key-protagonist who is queer, British-Pakistani and a member of a family that easily flip into speaking Urdu, without the entire storyline being hooked on identity.

Rizwan’s performance brought character depth, humanity and pushed against a rigid industry practice that often relies on discussion of representation and identity to become teachable moments to their audiences.

This bold, disruptive, nuanced portrayal of representation has quickly become a signature of Rizwan’s work. Speaking to GAY TIMES as part of his cover shoot, he explained: “I get to just make what I want to make. Representation is about giving more opportunities to more of us so that we get a fuller spectrum of stories.”

GAY TIMES Honours 2023 celebrates the individuals and organisations who have had a profound effect on the lives of LGBTQIA+ people over the past 12 months.

This year’s line-up of Honourees acknowledges people making huge impact in music, TV, film, community and drag.

The new digital edition of GAY TIMES Magazine spotlights this year’s winners and is available to read now on the GAY TIMES app, Apple News +, Readly and Flipster.

To follow all of the action from GAY TIMES Honours 2023, check out our Instagram @GAYTIMES.