River Butcher has had a unique experience during his rise in the comedy scene over the last decade. When he had his first mainstream television stand-up appearance, it was when he was presented as a woman in a publicly known lesbian marriage. Hell, he even co-created, co-wrote and co-starred in a sitcom with his then-spouse. Today, he is a fully out (and divorced) trans man. Countless words could describe going through such life changes in the public eye, but “easy” isn’t one of them.
However, under his previous name or his current one, Butcher has never ceased to provide incredible laughs for people of all identities. Which is why we’ve collected some of his best jokes and moments for our Hall of Fame.
NOTE: Some of the curated clips were labeled and credited under Butcher’s previously known name and pronouns. (River currently uses he/him and they/them.) If sharing this article or these clips, please respect his wishes by referring to him as River Butcher.
On Pot-Bellied Pigs and Being White
“I moved into a new neighborhood, and one of those neighbors is a pot-bellied pig. I was home one day, and I heard that pot-bellied pig next door. I was home in my apartment, and I could hear her whine. I was like, ‘Pigs are pack animals. That pig is over there by herself.’ I should go over there, I should knock on that front door and I should be like, ‘Excuse me! I think your pig is lonely!’ And that’s the whitest thing I’ve ever thought to do in my entire life.”
On Puzzling Manners
“I stay a vegetarian because I like animals a lot. Which is so silly because if I ran into a lion and said, ‘Hey, I think you’re cool,’ that lion would not care.”
On Gas Station Attendants
“The pandemic was so long I transitioned. All those gas station attendants calling me “sir” were right. They knew me, and they loved me before I could love myself.”
On Socialism and Pens
On His Barber
“He gave me an appointment, sat me down in a chair, started cutting my hair and then he goes, ‘Ooh, we got some sparkles.’ I was like, ‘I did workout yesterday; what’s happening?’ He said, ‘Oh no, you just have some gray hair coming in.’ That’s the weirdest way of telling someone their time on Earth is getting shorter.”
On the TSA
Butcher goes into how the TSA machines analyzed him and made him realize that he’s essentially Peppermint Patty.
On Drinking From a Hose
On Board Games
Butcher grew up as an only child, so while it had its benefits when it came to toys, there was one genre of toy that would always disappoint: board games.
When He Bought a Lighter and a Bottle of Water at 7-Eleven
In what should have been a routine purchase, Butcher had his I.D. checked at a 7-Eleven to purchase water and a lighter and is still perplexed as to why to this very day.
On Taking Testosterone
“I’ve been taking testosterone for about a year, and honestly, sometimes I feel like history’s slowest werewolf. Just a hair every now and then. Not so much howling at the moon, but I can carry four bags of groceries under one arm.”
When He Defined Public Defenders
As part of breaking down the American justice system, Butcher posed as a public defender on Adam Ruins Everything to describe how screwed you are if you cannot afford a lawyer. The truth isn’t funny, but the presentation thankfully is.
On His Last Name
“I love having this last name because I am a lifetime vegetarian with the last name ‘Butcher.’ I had that irony my entire life, but not too much iron in my diet. Honestly, I don’t even know how I’m standing here. My muscles are made of sunflower seeds and hope.”