The affective turn in social and cultural studies has reorientated the study of queer subjectivity to the conditions of a history marked by shame and insult. Using textual sources from comedy sketch shows, The Catherine Tate Show and Little Britain, this article presents a psychosocial reading of ‘shame’ and ‘insult’ in contemporary representations of gay male sexuality. This article illustrates how humour and comedy are used to regulate social norms and air contemporary anxieties about the changing social values in relation to sexuality in the UK context. The analysis is located within a critical reflection on the transformative politics of the Gay Shame movement as an alternative movement to Gay Pride. The article concludes by considering the distinction between a cultural ‘coming out’ of shame and the affective consequences that ‘shame’ can have in individual narratives of sexual identity formation and suicidal distress.