Queer comedy pioneers ring in 2019

Queer comedy pioneers ring in 2019

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I think most of us agree we need some laughs to end this crazy-ass year. Luckily for some of us, a couple of the Queer Queens of Comedy, Poppy Champlin and Karen Williams, are converging on New Hope to make sure the New Year starts with a hearty dose of humor.

Longtime writer and standup-comedy veteran Williams promised she and her comedy comrade-in-arms are going to have audiences in stitches for the last few moments of 2018.

“We’re both very high-energy and very observational,” she said. “I think our styles go together very well.”

Williams added that laughter is indeed the best medicine for these troubling times.

“Right now it’s hard to stay hopeful. I’m all for making the world a better place and laughter helps a lot.”

In addition to being a hilarious performer, Williams teaches the art of comedy by hosting humor workshops to build self-awareness, confidence, respect and tolerance.

“I have my own Ha Ha Institute,” she said. “I do motivational speaking and seminars on humor. My work is not only for the LGBT community but also the HIV/AIDS community, corporations and small businesses. A lot of us found ourselves through the arts, so I believe it’s really important.

“People are so caught up with what I call ‘relative happiness,’ where they have the urge to buy stuff. And as soon as this is lost, that feeling is gone as well. I enjoy teaching people about something that is more long-lasting, and a lot of that comes from human beings helping each other.” 

At a time when many out comedians are finding their voices, Williams — one of the first out lesbian comedians to make the rounds — said that, even back then, the benefits of being out far outweighed anything negative that might have come her way because of it.

“I’m one of the first wave of lesbian comics. Me, Marga Gomez, Kate Clinton and Suzanne Westenhoefer are featured in a film called ‘Laughing Matters.’ We defined ourselves as lesbian comics, and that was revolutionary at the time. Throughout my career, defining myself as a lesbian comic has provided me as many, if not more, opportunities than if I had chosen not to come out and call myself that.” 

Karen Williams and Poppy Champlin perform 8:30 p.m. Dec. 31 at The Rrazz Room, 385 W. Bridge St., New Hope. For more information or tickets, call 888-596-1027.

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