By Imani Williams
8 p.m. Oct. 11
Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle
269 E. Fourth Street, Royal Oak
Tickets: $25, $50, $100
Info: http://www.GoAffirmations.org or call (248) 398-7105
Doing something well for 23 years is not an easy task. Especially if that thing is comedy.
Confidence is a must when it comes to a comedian’s tool bag. Karen Williams practically oozes with it. A practicing Nichiren Buddhist for 35 years, her spiritual walk charged her with finding out what really makes her happy and has allowed her to face her fears head on.
Currently a resident of quiet Euclid, Ohio, Williams was born in Manhattan and raised in the Bronx. Karen shares her story through a throaty accent which leaves no question that she will always be an East Coast girl.
When asked how she got started in comedy she shared, “I think that in addition to wanting to change my life financially I wanted to travel, also fear was holding me back, I read somewhere that the number one fear of all humans was speaking in front of people. In addition, I also wanted to make them laugh.”
When asked about her coming out experience Williams said, “I have young parents; they had me when they were 18. My mother picked up on my lesbianism when I was 15. Mom and dad made a decision together to support me. I didn’t think anything was wrong with who I was and my parents didn’t stigmatize me.”
Williams adds that she was introduced to Buddhism by her dad when she was 18 and did not go through the angst that many of her gay peers raised in traditional black churches have experienced.
Karen has been doing comedy with the Olivia cruises for 16 years. She is also the founder of Institute of Human and Healing Arts (HA Ha Institute). Williams says that she tries to leave her audiences with a message of joy. “Joy, is something that doesn’t get talked about much. A true HA Ha Institute believer, I … share the message that laughter is a place of spontaneous joy.”