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Karen Williams

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Biography

Karen Williams is known as that thin Black lesbian stand-up comic with a lot to say and the gift for saying it in a screamingly funny way. Heads turn at her rapid-paced raps on single motherhood, dating, relationships, celibacy, AIDS, economic inequity, racism, codependency, and whatever topic strikes her fancy, or object from the audience catches her attention. Audiences marvel at her strong and thoughtful presence, her acute awareness, but it is her attitude — anger and angst masked behind diffidence — which brings her observations home.

Once a model and a serious dancer of African-Haitian and Modern styles, currently a committed Buddhist, Williams considers her non-humorous writing of great sustaining importance. She has acted in a department store TV commercial and in a play on lesbian life.

Born in the Bronx ("What two cities are so important that they are always called by the prefix,'the?' THE Bronx and THE Vatican"), Williams grew up amidst creative and lively people. Through her eventual relocation to the West Coast, she garnered a panoply of California jokes ("What is tofu anyway? I throw away my old sponges"). Williams debuted in and promoted herself through the night clubs in the San Francisco Bay Area. Interspersed with her international successes as a comic, she is raising two boys, establishing a network for touring women performers, learning French, and lending her organizational skills and political commitment to AWMAC, the Association of Women's Music and Culture, as their President. Her recordings include 1996's Outrageous and 1997's Way Out.

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Category
Years Active:

'90s

Contemporaries