LGBTQIA comedian Karen Williams coming to Edinboro for Homecoming

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, October 7th, 2015 at 11:06 PM
LGBTQIA comedian Karen Williams coming to Edinboro for Homecoming by Anna Ashcraft
Comedian Karen Williams will be coming to Edinboro Oct. 9. Williams is coming as part of the Edinboro University Performing Arts Series.

LGBTQIA comedian Karen Williams coming to Edinboro Friday.

Williams is a lesbian comedy writer and performer and part of the LGBTQIA community. Williams will be performing in Louis C. Cole Auditorium-Memorial Hall during homecoming on Friday, Oct. 9 at 7:30 p.m.

According to Laughing Matters, Williams began comedy in the ‘80s as a single lesbian mother living in Berkeley, “because it was something I could do that didn’t cost anything.”

Williams is nationally renowned for her stand up comedy and is known as former television host of the New York variety show, “In the Life.” Her writing appears on several joke sites, including “Joke Stew,” “Revolutionary Laughter,” “Out in All Directions” and “Out, Loud & Laughing.”

According to Shaun Taylor, assistant professor in the music and theatre department and director of the Performing Arts Series, Identity, the LGBT group on campus, had been trying to get Williams to come to campus.

Identity is an Edinboro University student organization that provides a safe and supportive environment for lesbians, gay, bisexual, trans-gender, straight and, or questioning youth.

This event is put on as part of the Edinboro University Performing Arts Series and is run by Taylor and four students.

“All of the things I am bringing in this year are ways for people to learn about other people, that are kind of non-threatening. It’s not as in your face as if you get a lecture about what the issues in the gay and lesbian community are, or what it’s like to be ‘differently-abled’ and in a wheelchair, or what its like to be deaf,” Taylor said.

“I try to do things that will appeal to different parts of our campus and community. I am always trying to get people to come down here to see things, because we do so many cool things,” Taylor said.

“We don’t typically bring in things like comedians, magicians; we usually leave that for the programming board. But I thought that maybe this wasn’t something the board was interested in doing.”

He would continue, “One of the things I like to do with the performing arts series is to try to give our campus and Erie some opportunities to intersect with types of art or artists they might not encounter otherwise and maybe have fun doing it.”

Taylor would explain that while the attendance in these events — the ones considered branching out — isn’t always huge, he believes “the ones that do come get kind of pumped up about what they see.”

“I think they’ll try something another time; they may not come to every event, but if they have fun at one thing, or they think somebody’s music is really interesting or somebody’s story about their music is really interesting they will try it again.”

“It might not be every time and it might be two or three years before they try it again, but once you have gone an experienced something its not as threating the next time you go ‘oh I know about that, I could go see that.”

Williams is President and CEO of HaHa Institute and she is the creator of the Humorat-large workshop, which is designed to build self-awareness and self-confidence, and to encourage tolerance and respect for the dignity of human life. She is also the founder of the National Women’s Comedy Conference.

Laughing Matters describes her as a “comic craft master, a gifted actor, a multitalented writer and an inspirational lecturer.” Williams’ comedy is known for encouraging tolerance and respect.

The performance will be held Friday, Oct. 9 at 7:30 p.m. in Cole Auditorium. Doors open 30 minutes prior to show. It is free to Edinboro students and $5 for faculty, staff and non-EU students. It’s $10 for general admission.

Anna Ashcraft is The Arts Editor for The Spectator. She can be reached at

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