GO! Presents 100 Women We Love: Class of 2024

THE CULTURAL ROADMAP FOR CITY GIRLS EVERYWHERE

Karen Williams

June 26, 2021

Karen Williams by KEITH FORD

As the first openly lesbian Black comic in the United States to include specifically lesbian material in her act, Karen Williams changed the game for a number of communities. Since then, she’s had a prolific career in comedy. She’s released “I Need A Snack,” a one-hour comedy special that regularly aired on Logo TV; is featured in “Laughing Matters,” an award-winning film about four lesbian comic pioneers (Karen Williams, Kate Clinton, Marga Gomez, and Suzanne Westenhoeffer); and “We’re Funny That Way,” an internationally-acclaimed film that put Williams on the world comedy scene. Known for her quick repartee, insightful commentary, and audience rapport, it all comes naturally to Williams thanks to her passion for comedy and for being unabashedly herself. In addition to her stand-up, the comedian —who created her own major in “Humor and Healing” — is also the founder and CEO of the International Institute of Humor and Healing Arts (HaHA), which offers live and virtual educational programs, workshops, and seminars on the healing powers of humor. She put the humor and healing to good use this past year, performing a series of solo shows like “Karen Williams Alive” and “Heart Healing: From Pookie to Pandemic;” she also hosted comedy panels, brunches, and student shows, sponsored by the HaHA Institute and other organizations like NOBLA, the National Organization of Black Lesbians on Aging. “The most rewarding aspect of my work is sharing the healing power of humor with the world to relieve suffering and to bring out individual and collective happiness and enlightenment,” Williams tells GO. “To my beloved LGBT Community: You are beloved as you are! You are loved as you are! Love yourself as you are!” —IL

Click here to check out the entire list of Women We Love 2021!

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