The Jester’s Privilege ~ Ms. Pat: Y’all Wanna Hear Something Crazy?

Source: bookingagentinfo.com

“This story is not gonna send you to hell.”

Patricia “Ms. Pat” Williams finds herself needing to say this to a comedy club in Atlanta about halfway through her show, and despite her insistence, I’m not thoroughly convinced that’s true.

Ms. Pat has a lot of stories to tell, and she’s told many of them already over the years. She has her TV series based on her life being picked up for another season, she has been a featured talent on the radio waves for veterans such as Marc Maron and Bert Kreischer, as well as having her own podcast, and even has a critically-acclaimed autobiography she wrote back in 2018. Needless to say, this woman has made a career of just talking about her experiences with a microphone in front of her face, and it’s easy to see how it’s worked for so long.

Surprisingly, despite just turning 50 and performing stand-up comedy since 2002, her first hour-long comedy special “Y’all Wanna Hear Something Crazy?” was released earlier this year. And let me tell you, I heard something crazy. It says a lot about a comic’s material when the stories about her being a crack dealer and her mom scamming churches through baptism were the TAME jokes. My personal favorite was when she had to explain to her elementary school that the burn marks on her arm was not self-inflicted, but rather from cooking chicken in a greasy pan over a fireplace all summer since her family didn’t want to pay for gas. Yeah, you heard me right. A fireplace. In the summer. In Atlanta. I’m pretty sure my Midwestern ass would have evaporated on the spot in that house.

The ribaldry in her comedy ranges from mildly racy to downright perturbing, and almost all of it comes from personal anecdotes. It gets to a point in the show where some bits are fairly difficult to listen to without cringing so hard you want to curl up into a ball and keep curling until you spiral into the fabric of the universe and disappear. The shock value is intended clearly, but I found myself multiple times with my mouth agape in disbelief about the shit that went down in her childhood (her use of the “R” word when referring to her uncle didn’t help either).

That being said, her authenticity and earnestness throughout not only gives her stories credibility, it creates a likability towards her. From her friendly smile and welcoming mannerisms to her unimpressed glares she’d deliver to the groaning members of the audience, she ultimately wins you over and you are laughing along with her, even at some of the more disturbing themes. At the end of the show and she implores her audience to take the darkest parts of their lives and turn it into laughter, “because when you can laugh at it, that means you got control of it.” The invitation to laugh at her life isn’t out of pity or exploitation, it’s her reclaiming her tribulations and presenting it in a way that gives the woman she is today all of the power.

It’s more than just a recollection of a crazy life, it’s an all-out commitment to practicing what you preach, with a deft voice for comedy. It’s not for the faint of heart, I will admit, but I feel like even those who prefer a cleaner set could appreciate what Ms. Pat has done here. This special is a masterclass in combining candidness and amiability, and in comedy, especially blue comedy, that is almost essential. Fans of the indecent: I have a great recommendation. Advice for the hesitant? Take a deep breath, keep an open mind, and leave the box on the top shelf on the left-hand side alone.

7/10

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Nick McGlynn

Nick McGlynn

He/Him. Approaching the “trying something” era of my life. Twitter/Instagram: nickwritesjokes