Take a woman born and raised in SF, California under the strict, watchful eye of her dad, a Pentecostal preacher, who insists she goes to college to make something of herself. She earns a business degree and after graduation she passes the CPA exam and goes to work at one of the largest accounting firms in the world and settles into life as a Certified Public Accountant. Then one night, with some friends, she goes to a local comedy club and on a dare-sweetened by $100, she gets onstage to do an unrehearsed routine. Let the audience laugh uproariously and then less than a year later, let that spontaneous woman take a leave from number crunching and hit the road that leads to comedy success. This sounds like an idea for a new television sitcom, but this is the real life story of René Hicks. Such a drastic career switch didn't go over well at home. Her devout mother feared that church members, hearing that René was working in nightclubs, would think that she was a stripper! However, René was smitten by the world of comedy; she had to give it a go.
Now a comedy veteran, René has performed her intelligent and universally appealing humor in countless clubs across the US and internationally, resulting in her having been the first African-American woman ever nominated for an American Comedy Award for "Best Female Stand-Up". She has appeared on numerous television shows, including her own half hour special - "Comedy Central Presents...René Hicks". She has also appeared on Comedy Central's "The World Comedy Tour" and "Premium Blend", ABC's "Politically Incorrect", Showtime's "Full Frontal Comedy" and NBC's "Comedy Showcase" with Louie Anderson. She has also guest starred on ABC's "Hangin' with Mr. Cooper" and appeared in "Low Down Dirty Shame" with Keenan Ivory Wayans. René is also enormously popular on the college campus circuit, having performed or lectured at over 600 colleges and universities throughout the US. She is a two-time recipient of the coveted National College Comedian of the Year Award.
Making the move from accounting to comedy was obviously a sound business decision for René, as being funny is her greatest asset. Her deep level of passion and commitment isn't limited to making people laugh. René has always taken time to give something back to the community, by volunteering with Special Olympics, Caring For Babies With Aids, Project Angel Food and various cancer organizations. "I know that God has blessed me with so much, that it's my duty to in turn give to others", she explains. God's blessings were never more evident than when René recently overcame a major health crisis--lung cancer. "I've never smoked, so I knew God was attempting to strengthen me for some greater purpose. So, I used my God given gift for creating laughter to help me heal." "I immediately realized that it couldn't just be a coincidence that 'humor' rhymed with 'tumor' and in comedy, comics look for words that sound funny and 'tumor' is a funny word." "Two tumors go walking into a bar...see you don't even need a punchline, it just sounds funny." Now it is my mission to be an example for others to enlist humor in aiding them in overcoming obstacles and upheavals in their own lives, whether they be of a life threatening nature or just life impeding.
Rene´ Hicks has successfully interwoven her comedy and her convictions into establishing herself as an internationally known comedian and lecturer, who is determined to use her talents to make a difference. She has often been categorized as "a comic with a social conscious". Most comics have comedy "acts", Rene´ has comedy "activism". Her goal is to always provide a quality entertainment that is not only hilarious, but helps lead to the break down of barriers that can contribute to cultural/social isolation and intolerance, with the end result being human solidarity - all people united in the recognition and strengthening of our common bonds. "There's so much 'politically correct' rhetoric about diversity and multiculturalism, with very little result of actually bringing people together on a lasting basis--I use my humor to try to accomplish that objective."
Wherever René's exploding career takes her, she will always feel at home on a stage, with a mic in hand. "I think stand-up is the only art form where you're really intimate with the audience; you get directly into someone's psyche. You know nothing about them, may have nothing in common with them, but still viscerally touch them. That's why I truly love doing comedy, because laughter brings people together." Whether she is making you laugh about the experiences we have in common or making you laugh about the differences, the message is the same--"We need a lot more laughter in this world and a lot less of the dumb crap that divides us."
A Second City Alumnus, Elvira has had many years of comedic success in the U.S. and Canada, most recently hosting, writing and producing 78 episodes of the Comedy Network's hit late night talk show, Popcultured with Elvira Kurt, a satirical take on the inane and excessive world of pop culture. Elvira has also appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and her comedy specials have aired on Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime, CTV, CBC and The Comedy Network.
A native of Toronto, Kurt was voted Funniest Female Comic at the Canadian Comedy Awards, is a three time winner of "Best Standup Comic" by Toronto's 'Now' magazine, and received a Gemini-nomination for her one-hour comedy special, Big Girl Now. That special also nabbed Gold and Silver Awards at the Worldfest International Film Festival. Kurt also wrote and starred in The Comedy Network series, Elvira Kurt: Adventures in Comedy and her versatility and natural ability as a host and MC have made her the 'go to' choice for the network's many televised events such as its 5th Anniversary Special featuring Jon Stewart, the Cream of Comedy and the March of Dames, to name a few. She's also guest starred on Degrassi: The Next Generation, performed in the Vagina Monologues and has been featured in several comedy films, most recently the award winning Laughing Matters...More! Yet, despite the accolades and mainstream success, Elvira always enjoys doing live shows, especially at Toronto's Buddies in Bad Times Theatre for, as her mother calls them, "da gays."
One of North America's hottest college acts, Elvira Kurt has been nominated as both U.S. College Comedian and Entertainer of the Year. In her spare time, Kurt performs at clubs all over North America including The Improv, The Comedy Store, The Laugh Factory, Caroline's, Comic Strip Live, Catch a Rising Star and Stand Up New York. She's also played The House of Blues in LA and appears regularly in Las Vegas.
No slouch when it comes to writing for others, Kurt contributed to the CBS pilot and HBO special for Ellen DeGeneres and has written for This Hour Has 22 Minutes and various awards shows.
As part of her ongoing modest quest for worldwide comedy domination Elvira is now a dual citizen of both Canada and the U.S. Of course, to her Eastern European immigrant parents all this means is that she can now officially be a disappointment to them in two countries.
Sabrina Matthews is an openly lesbian comic who relates the absurd in everyday life in a witty anecdotal style.
"Sabrina's brand of comedy is infectious," says afterellen.com, and she "regularly draws out big laughs from both gay and straight audiences."
Her hilarious half-hour comedy special, "Comedy Central Presents Sabrina Matthews" was a big hit, she is a star of 2006's hit documentary, Laughing Matters...More! and made her television acting debut in "America's Most Wanted". (Yes, really.)
Sabrina began her comedy career in the San Francisco Bay Area, and now appears regularly at clubs, colleges, cruises, and festivals around the world. On the rare days that she is home amidst the doughnut shops and dude-speak of Los Angeles, Sabrina spends her days scuba diving, teaching her dogs not to eat furniture, engaging in her favorite game (Point and Laugh), and generally doing anything else to avoid rifling through the heap of letters from the IRS teetering on her desk in search of tiny, hastily scribbled comedy notes. All in comfortable shoes.
Vickie has performed in almost every state in the US over the last five years and has headlined in various venues including: Michigan Womyn's Festival, National Women's Music Festival, Monterrey Beach Women's Festival; and the Dinah & Lina Shore Golf Tournament in Southern California and at numerous clubs, including: Spellbinder's and The Laff Stop in Houston, Comedy Undergound in Seattle, The Improv in Cleveland, Wall Street in Columbus, Luna Park in LA, 88's in NYC, The Light Project in Miami and Internationally on Olivia Travel cruises & Club Med resorts.
Today, Vickie Shaw is a seasoned comedian hilariously addressing the triumphs and trials of being a woman, a mother and gay in America. Vickie's own life provides the best material for her show:as an out, lesbian mother, she has successfully raised two sons, (one of whom is married with a brand new baby daughter, Vickie's first grand child), has a teenage daughter still living at home, is married to her 'husbian', Sgt. Patch, and on top of all that she is a recovering S.O.B. (Southern Baptist).To date, Vickie Shaw has her own CD : "You're Funny?" My Mom', and is a featured artist on the "Best of Lesbian Comedy" release on Rising Star Records.
Also available is the hilarious video of her "Sick and Wrong" tour. In addition, there are several unique and exciting projects and appearances in the works, including a memorable appearance on Comedy Central's Premium Blend and a movie by Andrea Meyerson ("Laughing Matters"), that will be titled: "More Laughing Matters"
Last year she toured the US with her "La-la-pa-Lesbo Tour", this year with her new "Sick and Wrong Tour" (& the video), she will crack you up!
Hopefully, the future will bring Vickie Shaw to your town for an unforgettable time!