We, as human beings, have always been fascinated by stories where someone rises to the top, when all odds seemingly were stacked against them. We all know someone who has had to overcome more obstacles than we can even begin to fathom. We look to them as if they are some rare form of breed, as we look into their eyes and hang on their every word. Our reaction is not one of condescending nature, but instead, one of great admiration and respect of what they have managed to do.
And then, there is Ms. Pat. She takes this to the next level.
Having grown up in Atlanta, Georgia in the 1980s, Ms. Pat’s upbringing was anything but luxurious. A single mother by the time she was a teenager, with a second child by the time she was 15, dropping out of middle school, and been dragged down by whatever else life could possibly throw at her, Ms. Pat’s upbringing hardly has the set-up of a standard punch line. And yet, in spite of it all, she has been able to find the humor in it.
“What I went through,” Ms. Pat tells The Laugh Button, “I didn’t find to be too funny. I didn’t know it was funny. I didn’t know I could tell it in a funny way. So I would tell these stories and people would laugh. And I said ‘Well, maybe I could put this onstage.’ And so the more comfortable I got onstage, the more I opened up.”
Ms. Pat started doing comedy in 2003 in Georgia. On stage, she started talking about the things most comedians do, before she realized that the true gift is in her own personal experiences. Her unique life stories have brought her to national attention, from stints on Last Comic Standing and Roast Battle to appearances on all of the comedy podcasts from WTF with Marc Maron to The Joe Rogan Experience.
2017 has seen two major happenings in Ms. Pat’s career. In August of this year, Ms. Pat released her first-ever book, Rabbit.
“People would always say, when I would tell stories or talk about my life onstage, ‘You need to write a book,’” Ms. Pat says. “I didn’t have time to write a book. Jeannine Amber helped me write this book. It was on my mind, but I couldn’t do it. So she heard me on a podcast and she said ‘I can help you.’”
The book is full of the many life experiences that Ms. Pat has been sharing onstage for years. But when you’re hearing about these experiences in a comedy club, there is so much humor in what she says, your first inclination is always to laugh. But when these experiences are committed to the page, there are suddenly all new added-layers and more context, in addition to being fleshed out more than the one-hour headlining spot onstage could ever allow.
“The more I sat down with the Jeannine, the more stories I told, the more I started to remember. Because a lot of it, especially like with my first baby daddy, a lot of that stuff I had blocked out. I wouldn’t talk about. Even the things with my momma’s boyfriend, I had never told anybody about. But the more I sat down with her and talked about my life, the more things just started to pour out. And even she was shocked at how much I remember.”
If being a first time author was the only thing Ms. Pat had going on this year, that in itself would be quite the accomplishment. Instead, she has opted to go one step further, and also release her first-ever comedy album, also titled Rabbit, which chronicle the stories of her upbringing, but also, her life now, as a mother.
“I don’t think nothing I could say onstage would bother my kids,” Ms. Pat informs us with great certainty. “My family is outspoken like that. They don’t hold back nothing. They say what they’ve got to say to you and keep moving. In so many words, I don’t have no bitch ass kids.”
When you listen to her onstage, whether she’s talking about her past or she’s talking about her present, the one constant thread throughout it all is how she can make everybody connect. It doesn’t matter who you are, what your upbringing was, race, gender, etc. There is a connection in her comedy, that truly works wonders as far as bringing people together to do the one thing that comedy is supposed to do: make you laugh. In so many words, Ms. Pat is the universal comedian. Everybody can relate to something in what she says.
So, how exactly did someone who came from a life of such hardships manage to have such a phenomenal year in her career? Her life’s philosophy is so simple. “I’ve always said Whatever you want, put it out in the universe, and it’ll come back.”