As a single lesbian mom living in Berkeley in the 1980s, Karen Williams started doing stand-up comedy “because it was something I could do that didn’t cost anything.” Known for her quick repartee, insightful commentary and audience rapport, Williams is a comic craftmaster, a gifted actor, a multitalented writer, and an inspirational lecturer.  Armed with her “heal with humor” philosophy, she gives humor workshops specifically designed to build self-awareness and self-confidence, and to encourage tolerance and respect for the dignity of human life.

Armed with her “healing with humour” philosophy, Karen is a modern-day alchemist and motivational humourist, whose audiences revel in her cathartic laughter and whose peers consider her a comic’s comic!

She graduated summa cum laude from Cleveland State University with a personally-designed major in “Humor and Healing.” She also received a Master of Education degree from CSU’s Adult Learning & Development program. She’s taught Stand-Up Comedy in the Dramatic Arts department of Cleveland State University and is the President and CEO of HaHA Institute. She is creator of the Humor-at-Large workshop series and founder of the National Women’s Comedy Conference.

Karen was featured in the award-winning comedy/documentary  hot at the the first We’re Funny That Way festival, she’s shown regularly on HBO and was a nominee for the 1999 GLAMA Award for her outrageously funny comedy CD, “human beings: what a concept” (Uproar Records). As a solo entertainer, Karen Williams delights SRO audiences from San Francisco to South Beach to Sydney.

She’s worked as a comedy writer and is the former television host of the New York variety show “In the Life.” Williams’ humor writings appear in numerous anthologies, including “Joke Stew” (Andrews McMeel Publishing); Revolutionary Laughter” (Crossing Press); “Out in All Directions” (Warner Books); and “Out, Loud & Laughing” (Random House).

As a mainstage comic at the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal, she was introduced by  Jon Stewart as “Professor Williams”. As adjunct faculty at Cleveland State University, Professor Williams taught a Senior Seminar in Stand-Up Comedy. 

Karen lives in Cleveland, Ohio, the proud mother of three sons.

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