Comedy Profiles: Riveting Women

 

Language of Laughter will be having its second annual Riveting Women Comedy Show Case, featuring female talent from around DFW. Get to know these hilarious ladies!

De De T

This loud, spunky woman was born in Louisiana and moved to Dallas, Texas, in 2012 to pursue her dream of stand-up comedy. When De De T was five years old, she began to embrace the idea of becoming a comedian because she was extremely playful and silly. She had always known she wanted to be a comedian, but her dreams were met with opposition. She tried going to college until she realized that comedy was her true calling. Something she has learned to love about doing stand-up comedy is that people have to listen to her. Her stand-up is her time to be her raw, uncensored self. She has enjoyed doing comedy in Dallas because it has a great scene. Despite the politics, she finds doing comedy to be rewarding. Though she doesn't consider herself much of a "people person," she has found some good friends. Being a part of LoL's Riveting Women Show Case is important to her because she feels as if she gets to do what she loves for a cause that benefits the education of children.

 

Monna

Originally from Indiana, Monna has been doing comedy in the Dallas area for two and a half years. Her inspiration to pursue comedy came from a quote from Jim Carrey: "You have to divorce yourself from what others want from you." Since her Junior year of high school, she knew she wanted to be a comedian. In 2013, she started doing stand-up in Indianapolis. When she came to Dallas, she found a diverse community that she has enjoyed being a part of. She loves comedy because she has learned to express things that women are meant to hide. She wants other women to feel comfortable and confident. She is excited about the Show Case because LoL offers a tangible result to the comics' efforts. They have the opportunity to put something good in the world outside of just the show.

Kerry

Kerry has been in Dallas for 6 years since moving from Florida. When she was 13 years old, she saw Eddie Murphy's Delirious, which inspired her affinity for comedy. Her career aspirations were always off-beat as she never wanted to do what most people wanted to do. She went to Souther Methodist University with the long-term goal of becoming an entertainment lawyer. While in college, she gave stand-up comedy a try, but was afraid of falling in love with it. However, falling in love was inevitable. For her, comedy has become the only time she can be honest and truly herself. Comedians such as Maria Bamford have inspired her to creative and experimental on stage. To her, the stage is a place for performances. She's tried doing comedy in New York, but she felt as if the town lacked comedic diversity. She sees plenty of amazing diversity in the Dallas comedy scene. She is most excited to be doing comedy for a good cause through Language of Laughter.

Sarah

In Louisiana, Sarah was a theater student with a dream to become an actress. At the age of 22, she finally gave stand-up comedy a try. Since then, she has been doing comedy because she loves making people laugh and enjoys the creative freedom of it. She enjoys watching comedy specials on Netflix. Her favorite part about watching other comedians is witnessing their fearlessness and passion. A year and a half ago, she moved to Dallas. She feels like Dallas is filled with a good group of comedians. Dallas is most exciting for her because there is always something going on. She is looking forward to the Riveting Women Comedy Show Case because she loves that she can do what she loves while raising money for children. 

 

Sydney

A native Texan, Sydney came to Denton to study at the University of North Texas. In 2016, she graduated with a degree in Radio Television and Film degree. She used to aspire to be a stunt-double in movies. During her studies, she started doing stand-up comedy around town. She loves doing comedy because she feels as if she gets to speak her mind in a way that casual conversation doesn't allow. Louis C.K. is one of her favorite comedians because he does what he wants and makes the most simple things hilarious. Dallas has been a fun and comfortable place where comedians can hone their craft. She has enjoyed making friends with her fans and other comedians. She loves working with Language of Laughter because she enjoys the feeling of contributing to her community. Not only does she get to make people laugh, but she also knows that she's making a larger impact elsewhere.

 

KeLanna

All the way from Arkansas, KeLanna moved to Dallas at the age of 21. Originally, she had went to the American Broadcasting School with aspirations of becoming a radio personality. During that time, she started writing jokes. Bill Burr was one of her inspirations. Her admiration for Burr came from watching him deliver and express his emotions in such a relatable and humorous way. She only wrote jokes because she was too afraid to perform in front of an audience, but eventually did on her 29th birthday. Ever since, she has kept Dallas laughing. Her favorite things about comedy are making people laugh and finding creative ways to entertain her audiences. She has enjoyed the company of the Dallas comedians. She is honored to be part of Language of Laughter because she's glad to be doing something that will benefit others. She loves the community-building that Language of Laughter dedicates itself to. 

Taylor

Taylor started comedy as a way to vent after her boyfriend at the time cheated on her, 2 years ago. She did one spiteful open-mic and all of a sudden she performed in the Denton Comedy Festival in 2016. She enjoyed performing because she enjoyed figuring out the jokes that her audiences responded best to. She loved Dallas audiences because they seemed to understand her jokes very well. However, DCF would be the last time she would do stand-up comedy due to a serious family illness. It has been since then that she performed. She says that this will be her last stand-up performance. She is looking forward to continuing her education, working towards a Master's degree to eventually become a history professor. She is glad to be performing in Riveting Women because she wants to support their cause for the sake of the at-risk-youth. 

How To Get Involved

We are so excited for the month of July and have plenty planned for everyone. To start, Language of Laughter needs your help. Whether you can make a donation, want volunteer your time, or enjoy a night of comedy, there are plenty of different ways in which you can help.

Donations are always encouraged and appreciated. You can locate places to make online donations on our website and Facebook page. Our past donations have given us opportunities of growth that would’ve never happened without people like yourself. Supporting us in turn supports childhood literacy in our community.

 

LoL is specifically looking for childcare professionals and educators for the upcoming Junior Author Workshop. The workshop will be at the MLKJr. Rec Center from July 12-14. If you quality, you will be able to assist us by filling out a volunteer form on our website. If you have children and think they would benefit from this opportunity, you can still enroll them until Monday, July 10th. If you know of any educators who would be interested in volunteering or any people who would want to enroll their children (or both), please feel free to support us by sharing this information. The more people know, the better. We would love to involve more children from around the community! Our Junior Author Workshops have always been exciting and rewarding.

If you’re not a childcare professional or educator, we are still always in need of volunteers to help us develop, operate, and grow. Signing up on our volunteer list is easy. You can locate it on our website, where you can also find contact information for volunteer organizers. Melanie and Alyssa are great points of contact if you’re looking to volunteer with us. Their contact information can also be found on our website.

And last, but not least, we are also looking forward to our Riveting Women Comedy Show on July 29th at Lakeside Craft Kitchen. This comedy show is unique to LoL because we feature only our local female talent at this show. We have hilarious comics, such as De De Tee, Monna, Kerry Smith, Sarah Spooner, Sydney Carson, Kelanna Spiller, and Taylor Brook Lawrence. These women will also be featured on our blog later this month in an interview, so stay tuned! Get to know the ladies and come out on July 29th at 8PM to see them in person.

 

Thank you all so much for your continued support. You are the reason we can make this all happen. Please stick with us as we gear up for exciting and engaging opportunities!

ShamROCK SOLID Comedy Showcase

$1000.18. Wow. That’s a lot of money! And it’s all because of YOU.

 

Our Shamrock Showcase was a huge success, more so than we ever expected. We more than doubled our original goal of $400, thanks to all of the amazing people who came out and helped support us and the comedians. Because of the incredible support we received, we’ve been able to double the amount of bilingual books we’ll be purchasing!

For those who weren’t able to come, thank you for helping us spread the info about the show! We’re working on editing the footage and hopefully will have it available online soon, so you can laugh at all of the jokes you missed.


As always, thank you for your support, and we look forward to making you laugh in the future.

Why We're Doing This

One step inside Newton Rayzor Elementary and I was sold. An International Baccalaureate (IB) school, Newton Rayzor focuses on creating “internationally minded participants in a global society”. The multicultural emphasis in this school is readily tangible; maps, world clocks, flags, and framed artwork depicting the world's continents create this “internationally minded” atmosphere. It's effective. And frankly, it’s adorable. 


We were early, so Stuart and I wandered the halls, admiring the artwork. We arrived at the classroom belonging to the teacher we'd come to meet - whose class would receive the book donation. Just outside the door, we found artwork depicting important figures who had “taken action”. That’s a big thing at Newton Rayzor: choosing a cause, taking an action, and reflecting on it. Abraham Lincoln, Cesar Chavez, Rosa Parks, and others—drawn in expert kindergarten style—adorn the wall outside the classroom. After spending a few minutes admiring the art, a small, smiling woman approached us: Mrs. Arriaga, Kindergarten and first grade ESL teacher, and absolute hero.


 Mrs. Arriaga is wonderful, and it’s evident in every word she delivered when we sat down to discuss her students. As an IB school, they focus on "inquiry-based learning," leading with questions and teaching children to be naturally curious. Currently, her class is putting together a class book on butterflies, entirely in Spanish, and teaching her students how to phrase things in their own words. It’s a bilingual classroom, and they have a “language of the day”. She takes little moments out of the day to bolster the students' English, like while reviewing the day's calendar and while getting ready for recess. The struggles of bilingual and English language learner (ELL) students is a “pattern that you see every year,” she says. 

“It’s usually those students who don’t have access to books at home, or who come in with zero knowledge of…where to even begin with reading,” Mrs. Arriaga continued. ELL students make up almost 11 percent of the student population, and these numbers are rising, with only about four percent of those students performing at-level or higher academically. Knowing that is what propelled me headfirst into the educational world; I want to be a reading specialist so that these numbers can change, and people like Mrs. Arriaga can facilitate that change. 

To Mrs. Arriaga, reading is where her students consistently struggle the most. Some kids “come in with a lack of any knowledge and you have to teach them how to talk, how to hold a pencil. It takes time and requires certain skills to even begin.” Reading is the foundational stepping stone when it comes to early education. To Mrs. Arriaga (and myself), it is “the first thing they need to go into other areas of education. [Teaching a child to read] is like learning another language [and entering] a new world.” 

That’s what we’re hoping to do with the proceeds we receive from our show this Friday. We want to enable the children in Mrs. Arriaga’s class to escape into a new world the way that I remember escaping into the world of Harry Potter and the way I got to go to Narnia as a child. These kids don’t have those opportunities yet, and we want to give that to them. The donation will give her classroom literary resources that she says she currently has to make herself because it’s difficult to find books that are appropriately leveled in the languages she needs. With dual-language books, Mrs. Arriaga hopes to raise parent involvement in her classroom, something that is sorely needed. 

“It’s the key for kids to have passion for learning,” she says. There’s a big difference in children who do have parent involvement and those who don’t—a child who is read to by their parents almost daily, by five years of age, will have the vocabulary of a six or seven-year-old, but a child who isn’t will only have the vocabulary of a three-year-old. Giving parents who otherwise can’t afford to buy books at home or can’t go to the library the opportunity to read to their child makes a world of difference academically, and Mrs. Arriaga wants to make that possible. She plans on giving the books to the students, enabling them to build their own libraries. “Having that resource will open doors for their families." 

I’ve never met a more deserving person. It's not often you meet someone who has such a strong-willed passion for giving to others, and Mrs. Arriaga exudes this. She wants so badly to help the students in her class succeed, but simply lacks the resources to do so. And that’s where we come in. With the proceeds from the show, we hope to provide books for her to give to her students. In true IB school form, we chose a cause, took an action, and soon we’ll be able to reflect on it. Mrs. Arriaga told her students as much. 

“I said, ‘boys and girls, there’s someone who is taking action with our class!’” And the kids are thrilled. Some have even suggested books they want us to buy. This is going to be the most worthwhile shopping trip of my life.

Whoops. I think we started a Nonprofit.

Bockbockbockbock....

Bockbockbockbock....

A little bit about me: I like certain brands of tuna, I'm a book person, and I don't know how one begins a blog post.

The LoL Nonprofit journey has offered, thus far, a fantastic chance to connect - To connect with new friends, to connect with the community, and to connect with passionate collaborators. However, I've never been one to beat around the bush, so I'll just get straight to it. If you've been following our efforts thus far, you may have heard a rumor:

Shane, LoL co-founder, quit.

I feel as though it's my responsibility to address these rumors. . . Regrettably, they’re accurate. Immediately before appearing with me on ntTV's Late Night @ North Texas, host Natalie Szczechowski mispronounced Shane's last name, and he stormed off-set during the taping's pause for commercial break. The interview was stalled, and it became a scramble to find someone to fill Shane’s spot. Miraculously, friend and former coworker Pat Patchins was conveniently using a nearby restroom. He agreed to come on in Shane's stead.

Pat Patchins (pictured left) was the founder and only member of the "Eagle Campus Watch" for a time at the University of North Texas, despite not being a registered student. After being threatened by administration, Pat agreed to relinquish control of his illegitimate organization to Mark McGruff, a UNT student who looks remarkably like Stu Hollowell. 

Pat Patchins (pictured left) was the founder and only member of the "Eagle Campus Watch" for a time at the University of North Texas, despite not being a registered student. After being threatened by administration, Pat agreed to relinquish control of his illegitimate organization to Mark McGruff, a UNT student who looks remarkably like Stu Hollowell. 

If you know Pat, you know he never leaves home without something that's incredibly important to him: a portrait of his great grandfather, "Papi Patchins." I'm not sure whether or not Papi is his legitimate first name, but something tells me it's a genuine possibility. Rather than talking about the Nonprofit, Pat spent most of the interview describing his relative's impressive and completely true accomplishments. Watch ntTV's interview when it is posted early March to hear about Papi's role in the Revolutionary War as the only soldier on the Canadian side.

Pictured (left to right) Pat Patchins, Papi Patchins, Stu Hollowell, Natalie Szczeczklczellilicziki.

Pictured (left to right) Pat Patchins, Papi Patchins, Stu Hollowell, Natalie Szczeczklczellilicziki.

On a more serious note, the interview was a blast and the ntTV crew was as kind as they were professional. The past few weeks/months have been crazy as we've started in on this Nonprofit journey. Mostly though, the LoL team has grown, both in number and in scope. We've gone from a small collection of friends not exactly sure of what we were getting ourselves into (myself included), and we're rapidly becoming a collection of passionate collaborators intent on contributing towards our communities' education by putting on local comedy shows. We're especially excited for our first show on March 18th, as we plan on using 100% of the revenue to purchase a bilingual library for a dual-language elementary classroom.

We can offer no greater "thank you" than to those who have thus far supported us. The sincere kindness that people have been extending to the team is cherished, and I believe I speak for all of us in saying that. For the past few months, our dedicated efforts have gone towards starting a Nonprofit. Now, they're going towards running one.

I hope you continue following us on this weird track we've found ourselves on. If you have an interest in volunteering with us, whether you'd like to help staff comedy shows, purchase and distribute books to classrooms, or if you have ideas of your own, contact stu@lolforacause.com

Thanks d00dz.

Denton Comedy: The Caitlyn Jenner of Local Entertainment

    Knock, Knock Dentonites! Comedy is here; in fact, Denton has had a comedy scene for over five years now. And like Caitlyn Jenner, it too has experienced many drastic changes in a short amount of time. From the rusted chain-link fences of The Garage, to the cappuccino-stained floors of the late-great White House Coffee Shop, local Denton comedians have managed to always find spaces to share their talent with live audiences. Some would say this unusual presence of comedy in Denton oscillates between two types of entertainers: comedic geniuses, and sad, chronic masturbaters explaining the unfairness of their relationship statuses. Depending on the night, those people might be one and the same. Now, these beef-beaters and yuk-yukers are gearing towards a new era of Denton Comedy.   

    Denton is never amiss for an opportunity to engage in live entertainment, and 2016 is shaping up to be the hardest comeback Denton comedy has seen since Kim Kardashin’s sextape- at least I’m pretty sure she got cum on her back. Anyhow, there’s an open mic for just about every night of the week, which premiers some of the best and brightest of Denton’s comedians. Mable Peabody’s plays host to their own Open Mic Night every Tuesday. On Thursdays, both comedians and comedy fans try to drink the weekend closer at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios. Finally, the community collectively mourns the weekend’s death at the Abbey Underground every Sunday. Needless to say, there is an abundance of comedic talent waiting to be showcased to the larger Denton population. That’s where we hope to come in.

    Language of Laughter intends to put on regular charity shows to help promote local entertainers while simultaneously aiding local students. All ticket proceeds from the LoL Comedy Showcases will go directly towards the advancement of underprivileged students within the Denton community. We’ve chosen to direct our immediate attention towards English Language Learners, as they represent 10.5% of the national student population, and are among the most at risk of lost academic potential. With the help of our communities’ entertainers, who are as passionate about making a difference as they are about toasting their bagel bites -- and that’s very passionate ladies and gentlemen. We will make significant and quantifiable changes, for the better, in our local education system. By aiding local schools and after care-programs, we mean to provide the necessary resources that will make the difference in these students lives and hopefully inspire them to go after their dreams of education. The inaugural showcase is March 18th at J&J’s Pizza on the Denton Square. Tickets are available at LoLforacause.com.

   Comedy in Denton has seen it’s darkest days. The history of bars putting a stop to open mics, and even coffee shops shutting down entirely just to put the comedians out on the streets; some might interpret these occurrences as self-evident messages from a higher power. If this is the case, the message is clear: Denton comedy should just give up and die out already. However, despite every obstacle, these overrated class clowns continue to persevere. They have always continued to perform in whatever space they can find, muscling for any available stage time between solo musicians and live bands.

    If there is one thing to be said about Denton Comedy, it is the comedian’s adamant tenacity to tell a joke through pain and strife. Perhaps the community will see the potential in harnessing their talents to benefit Denton’s students. And perhaps one day people will be more accepting and forthright about the life choices of these sad men and women of Denton, who fight for laughter with five minutes and a microphone. Until then, Denton Comedy continues to mirror its champion, its beacon of hope; its inspiring role model Caitlyn Jenner.

 

Edited by: Stu Hollowell & Melanie Johnston