Kathy Buckley, as you most likely know, is one of the funniest women to hit the comedy stage. Not such a funny start as she came into this world with one life-threatening problem and at the age of 4 suffered another, both of which had the doctors assuring the parents that she was going to be a slow person. She learned early never to tell people what they can and can’t do and knows first hand that, “The only limitation you’ll ever to have in life is your attitude.”
Did she choose comedy or did comedy choose her? Good question with complicated issues at work here. She was a massage exercise therapist. “Everyone kept saying laughter is the best medicine. Unfortunately I was making fun of the people on my table and made them laugh – and then I could get into their muscles and really work.” She talks about her client the actress and comedian Geri Jewell and how the friendship that developed led Kathy right down the road she was meant to take. “She came to me and so did three others with a newspaper article Stand Up Comics Take a Stand, a contest to raise money for cerebral palsy. I did not know anything about comedy, I don’t hear comedy, did not understand it. Deaf comedy and hearing humor are very different.” But she entered the contest to raise money because she thought it would help her friend Geri. Her whole life was lip-reading so she rented videos to learn about comedy but, oops, they were not hearing captioned, and Robin William’s lips moved to fast to read while Whoopie Goldberg did not move hers at all.
Learn about how and why she was chosen by Tony Robbins to speak for him, about her work with deaf children’s theater, her own motivational speaking, her acting and her writing. She says, “You never know what seeds you are planting in whose life. It is not me, it is the holy spirit I am just the vessel. I just walk all over the place and say, ‘Okay lord I’m here if there is one child here who needs to hear your voice let the words roll of my tongue.’” Her clearly stated goal is to promote the ability and not the disability.
Kathy Buckley’s ability to make people laugh is based on an unshakable compassion and intelligence that makes the world a better place where people can shine their brightest. In addition to the vast swaths of society that Kathy is watching over and committed to helping in any way she can, she takes care of the parents from whom she had every right to walk away. She says, “I don’t need a mom and dad now but they need a daughter. Forgiving sets you free.”
Her love letters? Every night to God for starters. But there is more. Get a box of tissues and listen to all of this and more, including how she now communicates with her father. Letting you weep and crack up at the same time is part of the skillful world of comedy at its best and a generous gift from Kathy Buckley.