Lady of laughter

Grace White

Grace White is here and ready to kick some comedy butt. White and her entourage of funny ladies will start their four-week gig in Reno Aug. 9 at the Sands Regency. The show is called Women Who Kick Comedy Butt, and that is exactly what they will do and have been doing. White, who was born and raised in San Diego, has lived nearby in Colfax, Calif., for 30 years. Since getting into the comedy business at age 49, she has been living out of her car and traveling wherever she hears sounds of laughter. Now that she is 55, part of her act is how age doesn’t matter and women shouldn’t be afraid of getting older.

When and how did this show get started?

I developed the show at the end of 2004. It is all-female comedy but a PG-13 show. It is here to provide comedy opportunities and stage time for women, because, let’s face it, like everything else, men dominate the business. These women get to talk about what they think is funny but not like regular stand-up where you say anything you want. This provides solid writing for the women that won’t offend the audience. This is a show everyone can go to and enjoy without worrying about feeling uncomfortable.

Before Reno, where else has the show been?

We had a weekly show in Marin that sold out every night, and we actually had to turn people away. There was also a show in San Francisco at the Purple Onion, which is a top place for comedians. Also, the Mira Theater in Vallejo and various other places.

Who is involved?

There are about 30 to 35 women involved. I find the locations and venues and put together five women for a show. I like to pick a group of women who work together well but also make the show diverse. The line-up of women will change a few times in Reno, so there are a variety of shows.

What did you do before comedy?

I started doing stand-up comedy when I was 49, during a mid-life crisis, or as I like to call it, a mid-life celebration. I started trying things on my list of things to do, and when I did stand-up, I loved it. Before comedy, I was a paralegal and owned small businesses. In the ‘60s, I was a flower child. Of course. I’m a baby boomer.

What is the show like?

This show is different from anything else. The women performing are all ages, types, sizes and colors. Unlike other stand-up shows, where it is every comedian for himself, these women are a team, like a volleyball team; everyone is setting each other up before they go on. Also, I have never seen audiences react the way they do to this show. They are on fire and so energized when they leave. People want to hear what women have to say. About 60 percent of the audience is women, but men come too and love it.

What are your plans for after the Reno shows?

There will be a few Fresno shows during the time we are in Reno and then a Sacramento show, and we are trying to set up something in New Orleans. There is a lot of interest in our show. Everyone is loving it. It is doing better than I ever could have imagined.