WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - You wonder when Ms. Pat sleeps.
She does, of course, but between a busy career in stand-up comedy and raising a house full of kids with her husband, Garrett, some contemplation about whether Ms. Pat — real name Patricia Williams — gets enough sleep is understandable.
Comedy fans in the Wilmington area are hopeful Williams will be well rested before her weekend shows at Dead Crow Comedy Room, but even if she hasn't had a full eight hours of slumber, as she said in a Tuesday afternoon phone interview, "I'm always gonna be Ms. Pat."
Being herself on stage has helped Williams, an Atlanta native, become one of the most sought-after stand-up comedians in the country. After performing two shows each Friday and Saturday night in Wilmington, she will be a co-headliner along with Todd Glass, Eddie Pepitone and Sasheer Zamata at the first-ever North Carolina Comedy Festival in Greensboro next week.
Her book, Rabbit: The Autobiography of Ms. Pat, takes a deep dive into her sometimes heartbreaking past, including Williams giving birth to two children by the time she was 15 years old, drug dealing, getting shot and jail time.
Telling her story — all of it — in the book and on stage might be a scary proposition for some, but Williams said she feels relief airing her dirty laundry.
"Oh my God, it was so freeing," Williams said. "I think some people (at my shows) come into a life they've never experienced or they never really heard of. I try to paint a picture so if I'm in this story, you're there with me.
"Writing this book and telling the stories that I tell...that was all bundled up inside of me. I'm always healing, every time I tell these stories. I've gotten over so much just from being a comedian."
And she's gotten pretty good at being a comedian too after first going on stage in Atlanta in 2002.
Like most comics, Williams said she had to power through some rough shows in the beginning before finding any comfort on stage, but staying committed to total honesty about herself in her act has boosted her ascent up the show business ladder.
"I got my voice probably like five years ago and I learned to be me," Williams said. "A lot of times, you can try to cater your show to the audience so they'll like you. I don't give a damn who's sitting out there. I'm coming to be me. … That's all I know.
"I tell young comics that. Don't let (the crowd) dictate where the show goes. You take them where you want them to go."