Comedian Tracey Williamson channels her frustrations, sadness, and anger into laughs | Pittsburgh City Paper

Comedian Tracey Williamson channels her frustrations, sadness, and anger into laughs

click to enlarge Comedian Tracey Williamson channels her frustrations, sadness, and anger into laughs
Tracey Williamson

Tracey Williamson is becoming a force in the Pittsburgh comedy scene. Her show “Three Women, One Mic” debuted in February, featuring improv by Williamson and two other female comedians, Samantha Bentley and Shaun McCarthy. With Bentley, she also co-founded BentWilli Entertainment, a public relations company for local comedians offering marketing, design, and project management services. Pittsburgh City Paper spoke with the local comedian and talent manager about her journey.

When did you first fall in love with comedy?

I’ve always had an appreciation for comedy, but I fell deeply in love with it in 2016. That’s when I fully realized comedy is a coping mechanism that I rely heavily on to thrive. It helps me fight anxiety and depression. When I thought I was ready to give up on this world — and when I thought this world had given up on me — I threw all of my frustrations, sadness, and anger into comedy. To my surprise, it transformed into something amazingly positive. 

You wear many hats in the scene. You are a comic, producer, and manager. What inspired you to do more than just perform?

It all happened so naturally. I felt the need to give birth to something. I wasn’t quite sure what, but I knew it was in gestation. I met Samantha Bentley while performing at a charity event and reached out to her about a year or so later to ask her to work on a project with me. I wanted to produce a different type of comedy show. Samantha and I play off of each other so well. I wanted to tap into that, but we can also be a bit much … When I met Shaun McCarthy, I knew she was the missing link. 

The birth of “Three Women, One Mic” was my awakening. I realized my production and management skills outweigh my stand-up comic skills. And that’s OK. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m funny AF, but the business end is where I shine brightest. Sam and I co-founded BentWilli Entertainment, LLC to handle the serious side of comedy, and I manage Samantha through the company. 

I have been online stalking you since you created “Three Women, One Mic.” Can you tell us more about that project?

“Three Women, One Mic” is BentWilli’s first completed project. The audience submits the topics and we respond. We have no idea what’s coming at us or what’s coming out of us. Our response may come through relatable stories, crowd work, or improvisation. The weirdest topic we got so far was “Uncle Frank and Aunt Bruce.” I still don’t know what that means, but we improvised our way through it, and it worked. (Check it out on the BentWilli YouTube channel!)

I pitched the idea for the show to Don Mahaney, owner of Scratch Food & Beverage in Troy Hill, and we performed our first show there this past February. The show was a hit and we had a blast doing it. We’ve had four shows since and have more in the works. We’re also working on a podcast and a project with filmmaker Chris Ivey of Hyperboy Media. 

When can we see one of your productions in Pittsburgh?

“Three Women, One Mic” will be recoding our comedy talk show podcast in front of a live audience at Sugar and Smoke Southern Kitchen bi-weekly June 26 through Aug. 21. 

Three Women, One Mic:; coming soon