Kathy Buckley, billed as "Americas First Hearing-Impaired Comedienne," was recently honored with a nomination as "Best Female Stand-Up Comedienne for the 1994 AMERICAN COMEDY AWARDS, which was broadcast on ABC-TV. Kathy will next be seen starring in the HBO Comedy Special "WOMEN OF THE NIGHT."
This recognition and success is a far cry from the time Kathy first stood the world of comedy on its ear when, on a dare from a friend, she entered a comedy contest, "Stand-Up Comics Take a Stand in 1988.
What made Kathy nervous was not the fact that this was her first time performing comedy onstage, or the fact that she would not be able to hear the audiences response, except through floor vibrations. What made her nervous was discovering she was competing against comedy veterans who had been in the business for years.
Kathy easily won fourth place and soon began touring the country, playing major comedy venues: Catch a Rising Star (Las Vegas, Reno), The Improv (West Hollywood), The Ice House (Pasadena), The Comedy Store (Hollywood), and many others. In a remarkably short time, Kathy Buckley had made her mark as an extremely popular comic with materials based on, among other things, her hearing loss.
Hearing-impairment is only one of the many hurdles Kathy has encountered in her life. Her poor performance in second grade landed her in a school for retarded and physically-impaired children. It took the school administrators, psychologists and audiologists nearly a year to discover it was her severe hearing loss, not any lack of mental acuity, which was impeding her speech and language development. Today, Kathy shakes her head as she quips to her amazed audiences, and they called me slow?"
In her late teens, Kathys life was interrupted when she was run over by a jeep while sunbathing on a beach, an accident which, due to intermittent paralysis in her legs, took almost five years to recover from. Six years after the jeep accident, Kathy was diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Undaunted, Kathy has turned roadblocks into springboards, using her personal experiences as a launching pad for humor and education.
In 1992, Kathy was selected from among hundreds of performers to showcase her talents at The National Association for Campus Activities Convention. That appearance turned her into a college campus circuit favorite.
Kathys popular appeal, unique persona and refreshing sense of humor also attracted the attention of high-profile comedy television shows. In June 1992, Kathy appeared on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno and recently made her second guest appearance. She has been featured on Entertainment Tonight, Extra, CNN Showbiz Today, Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, Marilu, Phi/Donahue, The John & Leeza Show, Vicki, Geraldo, Mike & Maty, Les Brown and has appeared on Stand-Up Spotlite (VH1), Comic Strip Live, Evening at the Improv and Carolines Comedy Hour to name just a few. She recently served as a celebrity guest host for the Fox Television Special Smart Kid hosted by John Walsh.
In one of her many special projects, Kathy was the focus of "I Can Hear the Laughter," a documentary which won a 1991 Emmy Award.
Although she regularly receives national media attention, Kathy Buckley is more than a popular comic - her humor has a higher purpose.
"My comedy disarms people. I truly believe that the only disability that is out there is attitude. I love to make people laugh, but I love it even more if I can teach them something at the same time," Kathy smiles.
She backs up that philosophy by tirelessly performing on behalf of nonprofit and educational organizations - The MDA Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy TeIethon, The Childrens Miracle Network, The Easter Seal Telethon, and hundreds of others. Recently, Kathy was the Mistress of Ceremonies for The Permanent Charities annual event, hosting with Quincy Jones, Warren Beatty, Chevy Chase and Elizabeth Glaser. She also participated in the benefit for The House Ear Institute in Los Angeles along with Bob Hope, Nanette Fabray, Donald OConnor and Robert Guillaume. As the featured entertainment for The Alexander Graham Bell Awards, Kathy joined Master of Ceremonies Tom Bosley and honoree Lydia Clarke Heston and her husband, Charlton Heston.
Among many other honors, Kathy received The Dole Foundation Media Awareness Award for her dedication to all people with disabilities. It is a well-deserved tribute to her efforts to educate through humor. She was also named the "Role Model of the Year" by Providence Hearing and Speech Center, and was recognized by the U.S. Air Force for outstanding efforts toward disability employment awareness.
Although Kathy works to entertain and enlighten people of all ages, her heart and soul belong to children. "Every single child deserves to have a real childhood," Kathy asserts, . . . "and they should have healthy role models who can show them that people do care about them. That is the gift that I give to our kids - I care about them deeply."
Kathy constantly receives letters from children, parents and organizations around the country, all touched by her motivational speaking and personal appearances.
Whether performing in comedy clubs, guesting on talk shows, speaking in public school classrooms, teaching at camps for the deaf or appearing in any number of other settings, Kathy Buckley, Americas First Hearing-Impaired Comedienne, bears her message that anything can be achieved when the heart and the mind work together.