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Take a woman born and raised in SF, California under the strict, watchful eye of her dad, a Pentecostal preacher, who insists she goes to college to make something of herself. She earns a business degree and after graduation she goes to work, as an accountant at one of the largest accounting firms in the world and settles into crunching numbers for the corporate world. Then one night, with some friends, she goes to a local comedy club and on a dare-sweetened by $100, she gets onstage to do an unrehearsed routine. Let the audience laugh uproariously and then less than a year later, let that spontaneous woman take a leave from number crunching and hit the road that leads to comedy success. This sounds like an idea for a new television sitcom, but this is the real life story of Rene Hicks. Such a drastic career switch didn't go over well at home. Her devout mother feared that church members, hearing that Rene was working in nightclubs, would think that she was a stripper! However, Rene was smitten by the world of comedy; she had to give it a go.
Now a comedy veteran, Rene has performed her intelligent and universally appealing humor in countless clubs across the US and internationally, resulting in her having been the first African-American woman ever nominated for an American Comedy Award for "Best Female Stand-Up". She has appeared on numerous television shows, including her own half hour special - "Comedy Central Presents...Rene Hicks". Rene is also enormously popular on the college campus circuit, having performed or lectured at over 650 colleges and universities throughout the US. She is a two-time recipient of the coveted National College Comedian of the Year Award.
Making the move from accounting to comedy was obviously a sound business decision for Rene, as being funny is her greatest asset. Her deep level of passion and commitment isn't limited to making people laugh. Rene has always taken time to give something back to the community, by volunteering with Special Olympics, Caring For Babies With Aids, Project Angel Food and various cancer organizations. "I know that God has blessed me with so much, that it's my duty to in turn give to others", she explains. God's blessings were never more evident than when Rene recently overcame a major health crisis--lung cancer. "I've never smoked, so I knew God was attempting to strengthen me for some greater purpose. So, I used my God given gift for creating laughter to help me heal." "I immediately realized that it couldn't just be a coincidence that 'humor' rhymed with 'tumor' and in comedy, comics look for words that sound funny and 'tumor' is a funny word." "Two tumors go walking into a bar...see you don't even need a punchline, it just sounds funny."
Rene Hicks has successfully interwoven her comedy and her convictions into establishing herself, first as an internationally known comedian and presently a Keynote Speaker-- in enormous demand, who is determined to use her talents to make a difference. She was often categorized as "a comic with a social conscious". Most comics have comedy "acts", Rene--comedy "activism". She says, "there's so much 'politically correct' rhetoric about diversity and multiculturalism, with very little result of actually bringing people together on a lasting basis-I use my humor to try to accomplish that objective."
Wherever Rene's exploding career takes her, she will always feel at home with a microphone in hand, talking to people."I think using humor is the only way that you can become really intimate with the audience and not only get directly into someone's mind, but into their soul. You know nothing about them, may have nothing in common with them, but still viscerally touch them. That's why I've always enjoyed using my comedy skills, because laughter brings people together." Whether she is making you laugh about the experiences we have in common or making you laugh about the differences, the message is the same--"We need a lot more laughter in this world and a lot less of the stupid crap that divides us."