Bronx native Tacarra Williams doesn’t like her kids. At least, that’s what she said to stun the judges on NBC’s new comedy competition series, "Bring the Funny."
The mom of three kids — aged 14, 18 and 5 — performed a stand-up set in front of "Saturday Night Live" comic Kenan Thompson, Chrissy Teigen, and comedian Jeff Foxworthy.
"My 18-year-old has girlfriends. I’m out here single and he’s living his best life," she jokes.
She advanced to the next level of the series Tuesday thanks to her delivery of ripe, relatable "mom comedy," which ranged from jokes about dating to failing to see eye-to-eye with her 14-year-old daughter.
"Before I went out, I was nervous. Super nervous, but I felt confident too," says Williams. "It was like a dream."
The stand-up competition show, hosted by Amanda Seales ("Insecure"), brings together a new round of comics each week, competing for their shot at a final $250,000 prize and the chance to perform at the Just For Laughs 2020 festival in Montreal.
Williams, who previously appeared in Kevin Hart’s half-hour comedy show "The Next Level," was asked to appear on the series by casting scouts, she says. After taking to the stages of some of New York’s popular comedy joints, like Caroline’s and Broadway Comedy Club, Williams moved to Los Angeles where she currently resides to pursue her career.
Much of that career involves mastering a single-mom-friendly comedy set.
"I think a lot of single moms have dreams of doing something and choose not to," she explains. "My biggest goal is just to have a platform to show women and men, just parents who have given up, that just because you’re a parent, your dreams don’t stop. You just have to work a little bit harder."
She’s been pursuing stand-up for the past seven years. Initially, she pursued the career after being inspired by her divorce to share her experience raising children solo with the world.
"It doesn’t matter what ethnicity, race, religion, your kids are going to get on your nerves," she says about nailing a relatable comedy set. "If I go on stage and say, ‘I don’t like my kids,’ someone will come up to me after the show and go, ‘I don’t like my kids either.’ It’s a universal language."
That universal language helped Thompson, Teigen and Foxworthy select her as one of the funniest acts of the week. She is one of 24 acts selected to move on to the Comedy Clash round of the competition, which will pin her head-to-head against a competitor.
If she makes it past the Clash, she’ll reach the Showcase round — two episodes of six acts — where only four will proceed to the finale.
"This is such amazing exposure, well, first of all, I want to win," Williams says. "Everybody dreams of getting a little chunk of change in their pocket! The most important thing is that I show single moms that this is a tough thing to do, but it’s not impossible."
Catch Williams on "Bring the Funny" Tuesdays at 10 p.m.