This is entirely from memory and may well be wrong, but I have it in my head that her path to comedy is worth retelling, too. She did hair, once upon a time, but got irritated with customers talking back, saying they wanted one thing but then actually wanting something else, etc. She took a job doing hair at a funeral parlor (her clients were all dead so no more talking back) and discovered she quite liked it. Her early standup material was based on that job: she’d clown around on ideas she’d get doing hair on dead people and it had this high-edge, low-blue tone that caught on.

    Also, everything I’ve read is that she was a legit Star Trek fan since she was a little girl. The most famous story is that she saw Uhura on TV and yelled to her mother that “there’s a black woman on TV and she ain’t no maid!” Supposedly, she wanted to get on to TNG when the show was first announced and the only reason it didn’t happen was because the showrunners flat-out didn’t believe it was true; she had to convince them she legitimately wanted to be on the show, so they created Guinan for her.

    • And named the character after famous nightclub owner Texas Guinan! Yeah, I told that story in the Nichelle Nichols article.

  • thesplitsaber

    EGOT winner. Seek out her episode(s?) of Law and Order CI. She plays a villain and foil to Chris Noth. I wish shed do some more serious dramatic work but I get that thats more the industries choice than hers. And shes right she would be great in a Wes Anderson movie!