There’s been nothing typical about the life of Patricia Williams, the standup comedian who is better known as Ms. Pat. She learned to roll drunks when she was a kid, has been shot twice, arrested numerous times and worked as a drug dealer.
With that kind of resume, Ms. Pat’s first foray into the television comedy world was never going to have her playing a quietly supportive mom or the wacky worker in an office. Everything that went into making Patricia Williams the person she is today is what unapologetically has gone into making “The Ms. Pat Show” that is now available on the streaming service of BET+.
“I’m a convicted felon. So you get to see a side of a mama Hollywood really don’t want you to see other than on ‘Cops.’ So I’m representing Black girl magic, all kind of magic, baby,” Ms. Pat says.
“The Ms. Pat Show” is a fictionalized version of her life as she attempts to deal with her life as a convicted felon turned suburban mom while balancing her job as a traveling comedian. The cast for the 10-episode season also includes J. Bernard Calloway (“City On A Hill”), Tami Roman (“The Family Business”), Theodore Barnes (“The Prince of Peoria”), Briyana Guadalupe, Vince Swann (“50 Central”) and Brittany Inge (“Boomerang”).
The life Ms. Pat has lived makes for great fodder for a television comedy but it wasn’t a great help when trying to get the show off the ground. The key was to make the honest program that Ms. Pat would only make.
Help in getting the project off the ground came from a very powerful source. Oscar-nominated Lee Daniels signed on to be an executive producer.
Daniels says, “This has been a long, long journey for all of us – for Pat and I in particular. Years before we were trying to find the right writer, find the right visionary for it, trying to fight studios and networks that wanted to do it but were afraid to do it because it was too Black. It was too real.
“And so, yes, I think that we’ve never seen a voice like this on television. I think it’s some groundbreaking work from both Jordan and this incredible new talent, Pat. So that was the reason why I got behind it. I felt that it was worth the fight, years of fighting to make sure this was on the air.”
Daniels wanted to mold the show into one that would speak for every underrepresented Black woman struggling with questions about cancel culture, gay culture, religion and mental health. He knows Ms. Pat’s voice will be heard clearly by all Black women but he also is sure the topics have a broad enough appeal they will reach all women.
Ms. Pat’s philosophy is that we are all the same when we turn off the lights.
“We all have the same problems. We all go through some of the same things and, if we don’t, we know somebody who does,” Ms. Pat says.
Ms. Pat has already cultivated a multi-cultural following through her comedy club and media appearances. She credits the syndicated radio show “Bob & Tom” with giving her the first exposure to a white audience 15 years ago.
The process of basing the series on her own life means Ms. Pat has had to face situations from her past including the moment when her daughter said she was gay.
Ms. Pat says, “It was a teachable moment with me when my daughter came out gay. I was raised in the Black community to think one way about gay people. But then when it hits you in your face, you have to choose. Do I love my child or am I worried about my child’s sexuality? And I chose love overall.
“So when we decided to write an episode about it, I thought it would be a teachable moment for other people, or other parents who struggled like I did to accept the sexuality of their child being gay, which was really heartwarming. I know it was really touching for me because it made me grow even more as a gay parent because there’s so many parents out there that don’t accept it like I did, like I do on the show. So that’s one of the reasons why we wanted to do it.”
The other reason Ms. Pat was so determined to create the series is that she is certain people are hungry for comedy. She’s going to give the audience that but never in a sugar-coat manner. She’s smart enough to know that there is a line she can’t cross or she will be canceled but Ms. Pat will always speak her mind.
BET+ is operated by Tyler Perry Studios and the BET Networks. It launched in 2019 with original films and television series from the BET program library.