This post is from ‘The Comedy Greenroom’.
Comedy Spotlight: Tanyalee Davis
Tanyalee Davis uses the World as her personal stage. Most days you will find Tanyalee on her scooter with an oversized suitcase strapped on the back and heading to her next gig. This sexy lady looks more like a Gypsy then one of the World’s busiest touring headliners.
The lovely and talented Ms. Davis lust for life is contagious and this 3 foot 6 inch sparkplug says; “I am a woman with 3 different postal addresses in 3 different countries with no real home base for over 2 years now. I like being a gypsy.”
Tanyalee was born in Thompson, Manitoba. Her parents got divorced when she was 6 and 1/2 years old. Ms. Davis and her younger sister were latch key kids raised by a single working mother. Many hours were spent in front of the television and young Tanyalee dreamed of being an actress.
As a child, Ms. Davis was not exposed to any form of Stand-Up Comedy as bedtime were adhered to and The Tonight Show was past her bedtime. However, Tanyalee says that her father and grandfather had great sense’s of humour. Particularly memorable were the Henry The Chicken Stories told to Tanyalee and her sister by their airline pilot father. According to Tanyalee; “My mother is a great source of material and some of the stuff that has come out of her mouth lends itself to material some of which I talk about in my new one person show, Big trouble In Little Gina.”
Before her long and successful Stand-Up career Ms. Davis had success as a teenager being the narrator grade school productions and a stint in community theatre lead to being “Perry The Penguin” in a children’s theatre company.
So how did this comedy dynamo get into Stand-Up Comedy? While in university in Winnipeg Tanyalee had a boyfriend who dabbled in Stand-Up. [Ms. Davis has degrees in Sociology and Criminology.] She went to one of his open-mic shows where he bombed.
A few weeks later Tanyalee was on stage at the same open-mic and killed. The performing drug had kicked in. About 3 weeks later Tanyalee was at an open-mic in front of family and friends and she had her first experience at bombing. Never one to give up on anything, three months later Ms. Davis was in Calgary getting paid for Stand-Up.
Tanyalee Davis has let nothing stand in the way of her comedy career. She has a form of dwarfism called D.D. (diastrophic dysplasia). In November 1999, Tanyalee placed 2nd in the Seattle Comedy Competition. She was the first woman in 10 years to make it into the finals. In October 2012, Tanyalee placed 6th overall in the San Francisco Comedy festival. In April 2001, she headlined at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. She won the of the 2003 Norman G. Brooks Stand-Up Comedy Scholarship Competition held at the Hollywood Improv.
Ms. Davis has a huge fan base who treat her like family. This was never more evident then in 2012 while touring the she got a life-threatening blood clot. Complications ensued and her fan base stepped up to the plate raising money, opening their homes to Tanyalee and giving her daily moral support . With her mother as her nurse, an immobile Tanyalee nearly lost her mind, along with her uterus.
Tanyalee is a prominent member of the LPA[Little People of America] and one of her most ardent supporters is Matt Roloff of “Little People In A Big World”. Friends with the Roloff family long before the television show, Tanyalee did one episode of the show and states, “Matt can be a bossy as hell but that is a diastrophic dysplasia trait; he has a big heart and Amy is so sweet.”
According to Tanyalee’s mom Diana; “Nothing stopped Tanyalee, and if she wanted to do something she did it.” In fact Diana learned to rollers skate going to the rink with her daughter. And a teenager young Ms. Davis tried out for the girls basketball team, unfortunately she did not make the squad. Tanyalee end up coaching all the boys sports teams.
Mom explains that Tanyalee did everything the other kids on the block did, she was just smaller. According to Diana; “a walking talking Cupie Doll”. And besides roller skating young Tanyalee was a wiz in the pool.
Mom also reports that even as a toddler, “Tanyalee could charm anyone and if she saw a camera the little ham would pose and pose.” Diana is so proud of her daughters success and but admits it took a while to get use to the no holes barred stand-up act especially the crotch jokes.
Father Kent, a retired airline pilot, says that; “Tanyalee gets her Gypsy blood from his side of the family. At one time their were five pilots in the Davis family.” Kent goes on to say; “that his daughter is tough and determined. It is no surprise to him that Tanyalee is successful in comedy because she has always fought for everything. Tanyalee is successful at anything she set her mind to.”
Dad reports that young Tanya was smart and soon discovered that she could get baby sister Jill to be her servant. Mom concurs that as soon as Jill could walk and talk Tanyalee put her to work.
The Davis girls are two peas in a pod and tight as thieves. Tanyalee says that she wishes that they could spend more time together, but they are constantly texting and talking.
Ms. Davis is a little person and damn proud of who she is; has a unique perspective on life and believes that people want to hear it. Tanyalee entertains and educates her audiences with her straight forward approach to comedy and life. The audience may come to Tanyalee’s show with one perception of little people, but leaves in love with the little lady with the big laugh. “I may be small but I try to be as big on stage with my act outs. I describe my style as honest! I am very animated on stage. I’ve heard that people really enjoy watching me move.”
Single now after 13 years of marriage and reconnected with a former boyfriend, Ms. Davis is balancing life on the road with life in rural North Carolina. . “I get to travel around the world meeting amazing people, doing a job I love.” Tanyalee as always is honest about the changes in her life; “I am really not one for relaxing for more than a few days. I get stir crazy/cabin fever very quickly. I enjoy being on the move. Traveling and having ‘adventures’ is my way of relaxing.”
Boyfriend Kevin has known Tanyalee for 17 years and they recently rekindled the relationship. Kevin states, “Tanyalee is the most amazing person he has ever met. She has a positive attitude about life and “Tanyalee keeps everything positive in his life.”
Kevin knows that Tanyalee is a Gypsy, and she has taken him on adventures that a small town boy never dreamed of. She is a big part of his family, they all adore her, and Kevin says; “that the one person Ms. Davis loves most in his family is his 19 year old son Scotty, who she has know since he was an infant.”
As for Tanyalee’s comedy act, Kevin says;, “she is a comedy genius who will do anything for a laugh, and is fearless for talking about her struggles on stage and making them funny to average size people. According to Kevin Tanyalee is the biggest person he has ever known.”
One of the things Tanyalee is most proud of is her involvement with Bulling Stinkz..com “I’m a huge supporter of the Bullying Stinkz organization, because they’ve realized that bullying is a learned behavior, so they actually engage not only children but teachers and parents so that everybody’s on board because we need to stop this before it starts. Because even now as an adult I still get bullied by kids, yeah that’s right….kids! Bullies single out people who are different, like me and that’s why it has to be stopped.”
Having done extensive touring in Canada, the USA, and the United Kingdom, Ms. Davis is able to compare the differences. According to Tanyalee; “Not much difference between Canada and USA… however in the UK they don’t care so much if an act has been ‘on TV’. They don’t do introductions like…”you may have seen her on blah”. They think that is pretentious. They don’t care, they want you to be funny NOW! I like that way of thinking. The UK is also a lot more uptight about disability so it is a much harder road to tackle. I’ve had people turn their chairs away from the stage or keep their head in their hands during my set. Had some people say, ‘You should not talk about your condition’. For the most part though the audiences everywhere appreciate my honesty and originality.”
What is next for Ms. Tanyalee Davis can be described as just about anything and anywhere comedy takes this amazing lady. She is part of a hidden camera show in the UK called. “I’m Spazticus” where the 2nd season just finished airing, and Tanyalee played some really fun characters.
The plan is to take “Big Trouble In Little Gina” to the Melbourne Comedy festival and also across the fringe festivals in Canada. Ms. Davis will continue touring her stand-up act pretty much every other month in the UK indefinitely.
In November 2013, Tanyalee will be showcasing for the Just For Laughs Festival and in February 2014 takes her stand-up comedy act to Moncton NB Hubcap Comedy Festival.
Catch Tanyalee Davis at a comedy club near you, or on her scooter with an oversized suitcase strapped on the back and heading to her next gig. Say hello and take her picture, mom says she loves it!
For more information on Tanyalee Davis visit her at www.tanyaleedavis.com, on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tanyalee-Davis/191965367508136 and on Twitter @TanyaleeDavis. Mention you found out about Tanyalee onwww.thecomedygreenroom.com