With unbridled enthusiasm, comedian Danielle Williams aims to delight audiences throughout the Phoenix area and across the U.S. A California transplant, she has performed at the Tempe Improv, Improv Mania, Funny Bones and more.
Her persona is that of a best friend, relating observations and humorous stories about her longtime love of wigs, dating, life transitions, working out, body issues and basic universal experiences.
Williams’ attempt at an open mic night in 2013 became the catalyst for her foray into the world of comedy.
She is a multi-faceted entertainer, who has a prolific professional television and radio career. She won a California radio contest in 2000. The prize provided her a fantasy many dreams about – the opportunity to attend the 2000 Grammy awards. This contest also helped launch her career in the entertainment industry – the radio station thought she did such an excellent job in telling the audience about her experience, they hired her for other spots.
Her innate knack for relating her experiences to radio audiences became the genesis for sending her career into overdrive. She soon became a lucrative “lifestyle and entertainment” reporter. Williams has been a co-host on local Power 92.3 radio, traffic anchor for iHeartMedia, entertainment field report for Arizona Entertainment Weekly and a TV host on Shop A to Z TV.
In the fall of 2018, Williams was at the top of her game, physically and mentally. She had just turned 50 and had graduated with an associate’s degree in journalism from Scottsdale Community College. To celebrate, Danielle went to Miami for a week-long vacation with friends. But when she returned, life threw a curveball.
Williams’ health started going downhill, despite her rigorous exercise and healthy eating regime. Her back hurt and she had lost considerable weight. The diagnosis was unimaginable: stage four lung cancer.
For a non-smoker, the news was confounding and traumatic.
“The cancer was microscopic in my lungs,” she explained. “To make it worse, it had spread to my spine, pelvis, and top of the right shoulder.” Williams endured 30 days of radiation, followed by weekly chemotherapy treatments every three weeks. Despite her diagnosis and treatments, Williams has an indomitable will to survive. “I told my doctor he’s going to have to find a cure,” she recalled. “I’m not going anywhere.”
If there is a silver lining in Williams’s story, it’s that she is a co-chair of the American Lung Association and was nominated to be this year’s advocate for Advocacy Day in D.C. “The purpose is to raise awareness for research, continued funding, and the creation of new avenues of opportunity for other non-smokers who developed lung cancer,” she explained. “It’s the number one killer of cancers,” said Williams, “and the least funded.”
Part of what keeps Williams emotionally secure and motivated is her positive attitude and emotional courage. “I run five miles every Saturday, go to the gym one or two nights a week, and hike Camelback Mountain,” she said. “I push myself and live life like I don’t have this disease. Your body is a muscle; it’s mind over matter.”
Williams continues to perform at venues throughout the Valley. “Comedy has been a great way to see my cancer through a different lens,” she said. “Laughter is the best medicine, and comedy has helped me laugh through some of the dark days.”
Williams is also very active on social media, with her story featured on Channels 12 and 15, as well as the nationally syndicated TV show, Right this Minute. To support and educate other cancer patients, she shares her treatments on Facebook Live, including her transfusions. “This is how transformation and change happens,” she said. “It keeps people aware and keeps the conversation going. It inspires people.”
For more: daniellewilliamscomedy.com.