Wash Park is home to one of Denver’s funniest women, meet Debbie Scheer.
To me, you’re a local celeb. But to our readers who may not know you, can you give us a glimpse into your life and career?
I am a licensed benefit auctioneer, a humorist, a professional speaker and my most important role, mom to two amazing boys. Perhaps people are raising an eyebrow at the auctioneer part, or perhaps at all of them, because what over-49-year-old single mom chooses those professions? I like to say, they chose me and thankfully I listened when they whispered, “you NEED to do this.” I had been performing stand-up comedy, producing comedy shows and emceeing for about four years and while I loved comedy and emceeing I felt like there had to be something out there that would allow me to blend humor and emceeing together while making a living at supporting the causes and organizations I care about. I decided to go to auctioneering school to blend my love of helping nonprofits with my love of humor into one impactful career. So, in 2016 I attended auctioneering school (Yes there is a school for that) and graduated from the World Wide College of auctioneering and am now a licensed benefit auctioneer which means I partner with nonprofits, schools, and other organizations to help them raise as much money as they can during their fundraising events. I still perform comedy and produce shows and am always looking for reasons to join forces with other comedians and educators to create new shows. I speak on a topic such as, transracial adoption, mental health, GLBTQ issues, single parenting, life after massive shifts (divorce, death, loss of job), grief and more. When I am not working, I am usually spending time with my boys, ages 10 and 7. They keep my feet on the ground and let’s be honest, our life together is the basis for so much of my humor-based storytelling and comedy. People ask me if I am afraid of being heckled during a comedy set and I tell them that I live with two hecklers! I have yet to meet one that is more shocking and more annoying than my kids.
How did you get into comedy? Were you always fearless of entertaining a crowd?
My venture into stand-up comedy started with a universal shake up delivered by way of my ex telling me she wanted a divorce. To say I was shell shocked by the news is an understatement and so I did what most people who receive paralyzing news do, I curled up in the fetal position, sobbed and rocked back and forth for a very long time. Then, after my soul sisters kindly told me to pull my shit together, I decided, hmmmmm, maybe when someone is going through something very scary, perhaps it would be a good idea to try something even scarier to take their mind off the FIRST scary thing they are going through (I DO NOT suggest doing this, it’s crappy advice). So, with that, I decided to do the one thing that I had always wanted to do but was too afraid to try: Stand-up comedy. I tried it, I survived, which still surprises me and in that moment, I was forever hooked on bringing storytelling, education and laughter to audiences. From stand-up, I started to think about combining my love of laughter and my deep commitment to the fact that every human deserves not only honest information but a safe space to share that information, and so I produced two comedy/education shows. SexCom The Show, which I co-hosted with the brilliant Dr. Shanna Katz-Kattari. This show ran for two years, when it ended I started to think about other unmet needs in my community. I thought about the women I was meeting who were sharing with me their struggles and frustrations around partnership, parenting, sex and sexuality and the overall messages society gives women, especially as we age. I thought perhaps we need a space for women to come together to explore, laugh and learn about these things. Around that time, I shared this idea with a friend over lunch and BAM the concept of Broadsided Comedy: An Estrogen Fueled Comedy Show was born. Taryn Atlas (my wickedly funny comedy ‘wife’) and I brought the show to the stage in Feb. of 2016. We use stand-up, sketch and improv as we explore issues such as hormones and aging, sexuality, body image, relationships and we always have a guest expert on to ensure that two comedians are not responsible for answering all the fabulous questions we receive from the audience.
As a mother of two young boys, can you give us your take on parenthood? We are always looking for free advice.
Ahhhh parenting, the most rewarding and most challenging job a person will have ever have. The funniest thing about parenting is while it’s the most important job in the company, there is no real interview process. It’s as if you go to interview and they just give you the job, without asking you any questions whatsoever about your qualifications! No interview needed (except if you are an adoptive parent and I’ll save that story for another time). So, you show up on your first day, look around and go, what the Hell do I do now and more importantly where is the HR department? My boys are adopted and I remember thinking, so you are just letting us leave with this baby? Are you sure this is a good idea? Can you remind me just one more time, HOW DO WE PARENT THIS BABY?
There are days when I think, WOW after ten years I still have no idea what I’m doing. The next day I think, oh, heck yes, I’ve got this (that usually lasts about 18 seconds) and then I’m back to thinking, WHO ARE YOU? SERIOUSLY, I have no idea how I am supposed to parent you in a way that ensures you become a loving, compassionate and productive member of society. Parenthood has shown me the most living breathing definition of what it means to experience vulnerable, unconditional, intense mama bear love for another human(s) and I am so grateful the universe decided, yes, they are a MATCH, and we became a family. I believe we parent the children we are meant to parent as they teach us never ending lessons and we offer the same to them. So, during the dark hours when I feel shame, guilt, frustration, ineptitude and so much more, I remind myself that yes, this IS exactly as it is meant to be and the love and the lessons come in oddly wrapped little packages.
As for people who ask me if they should become parents, I give them this advice. YES, for sure if that is what you desire, but first live by yourself or with a partner for 14 years, adopt dogs and cats and other animals that will vomit and poop on the floor at 3:00am and then fight with each other as you are trying to clean up the disaster. Then just as you are leaving on a big vacation accidentally trip and break your foot, forcing you to cancel said vacation because you need emergency surgery and fork out about nine grand to pay your portion of the bill, thereby wiping out your savings. Then when you feel like you are regaining your footing, adopt six more animals, and buy a house, preferably a fixer-upper and become a landlord, AND THEN after 6 more years, have children because then, just maybe, you might be slightly more prepared to parent humans.
You are clearly passionate about what you do. What are your passions when you are not working and parenting?
My passions outside of work tend to mirror the things I’m involved with at work. I am at my happiest when I can bring laughter to a stage and use humor as a tool to break down barriers and encourage people to be more comfortable talking about things that tend to create discomfort. I believe our society does better when people are committed to connecting with others. When I’m not working, or parenting I am either sleeping (for real) OR outside enjoying nature. Being in the mountains keeps me grounded and quite frankly able to continue doing what I love to do.
How long have you lived in Wash Park?
I was born in NYC and then moved to Arizona where I lived for 17 long HOT years wondering why the heck do people live in such extreme heat? In 1997 I moved to Denver, CO and can’t imagine living anywhere else. I have lived in the Wash Park neighborhood for almost 10 years and am so in love with this community and my neighbors who have become family.
Where can our readers find you on the stage?
You can find me all over the place and even some places where I shouldn’t be. I auctioneer all over Colorado.
I have some upcoming private comedy/education shows and SexCom The show will be making a one show return on Saturday June 16th at 7pm. I will be at Denver PrideFest emceeing a show on Sat., June 16th during the afternoon. I love to collaborate with people who believe in the power of connection, comedy and community, so if you have an idea that involves education, laughter, social impact please reach out and let’s chat. www.debbiescheer.com firstname.lastname@example.org