Born: January 30, 1958
AKA: Brett Ashley Butler
BlueMeter: Tame

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1994 Comic Relief VI

This album is a compilation, featuring multiple comics.

Specials (and other video)

2009 Brett Butler Presents: The Southern Belles of Comedy
1994 Comic Relief VI

Benefit show that features multiple comics.

1994 Brett Butler: Sold Out
1993 Brett Butler: The Child Ain't Right
1993 Two Drink Minimum
1992 The A-List
1990 Caroline's Comedy Hour

Books (by and about)

1996 Knee Deep in Paradise


Born in Montgomery, Alabama, Brett Butler's as Southern as "Gone with the Wind." But she wasn't intentionally named after Clark Gable's famous screen character; it was her mother's second marriage, to a Mr. Butler. Her mother was more a Hemingway fan than Margaret Mitchell ? her daughter had been named "Brett Ashley" after a character in "The Son Also Rises."

It would be tempting to say that the Brett Butler comedy style is "frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." She's noted for having a strong edge and a droll penchant for saying whatever's on her mind. Early in her stand-up career she dispensed with "safe" jokes and spoke out on issues of feminism and racism.

One of her first influences was George Carlin. She performed some of his gags at the age of eight as part of a school pageant: "I did some old George Carlin stuff, like 'the hippy-dippy weatherman,' and some anecdotes about me and my four sisters that my mother had sent to Reader's Digest, which never published them."

After a literally bruising first marriage Brett escaped after three years to work as a waitress in a Texas honky tonk. On their "Open Mike Night," she began to perform comedy. On the urging of touring comic Robert Klein, she left the Southern circuit and moved up to New York City. She eventually found success, and a new husband, Ken Ziegler.

With her Southern accent and pleasant looks, no one expected her to come up with hip, sarcastic lines. "I'm just trying to flip the coin and see the darker side," she'd say. She chided ringsiders who expected a lady like her "to be home, bakin' biscuits."

Through the late 80's she became a star on the comedy club circuit, nominated in 1990 for an "American Comedy Award." She wrote for Dolly Parton's "Dolly" series, and after this first foray into television, and her own Showtime comedy special, "The Child Ain't Right," she eventually emerged with her own sitcom, "Grace Under Fire." She played a realistic single mom and behind the scenes was uncompromising in trying to get across both the humor and the seriousness of her character's situation.

The pressure of doing a sitcom led to plenty of backstage conflicts. Brett acknowledged as much. "It isn't brain surgery," she said as she continued the sitcom grind, "but somewhere there's probably a brain surgeon cutting into a medulla going, 'Thank God I'm not a writer on 'Grace Under Fire!'"

Brett became a superstar with the show, and suffered through the highs and lows that accompany such fame: top ratings, a best selling autobiography, tabloid headlines about being difficult to work with, and rumors of drug and alcohol abuse. The show had a successful run despite all the problems, and she has continued to maintain an active schedule of films, TV appearances and stand-up.