Christen Duhé

Community by Day, Comedy by Night

While most of us have hobbies outside our day jobs, few venture into activities that would terrify the average person. I’m not talking about BASE jumping or sky surfing; it’s something much scarier.

  Christen Duhé is president and executive director of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation by day, and by night, she fearlessly seeks to make people laugh as a stand-up comedian.

  About two years ago Duhé and her husband, David, visited the Comedy House New Orleans. After the show, Chris Trew, the club’s comedy coach, announced that if anyone was interested in doing stand-up, now was the time to make it happen.

  This got the wheels in Duhé’s head turning, knowing she needed a creative outlet. “I initially thought, ‘I could never do that.’ I was scared people wouldn’t think I was funny,” she said. “But COVID really made an impact, making me feel like there may not be a tomorrow, so I need to do it today.”

  Two months later, she met with Trew to discuss her future in comedy. Afterward, she started improv classes and practicing at open mic nights.

  To create her routines, Duhé says she, “welcomes the weird,” keeping copious amounts of notes on the strange things that happen to her. She sifts the notes for nuggets of comedy gold, developing a draft bit. She then seeks feedback from a group of comedic peers. After reworking, she practices at an open mic night before fine-tuning and performing it on stage during a real show.

  “I find joy in looking at weird things that happened to me,” she said. “I’m the type of person who welcomes chaos. When most people are in situations where they’re wanting to get out, I’m like, ‘I’m going to ride this out and see where it goes!’”

  She typically performs at the Comedy House but has done other shows, including the United Way CEO Talent Show where she did a bit about raisins, or more specifically, her hatred of raisins.

  At the Community Foundation, one of Duhé’s primary roles is to connect entities looking to give money to people and organizations who need money. “We help people help people,” she said proudly.

  Only a year into her day job and having to prioritize it over her side gig, she wasn’t able to put as much time into her comedy as she would have liked in 2023. And while she has no shows booked yet, she plans to make comedy more of a focus in 2024.

  At this point, comedy is a creative, fun, and “kind of therapeutic” outlet. But she jokes when friends ask when her next show is, responding, “I’ll let you know when the Netflix special is coming out!”

  Her advice for people is, “If there’s something you’ve always wanted to do, whether it’s stand-up comedy, writing a book, or going back to school, do it!”

  She referenced a quote that goes something like this, “Who cares what other people think? You’re the one who has to live with yourself and the regret of not following your dreams.”

  “In the end, I’m the one on stage with the microphone, and I may be hilarious or I may completely bomb. At least I got on stage.”

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