If you don’t have plans for Friday night, you could catch national comedian Derrick Tennant as he brings his blend of humor, magic and inspiration to Lowell.
From Tragedy to Laughter
Tennant wasn’t always a comedian. “I was a motivational speaker before I got into comedy,” he says. And the story of how he became a motivational speaker starts with tragedy.
The Syracuse, New York native was a gifted athlete who suffered from an unexplained coma and paralysis in 1985. It was a baffling and devastating event, but not one that would defeat Tennant. Instead, he spent years in rehabilitation relearning how to walk, talk and complete other basic tasks.
While he would eventually play sports again, Tennant found his passion in sharing his experience of overcoming obstacles and helping others to do the same. Using humor to convey his message, he was encouraged to try his hand at comedy.
“The first time I tried it, I was at a comedy club in Atlanta, and it went really well,” he remembers. Now, Tennant travels the globe with a show that is part comedy, part inspiration and a whole lot of fun.
Simple Life Full of Love
Tennant lives a nomadic life with no permanent residence. His website – 14Sleeves – references the fact that he has only seven shirts, one for each day of the week. “I don’t have a house or apartment,” he says. “I go wherever I want.”
While that type of lifestyle might not appeal to everyone, Tennant says it fits perfectly with his personal slogan of “Live Simply. Love Completely.” Although single and without kids, he says there is no shortage of happiness in his life. “I have a life full of love,” he says.
Among other things, he says he’s blessed with a close-knit family. In particular, he has a special bond with his sister Julie who has an extra chromosome resulting in Down syndrome.
“She’s amazing,” Tennant says. “She’s funny, beautiful, talented. She’s my hero.” That extra chromosome was dubbed the ‘love chromosome’ by Tennant’s grandfather and has proven to be an accurate description given Julie’s never-ending supply of happiness and an ability to love everyone and anyone she encounters.
Community Invited to Family-Friendly Comedy Fundraiser
Christa Wetzel, executive director of the Alpha Family Center, is one those who saw Tennant’s performance and was inspired. “I heard Derrick last year, and I thought our community would love him,” she says.
She was considering a fundraiser for Alpha Family Center and decided Tennant might be perfect to headline the event. A check of his public social media account confirmed her suspicions. “I Facebook-stalked him for a bit and saw that he was a man with good character and could be trusted as the entertainer for our guests,” Wetzel says.
The Laugh 4 Life evening will be held Friday, May 18, at Impact Church, 1070 Hudson Street. Doors will open at 7pm, and the event begins at 7:30pm. Tennant is bringing his sister Julie, and there will be two 45 minute segments featuring the siblings. The comedy will be clean, and the content is sure to inspire.
“Our friends from Ability Weavers will be volunteering with us,” Wetzel says. Door prizes will be given away, and the audience will have a chance to learn more about Ability Weavers and Alpha Family Center while waiting for the show to start.
Who should attend this special night? “I hope it speaks to everyone,” Tennant says. “Life is better with laughter.”
Tickets for Laugh 4 Life can be purchased online in advance or at the door.