Maybe you recognize Debbie Scheer from PrideFest on the Center Stage, performing comedy, or maybe as the MC or auctioneer from a local fundraiser. Fierce, fabulous and 51, Scheer has always inspired me as a woman/mom/comedian and all the things that she is. Making a life for herself on stage while raising two boys is no small feat. When life throws you hatchets … well …(first you just get out of their way) then you plow through and make your own damn path. Nobody exudes this more than Scheer.
She slid into her chair at the coffee shop after dropping off her kids at school, and we generally talked about life and how what you plan isn’t always what happens. Who did she look up to as a kid?
“My mom is one of my heroes. She was the fiercest of mama bears and led by example that family comes first. My family and my extreme love of ALL things Costco comes from my mom. My mom died in 2016, and that loss has been overwhelmingly devastating for our family.” Scheer also admired her grandmother for starting over after losing a husband. Women doing what needs to be done is a running theme in her life.
Talking about midlife and how f*cking awesome it is, Scheer had this to say:
“I think when we say we give zero f*cks what we should really be saying is, I am being very selective with the f*cks I give. I think giving MORE f*cks is exactly what we need.. We NEED TO CARE. I have a beautiful confidence NOW in who I am and a comfort coming into this being with my age … I a care about what is important and meaningful, and I try to not allow the meaningless shit to grab my attention.”
How does one focus when the plan goes haywire? It’s all about riding the wave.
“I used to have a choke hold on my goals and I think with age, I have learned to soften the grip. I learned I needed to have more fluidity about how I get there, wherever the ‘there’ is. My ex-wife and I wanted to be parents. That was our goal. I tried several times to get pregnant, and that was unsuccessful, so we had to shift our thinking as it related to the journey of becoming parents. I had to broaden the vision of what that looks like.”
Her heartfelt and piercing answer came when I asked her what she wanted for her boys.
“For them to be productive and happy humans who are healthy and safe in this world. I am a white mom parenting two black boys, and it’s a scary time. My black boys are not safe; there, I said it. They are unsafe because of white people; there, I said it again. We, meaning we white, liberal people, need to do better. We need to show up and own our sh*t, own the harm we have caused and continue to cause, and change how we show up. This is a huge conversation and one that we don’t have time to do it justice. I don’t want to be terrified for their (children’s) safety.”
Scheer started out in comedy six years ago by throwing herself into it. However, a setback came when her wife, after being with Scheer for almost 11 years, announced that she wanted a divorce.
“I had left a great career working for a wonderful reproductive rights non profit and was a stay-at-home mom and was literally terrified. I decided I needed to do something scarier than what I was going through to take my mind off of the sh*t show I was living.” She had always loved Carol Burnett and all of the power house women from the early days of SNL so she decided to try stand-up. Scheer went to Blush & Blu and spoke to Penny From Heaven.
“I will always be grateful to Penny, because she was so warm and open and totally supportive of me trying stand-up. I was given a five-minute spot, which is an eternity when it’s your first time doing stand-up. I remember walking onto the stage and thinking, ‘OK, this is where I’m going to die. Right here on this stage.’ I survived, and that experience gave me the feeling of ‘I can survive anything now.”
Scheer later developed a show called Sexcom The Show with Dr. Shanna Katz M.Ed, ACS a board-certified sexologist and sexuality educator. MIxing comedy and education was what Scheer’s foundation truly is.
“My time as a sexuality educator and my love of comedy gave me the idea to create a show geared for adults that focused on using comedy as a way to talk about sexuality,” Katz explained.
Scheer believes that “…Humor can fill that space that’s disconnecting us. Laughter is what opens us and gives us room to engage with each other on a more compassionate level. And that engagement is what ultimately leads to positive change.”
She also co-produces and co-hosts another show with Taryn Atlas called Broadsided Interactive. This show is full of improv, sketch, and stand-up, and, yes, education, and has been running for four years.
From the comedy world Debbie Scheer got into the MC business.
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“I was very lucky. People would see me perform comedy, and they started to ask me if I could MC events or come use humor to talk about the things that they didn’t want to talk about. I started to talk about transracial adoption, sexuality, parenting, the GLBTQ community, and everything in between.”
In 2016, Scheer became a licensed auctioneer. It is in this mode that she is able to connect the people to the cause.
“I love being able to give back to the nonprofit community by helping them raise money so that they can continue to have a positive impact.”
Other organizations Scheer partners with are: Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center, Matthew Shepard Foundation, NARAL, The LGBTQ Center, Maria Droste Counseling Center, Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families, Safe House Denver, No Kid Hungry, and the Athena Project.
Any advice for aspiring performers?
“Well, as much advice as a 51-year-old liberal, jewish, queer, lesbian raising two young black males can give: Yes, please take that risk. The thing that you are unsure if you can do, but that you know in your heart that you need to try it … do that. Find your voice, and figure out the best way to share it with the world.”