In 1988, Paul J. was working for a singing telegram company in Dallas. During his tenure there, Dana Carvey introduced his character, “Church Lady”, on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE. The owners of the company asked Paul if he could imitate that character so that “she” could be sent out as an option for singing telegrams. Paul was very successful at perfecting Dana’s character for about two years. A chance meeting with Dana Carvey made Paul realize that Dana held a copyright on “Church Lady” and Paul didn’t want to do anything to profit off of someone else’s creation. In 1990, Paul’s version of this character began a metamorphosis which eventually became his own character, Sister Helen Holy. Clearly INSPIRED by Dana Carvey, Sister Helen is pure Paul J. Williams. Taking on the sensibility of Paul J’s Southern Baptist upbringing, Sister Helen also benefits from Paul J’s uncanny improvisational skills. Frequently misconstrued as a Catholic nun, due to the “Sister” title, Helen is quick to point out her Baptist faith as being the only true religion anyway.
For private parties, Sister Helen is often called upon to “roast” a guest of honor. Paul J. will gather information on the honoree, commit it to memory, then appear at the event to lovingly point out the honorees “sins and shortcomings” using actual facts from the person’s life.
Over the years, Paul J. has performed as Sister Helen at numerous events and parties, including such luminaries as Ross Perot (roasting his sister Bette), the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation (using Helen’s humor as a tool to express the importance of early detection), various civic and private fundraisers (as a comedic emcee) and as a regular presence on RSVP Vacations.
What Others are Saying
I didn’t get a chance to tell you after you left the “stage” as Sister Helen Holy how very much I enjoyed every minute of your performance at our Club’s Christmas party last night.
Knowing the material we provided you in advance for Helen’s “Roast” of our guests, I was amazed at how you zeroed in on minor facts about each one and put these details of their lives completely in character for Helen’s interaction with each guest. Your gentle barbs, sideways put-down, and clever comebacks never failed to draw gasping belly laughs from all, while Helen maintained her cool, Bible-based self-respect. Your “targets” seemed to have been especially honored to have earned your attention. What a skill!
It was clear to me from your performance, that you know exactly who Helen is, her life story, her hopes and dreams, her black and white views of the world and especially how she has learned to simultaneously quietly put down and lift up those with whom she disagrees, even though she doesn’t seem to notice she’s doing it. Also, your in-depth knowledge of Helen extended equally to your costume, hair and make-up. In short, a complete transformation that was entirely accurate and wholly believable.BRAVO!