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Karen  Mills

Karen Mills

Comedian & Cancer Survivor

Karen Mills

Comedian & Cancer Survivor


Karen Mills has been a nationally touring comedian for over twenty-five years. She can be heard daily on SiriusXM comedy channels and clips from her comedy special "Pink Pants" have gotten over 21 million views. Karen appeared on Season 12 of America’s Got Talent and has had numerous appearances on The Grand Ole Opry. She is currently touring theaters across the country with Leanne Morgan. Karen and Leanne have worked together since 2004 when they first met doing the Southern Fried Chicks comedy tour.

Karen has spent a lifetime entertaining. First as a point guard, “Little Mills” was always a crowd favorite. She started playing basketball in the 3rd grade and eventually earned a full scholarship to the University of Tennessee @ Chattanooga. In 1981, Karen led the nation in assists and became the first Division 1, first-team All American in UT-Chattanooga’s history, male or female. Her #12 uniform was retired and in 1981 she became the first women inducted into Chattanooga’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

Karen has a straight-forward approach to the realities of life. Her smart, funny, keen observations will keep you laughing at yourself as you relate to her experiences. Even Ovarian cancer couldn’t stop her from turning her pain into punchlines. Diagnosed in 2013 after a routine checkup, Karen was determined to take on the disease with hope and humor and in 2016 she was chosen to present her talk, "Cancer is a Laughing Matter" at TEDxChattanooga.

Speaker Videos

That’s Why I’m a Comedian

Humor for the Tumor

The Tell-Tale Signs Of Aging

TEDx Clip: Cancer Is a Laughing Matter

Menopause & Flying Monkeys

Speech Topics

Humor for the Tumor 

In May 2013 Karen’s annual trip to the gynecologist for her “routine” check-up turned out to be anything other than routine. What started as an ordinary turned into the fight of her life. Suddenly faced with Ovarian cancer, Karen did what she always does, looked for the humor. Karen will take you on a hilarious journey through her diagnosis, surgery, and chemotherapy and give you cancer tips that she wishes someone had given her, like never order a wig on the internet! Laugh and be inspired as Karen reminds you that your spirit shines through your smile, not your hair.

Preparation Meets Opportunity…The Shot that Knocked Mama’s Wig Off 

In 1976 during the Tennessee girls’ high school state basketball championship, Karen hit a shot with one second left on the clock to win the game. She had prepared her entire life for that moment. What she hadn’t prepared for was the eruption of the fans when the ball went through the basket — “Everyone was jumping, hugging and shaking my mother and her wig flew right off her head.” Karen received a full basketball scholarship to The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga where she earned All-American honors and became the first female inducted into the school’s basketball Hall of Fame.

Turn the Radio Down So I Can See & Other Mid-Life Observations

Aging is hard! And yes of course everyone prefers getting older to the alternative, but it’s still hard! And yes with aging comes wisdom and clarity but I still don’t want to spend an hour looking for my glasses and then find them on top of my head! And yes, we do develop the ability to say no and we rid ourselves of toxic people but I still don’t want to sneeze and wet my pants. It’s hard! And if “it” is all about inner beauty then why is anti-aging a 50 BILLION dollar industry. Karen will tell you why, because it’s HARD!! Nobody wants to look old especially when you don’t feel old. If you're like Karen, Aging is like the movie Titanic - in your mind you’re young Rose but when you look in the mirror you’re old Rose. BUT, the one anti-aging technique that will give you that youthful glow is laughter, whether you are one or one hundred, laughter is contagious and is something that everyone wears well. So put on your sunscreen and Laugh on!!