how i get it done

How Ms. Pat Gets It Done

Photo-Illustration: The Cut; Photo: Mindy Tucker

Patricia Williams, better known as Ms. Pat, is a stand-up comedian, radio host, podcast host, and star and producer of The Ms. Pat Show, her Emmy-nominated sitcom on BET Plus, the third season of which was released just last week. In her personal life, she is a mother of six, a wife, and a contractor on a house she’s building and planning on moving into.

Even before her days as a comic, she’s always hustled. “Girl, I was a drug dealer. I’ve always had money. I ain’t never been no broke bitch.” Since coming into fame and a bit more fortune, Ms. Pat continues to utilize that mentality to get through her busy day to day. She recently talked to the Cut about how she deals with stress, self-doubt, her bustling schedule, and more. The only thing she doesn’t have much to say about? Fitness. “I do exercise — I walk my big ass through that airport. And I done got so lazy I discovered VIP. I ain’t been inside the airport in over two years now ’cause I go up the tarmac and go through the door and sit down.” She lives in Atlanta with her husband and four of six kids (the other two are grown). This is how she gets it all done. 

On her morning routine:
When I just need that moment to myself, I will leave the house at 3 a.m. so I can go to the gas station. I like gas-station coffee. I don’t know why. I’m so unboujee. I love QuikTrip Coffee or Dunkin’. I take a deep breath and I just sit in my car to calm myself.

But I usually get up at 5 a.m. and get the kids’ clothes together before I go off to work. I do radio at V103 in Atlanta, the morning show with Big Tigger. And so I have to get four elementary- and middle-school kids together and make sure they got their clothes right ’cause they don’t care if they got on two left shoes. Then I go to the radio, and I have to call my husband. “Did they take a bath? Did they brush their teeth? Did they clean their ears? Make sure they have da, da, da …”

On managing stress: 
I don’t get stressed. Well, let me stop lying. I manage stress by pulling up in the Chick-fil-A and ordering me something to eat. They’re never gonna sponsor me ’cause I curse and I’m not a Christian, but it is my favorite restaurant.

When they released the second season of The Ms. Pat Show, I was like, I gotta lay down, my head is about to burst. But, you know, I try to plan everything out. I hate being surprised. I need to know a day or two in advance what I’m going to do because I try to stay organized and I don’t like anything just popping up on me.

I went to counseling two years ago, so they really taught me how to kind of deal with … like, don’t just blow up. Take a deep breath and say, Hey, everybody’s human. Nobody’s perfect. Stuff’s going to happen. So that’s pretty much what I do.

On a typical workday:
Before the show, it was just me doing stand-up on the road. Then I became responsible for hiring dang near 200 people. I thought they’d give me the show and I’d just do my part. No, you gotta hire every department. You have to interview all of these people. You gotta interview every lead, and you make sure you like and trust the people that they’re hiring. That became a little headache. I’m like, Do it really matter who’s in the costume department? Can’t they just go and buy clothes? But no, it really matters.

On The Ms. Pat Show’s Emmy nomination: 
We jumped around, me and the co-creator. We screamed and we hollered because the show is on BET Plus, and BET itself had never been nominated for an Emmy. It’s a station for Black TV, but a lot of time they overlook it. I don’t know why they think when something is on BET or BET Plus, it ain’t good enough for the prestigious big awards, and we proved that wrong. All of us got together and we really pushed. We thought this show could get nominated, and it did. I ain’t gonna lie, it shocked the shit outta me ’cause I was like, I know we out here pushing, but they’re not gonna pay any attention to us, and they did. We were nominated for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series, but that was just a start. The show is really good. Just because we’re on BET Plus and we’re not on ABC or CBS, it doesn’t mean that it’s not a great show.

The fans love the show. That’s why they continue to come back every season and watch it. If nobody was watching it, we wouldn’t keep getting renewed. The third season is out now. I was blown away.

On experiencing self-doubt:
Everybody do. If I told you I didn’t, I’d be telling a damn lie. You know everybody wonders if we good enough or Did we do that right? Or How was that? You know, I have this big thing where I don’t listen to interviews because I sometimes think I didn’t do a good job. I’m very country. I can hear the words that I messed up. I had to get comfortable within myself. But yeah, we all have self-doubt, you know? That’s life.

On dealing with critics:
I curse. People are harder on women when they’re cussing in comedy, but nobody’s hard when men cuss. And they would say ugly, ugly shit to me. And I’m a fighter so I’d be like, “Fuck you,” “your mama.” Then I realized, Why am I spending my energy on somebody who probably ain’t got shit going on in they life? So I don’t care. Every now and then, I might clap back if you steady clapping at me, but I’m like, You can’t even do what I do. That’s why you talking about what I do. ’Cause if you could do what I do, you would shut the fuck up and do it. That’s how I look at life. Why you gonna argue with somebody who can’t even be on your level? So I don’t care.

Now, if it’s coming from my husband or management or something, then I’ll listen. If it’s someone in my life, I listen. If the criticism is for the best, then I take it. I want people to tell me what I’m doing wrong, too, ’cause I don’t wanna walk around and act like I’m Jesus walking on water. Nobody’s perfect. We can all get better.

On the people who help her get it done:
I don’t have a nanny right now, but the kids have a tutor. I don’t have a housekeeper. I need one, but my husband is retired, so we two and the kids clean the house together. I’m washing clothes as we speak and getting ready to go over to Sam’s Club and pick up a lot of stuff. I do have an assistant, and that’s about it.

This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.

How Ms. Pat Gets It Done