How literal is the title to your show, Blind Ambition?
My eyesight has always been just poor—I'm blind in my left eye and have very limited vision in my right. In 2009, I was backed into a corner: I could have two surgeries that might repair some of the damage in my right eye or I could go completely blind. Fortunately, the surgeries worked. When I got off the operating table, I looked down and saw my shoelaces. I'd never seen my shoelaces before without glasses or contact lenses. It was amazing—I felt like I'd won a war with the weakest thing about me. It made me expose and talk about my vulnerabilities. I started talking about these procedures onstage, and it was like a lightbulb went off. People really related to it.
You got your start in Seattle—tell me about it.
I was raised in Las Vegas with my mom and four sisters, but I always wanted a relationship with my old man. I'd never met him—just had a picture of him lying in bed with an Afro and huge sideburns. He was a pimp. So I traced him to Beacon Hill when I was 18 and ended up living in Seattle for seven years.