These days Dr. Diedrus Brown, who retired in 2014 as principal of Walter Gresham Elementary School on Chicago’s South Side, is laughing a lot as a stand up comedian who goes by the stage name Dr. PuPsi.
The former Chicago Public Schools educator has a Ph.D in Educational Administration from the University of Iowa; a master’s in Counseling Psychology from the University of Wisconsin and a bachelor’s in Education and Political Science from Eastern Illinois University.
“For 35 years I have been known as Dr. Brown but now I am Dr. PuPsi [pronounced Poo Sye],” said Brown. “My main objective for doing comedy is to use it as therapy to help other people, who may be going through something and need a good laugh to relax themselves.”
She added that as an older comedian she wanted to make a name for herself immediately and not spend the next 10 years doing so.
“From the very beginning when I was thinking about a stage name I wanted something catchy but not vulgar and that’s when I came up with the name Dr. PuPsi, which is French and Greek” said Brown. “What I did was reinvent the name for vagina.”
While Brown, who said she is over 60 years-old and lives in south suburban Olympia Fields, is known as ‘grand diva’ to her 8 and 11 year-old grandchildren, her former parents know her as a feisty educator who worked 15 years for CPS including 10 years as principal of Gresham Elementary.
“I love children and helping them reach their full potential. That’s the one thing I miss as a principal,” recalled Brown.
Comedy has now become the next chapter in her life as she works to make it her new career.
“I enrolled in an eight-week, improv class at The Second City on the North Side to help me develop my comedy. The class ends Feb. 28 and I have already registered for another class,” said Brown. “The three-hour class meets every Thursday and I have found it to be very helpful. Being a comic is like being an actress. It’s a role I play and one that I do well.”
The mother of two adult children said ever since she was young she was telling jokes and as an adult has excelled as a public speaker.
“My goal is to be a headliner one day. I do adult comedy so there’s cursing involved in my show and I talk about body parts,” explained Brown. “I talk about sex, relationships and other adult subjects. Not everyone is going to come see my show even though they support me. I know adult comedy is not for everybody and I understand that.”
Her debut show was last November at the 300-seat Raday Lodge in south suburban Midlothian, and according to Brown, “it was standing room only.”
And her next show is 8 p.m. March 3 at the Raday Lodge, 3220 W. 145th St. Advance tickets, which can be purchased by calling 708-655-4321, are $10 each or two for $15. Tickets will also be sold at the door for $12.
When she is not doing comedy Brown said she likes to work out at the gym and volunteer at her church in south suburban Harvey.
“I grew up in the church and previously was the superintendent of Sunday School at my church. And while I am Christian I know how to separate what I do as a comedian from the church,” said Brown. “That’s why at this time I do not hold any leadership roles at my church.”
She added that those who know her best would describe her as a “dynamic, loving and caring individual, who is really concerned about the welfare of people.”