La Crosse comedian says laughter helped her through dark childho - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

La Crosse comedian says laughter helped her through dark childhood

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La Crescent, MN (WXOW) -

The name Lisa Olson may be familiar because Lisa is a member of the comedy improv group Heart of La Crosse but Lisa says an abusive childhood forced her to find a way to cope. She found that outlet in humor. Her motto today is "making choices instead of excuses" and through her new book she hopes to show people that playing the sympathy card gets you nowhere.


Lisa says despite years of abuse at the hands of her mother, she still wouldn't admit she had a problem.

"She never said functioning alcoholic but she did say 'I'm not an alcoholic because I don't need a drink first thing in the day', so that was her rationale," said Olson.

When Lisa's mom would drink her and her siblings would hide.

"We had the old wall phone and whatever her episode was she was beating me with the actual wall phone she had me trapped between her legs because of the screaming the neighbors called and I can't imagine the times that they didn't call but on that particular time they did.  The police came in and they took me to the psych ward because they believed her," said Olson.

Lisa said her home life was volatile.  

"I never had friends over. That's probably where my imagination comes from. I would pretend that Carol Burnett was my mom.  I  knew she grew up in an alcoholic home and I was like she understands and she's funny and I bet we can dress up and play.  I always thought that for sure," said Olson.

Part of Lisa's story focuses on the fact that people don't speak up. The 54 year old admits things were different when she was a kid but abuse
is still happening today.

"One of my sons had a buddy and I pulled him to the side and said if you ever need anything you don't have to be embarrassed to share it," said Olson.

Lisa is donating some of the proceeds to her book to the Family and Children's Center of La Crosse.  

"They go in the home and check if they have what they need.  Do you have nutrition? There was a family living in their car and after going through healthy family programs they are now buying a home. They are working," said Olson.

Getting a good laugh out of someone is something Lisa admits to enjoying since she was a kid but making sure no kid is being abused
is something she is passionate about in her adult life.

"I just want to help connect the world and people should just reach out if they think something is up in the most gentle way," said Olson.

Lisa's mom eventually quit drinking and was sober for 14 years before she died.  During that time the two patched things up and became very close.

Help Lisa support women and children in the community by attending her book launch and signing tomorrow at the Pump House in downtown La Crosse from 6 - 8 pm.
For more information go to her Facebook page.

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