Tonya Murray

When Tonya Murray was a Junior in High School she took a speech class.  When she got to that class on the first day, she was horrified to see only a few Juniors in the class and the rest were Seniors.  Not just any Seniors...it was the "cool" ones.  She left school that day ready to drop the class...there was no way she could stand up in front of that group and give a speech!  Somehow she was talked into staying and it ended up being one of her favorite classes.  That teacher gave Tonya a lot of, much needed, encouragement and the seed was planted!  In 1995 Tonya graduated from Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts in Southfield, Mi and she completed the writing program at The Second City Detroit in 2002.  She was able to put her writing skills to use writing commercials as an Account Executive for various radio stations over the years, including Greater Media Detroit and Clear Channel Communications.  Her time at these stations also allowed her the opportunity to voice numerous commercials.  Tonya spent a year as an on-air personality at WKKG in Indianapolis and also voiced commercials, during this time, at WIBC.  In 2010 she became involved with the Detroit 48 Hour Film Competition, as one of the writers on California Dreamin'.  This film won "Best In Genre" for Adventure Serial.  She has written for four of these film competitions, including the DWIFF, and most recently was the lead writer on "Blameless" (http://vimeo.com/46406869) which won "Best in Genre" for Cop/Detective at the 2012 Detroit 48 Hour Film Competition.  Tonya became a fan of Joan Rivers at a young age...even sporting her bumper sticker "Can we talk?" on her bedroom door.  She endured years of being yelled at...by her parents for telling all of their personal business to relatives and in school for talking during class.  Finally Tonya started realizing the path she was on...she could tell all of her personal business...to strangers...and not get in trouble!!  After a trip to Chicago in October of 2011 with 6 other girls, to celebrate a friend's 40th birthday, this cinched it...she had to try stand-up comedy!  So  2012 was the start of a new journey for Tonya with stand-up comedy.  After completing the comedy class at Mark Ridley's Comedy Castle in Royal Oak, MI in February 2012, Tonya was hooked and has been hitting open mic nights all over town.  Below is the video of her stand-up debut.  Tonya will forever be indebted to the teachers that have taught her so much and inspired her to grow as a writer and performer along her journey...Steve Gruenwald, Rich Goteri & Bill Bushart.  And she definitely wouldn't be here without the support of her friends, who have been her trial audience for years!  They've actually encouraged her to use her sick & twisted mind to make people laugh and it is through this laughter that they have overcome many tough times in their lives.  Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you and help you to become the best version of yourself...there's truly no greater gift you can give yourself.

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