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Stand-up Comedian Diana Barnhart, 3rd Act Graduate: “Living life fully – no regrets” by Patricia Cavanaugh

By January 25, 2017 May 11th, 2023 No Comments

Embracing Life’s Possibilities: Diana Barnhart’s Story

3rd Act Graduate

We want to follow up on last week’s post about Diana Barnhart, where we congratulated her on her stunning video, and share an interview we did with Diana recently.  This is the first of several interviews we plan to complete over the next few months with our 3rd Act graduates. We would love to hear about your accomplishments too! If you have a story to share with us,   please contact us!

3rd Act:  Hi Diana.  So how did this standup comedy routine come about?

DB: It came to me during the 3rd Act Retreat meditation. I saw myself as an 80-year-old woman with good hair, and she said, “You should have done comedy!”  And since I want to be a woman without regrets…I listened.


3rd Act:  So can you give us your steps? Because this was a three-year process…

DB:  Right after the workshop, I tried to find a comedy class but nothing seemed to be the right fit. We travel a lot and I just lost touch with it.  Then I thought,

“Wait a minute! It’s a year later,” and I was still looking.  Seems I could always find a reason not to do this. I said to myself, “Wait a minute just do it Sister.”


3rd Act:  So the idea went away but then it came back?

DB:  Well it went away but I was always thinking about it.  It kept me awake at night.  So, I made up my mind to get going.  I found an Improv class in Berkeley.  I joined a very young group already in progress – and I was the oldest one there.


3rd Act:  How was it to be the oldest person in your comedy class?

DB:  It was okay. I could use that as a part of my humor.  They asked me to introduce myself – with physicality – and I did so with cat hands.  I was afraid to be too physical but later, and without planning ahead, I got down on all fours. They must have liked me right away – because they all helped me get up.

I pushed myself.  I had to accept and face the fact at that moment – hey I may be older and overweight but I can still do this. That’s not a reason to stop (and I don’t think I’m going to lose the weight).  What’s that feeling? I think they call it “acceptance.”


3rd Act:  You are talking about facing the truth, facing reality and going forward anyway.

DB:  Yes, exactly.  I was encouraged by my instructor and he confirmed for me that I can tell a story.


3rd Act:  Were you surprised that he responded to you so positively?

DB:  Yes because I could see that he was surprised, but it confirmed to me that I have stage presence.  I had this skill because I did a lot of presentations in my business life. Then I worked with a friend who was a coach who helped me develop my material.


3rd Act: What was it like to invest in yourself?  Was that something you are used to doing?

DB:  Not so much.  But I negotiated a fee because I also invested in doing Pilates so I could actually do the ribbon dance.  That’s where I made the biggest investment in myself.  This is the first time I have done that and it was well worth it.


3rd Act:  Were there any challenges that stopped you?

DB:  No I just kept going except over the summer I had writers block – but my siblings encouraged me to keep going. They helped me remember stories about my mom,  and even though they happened to all of us, I made them my own. And the audience didn’t seem to mind – actually they laughed.

I had more help from my women’s group, my comedy instructor, who is a life coach, who helped me acknowledge my stage presence (who knew?), and I hired a life coach who really helped me organize my material and stick with it.


3rd Act:  Who were all those people in the club?

DB: When I got up on that stage, the room was packed with my friends and family. They really came out for me, and I stopped shaking and for the next 45 minutes – I was a stand-up comedian.


3rd Act:  What’s been the result of this for you?

DB:  I feel I have nothing to hide – that I revealed my true self. People now can see more of who I truly am. And I feel so accomplished!  I said I would do it…and I did, and I did not make a fool of myself.  And I know for sure – that this 80-year-old woman will have no regrets!


Are you ready to see what dreams you could make real for your 3rd Act? Join us in Italy next September, for our next transformational life-planning retreat!

All the details here!



The 3rd Act was founded and is led by Patricia Cavanaugh — a seasoned psychotherapist and licensed coach who has helped hundreds of retirees find their path and purpose in this phase of life.

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