Laughter is the Best Medicine

Nina G On Humor and Disability

Having a stutter and also
having a learning disability –’cause I also have
that–a lot of times people come up to me, and
they say, “You know, Nina, stuttering and
learning disabilities, those aren’t ‘real’
disabilities. And you shouldn’t
be in that show.” [laughter]
I know! So I quote them from the
Americans with Disabilities Act, and I tell them, “A
disability is a physical or mental impairments that
substantially results in having to deal with assholes.” [laughter, applause, cheers] That joke does so well
in this kind of audience. Thank you! That’s why I
love doing these shows. I think for me,
what I used to say– This was the first
year of doing comedy; you’re kind of developing
your voice and my tagline. And what I would
put on a t-shirt was, “If you stutter,
I’m an inspiration. If you don’t, I’m just
kind of an angry bitch.” [laughter] Because yeah. That is the conflict that
I think we oftentimes have. Yes, if you wanna
do the thing that I do, and that inspires you, just
like it would be if you saw any other comedian,
then that’s fine. But it’s when the
disability is objectified, when it is, “Oh, wow!
You said your own name. That is amazing! That is just, you’re a beacon
of light in this world because you ordered a Diet Coke.” [laughter] That’s what I have
a problem with. That’s where it’s
my one-person show is called “Beyond Inspirational”
because I want people to know: There is something
underneath what you see. I think that’s what we
don’t always get to. But I also think that
that’s what comedy gets to, is that yes, sometimes Mike
or me may come up on the stage, and we have more
apparent disabilities. People are like, “Wow,
you’re such an inspiration.” But after the first minute
or two, they’re like, “Fuck inspiration.
You have to be funny.” [laughter] And I think that is
where I think comedy’s a really great tool for that.

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