Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Recap of Q+A hangout with comedians who stutter
Last week, Stutter Social broadcasted a Q+A hangout On Air with two comedians who stutter: Nina G and Jody Fuller. Nina is a stand-up comic living in San Francisco, California, and Jody is a professional speaker and captain in the U.S. Army living in Opelika, Alabama.
The two comedians took questions from the audience in the hangout and viewers watching on YouTube. Questions centered around how they achieved their dreams of telling jokes on stage in spite of their stuttering.
Doing stand-up comedy was one of Nina's un-realized childhood dreams...so she decided to give it a try. "I really felt that everything I wanted to do as a kid I was doing. With the exception of this," Nina explained, "I just needed to do it because this is a lifelong thing that I wanted to do".
Jody chose not to turn down the opportunity to get on stage when it came up. "You can look at my old yearbooks from high school and people were like 'Hey one of these days we will see you on HBO'. But being from a small town in Alabama, I had no idea even how to pursue anything like that. When my friend told me about her friend who did an open mic, I [asked muself] 'why the heck not?'.
On the topic of dealing with stuttering ruining a punch line, Nina shared, "It's always an issue. I kind of feel that punch lines are like saying our names. There's no way of getting around them so we will stutter on them more. And that's where practising a lot lets me get to know the material very well so the pressure isn't there to get it out just right."
Jody works any unexpected stuttering into the joke he is saying. "I play it in. I'll be like, 'I wrote this joke and you would have thought I would have seen it coming' or something like that. So I just work it in and I usually give it another try and it comes out okay."
Participating in the hangout audience was Jason Walther, who was inspired to fulfill his dream of doing stand up after he saw our hangout guests performing at a comedy night that Nina organized during the National Stuttering Association conference last year in Fort Worth, Texas.
"It was wonderful to have two role models and to see you can do comedy while stuttering.", said Jason. "I remember a few days later, I was talking to Nina and she got on her laptop and said 'You're going to pick an open mic' and she made me sign up for it. So a few weeks later, I went to the open mic and it was terrifying. But I am loving it."
Jason asked Jody what made him go back on stage and try again after failing at an open mic early on. "At the risk of sounding like the TV movie of the week," explained Jody, "I'm an 'adapt and overcome' kind of guy. I'm not going to let one struggle or pitfall turn me off on anything. Chalk it up as a lesson learned."
"As long as you are funny," shared Nina, "that is the big thing".
The Q+A hangout is available for viewing on YouTube and is embedded above.