Bay Area Stand-Up Comedy: A Humorous History

Cover of upcoming book
Back cover of book

Thrilled to share the cover and my introduction of our upcoming book Bay Area Stand-Up Comedy: A Humorous History! The book comes out February 14, 2022 and available on pre-order at (as well can be ordered from your local independent book store):

Introduction by Nina G…

My family introduced me to stand-up comedy when I was about four years old. It was the height of Steve Martin’s fame as a stand-up comedian. I’m almost positive there is a picture of me as a small child with an arrow through my head out there somewhere. My parents did not censor what I watched or enforce much of a bedtime. As a result, I would stay up watching classic Saturday Night Live episodes that led to me naming a favorite stuffed animal “Gilda” as well as a sock puppet in second grade that I named “Edith Ann” after Lily Tomlin’s character. Even though I learned that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny were a farce when I was seven years old, I didn’t learn that Father Guido Sarducci was not an ordained priest until I was at least ten.

   Cable TV helped feed my early love of comedy. There I was, exposed to stand-up as well as multiple runs of movies like The Jerk and Caddyshack. After school, I would take an afternoon nap just so I could stay up to watch The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and, more importantly, Late Night with David Letterman. In third grade, I was identified as having a learning disability. This was about the same time I started to stutter, and I despised almost every aspect of school (Catholic school in the 1980s!). Knowing this, my mom let me play hooky at least once a month for us to go to the movies. This is where I saw films like Richard Pryor Live at the Sunset Strip when I was nine.  

   Throughout my childhood, I found solace in stand-up. Part of that was finding a feeling of superiority over my peers for not knowing the comedians who appeared on Letterman the night before. As I approached middle school, they started to identify with musicians, hanging pictures of their favorite bands in their lockers or in their bedrooms. Comedians were my rock stars. While other thirteen-year-old girls were writing fan letters to music groups like New Edition, I wrote fan letters to comedians like Emo Philips, who responded back with an autographed picture that still hangs in my kitchen. 

   I am lucky to be a fifth-generation San Francisco Bay Area native. I was raised in Alameda and San Leandro and was exposed to the San Francisco comedy scene early on. As I approached adolescence, the stand-up comedy boom was exploding, and I was on the sidelines watching it. After church on Sundays, my family would sit for hours at Ole’s Waffle Shop in Alameda with my aunt and uncle. I was so bored! To occupy myself, I would study the San Francisco Datebook section of the San Francisco Chronicle, examining the comedians and clubs that I hoped to attend one day. As we lived half a mile away from Tommy T’s Comedy Club in San Leandro, my comedy fantasies had a focal point. I so wanted to attend shows and then go hang out with the comics afterward at the Lyon’s in the same strip mall. I couldn’t wait until I turned eighteen years old so I’d be able to go to Tommy T’s, followed by turning twenty-one and attending shows at the legendary Holy City Zoo. Sadly, the Zoo literally closed on my twentieth birthday. I saw names of comedians performing at the Zoo who I saw on Comedy Tonight and later heard on the radio on The Alex Bennett Show. Larry “Bubbles” Brown, Will Durst, Warren Thomas, Paula Poundstone, Steven Pearl, Dan St. Paul, Ellen DeGeneres, Tom Ammiano, Marga Gomez, Whoopi Goldberg, Bobby Slayton and Al Clethen were all names and faces in the milieu of San Francisco comedy in the 1980s and I dreamed of the time that I could see them in person. However, as I got older, my comedy nerd tendencies morphed and mutated into career ambitions. 

   There were two distinct windows of entry I had into the Bay Area comedy scene. The first was a joke contest I won when I was eleven years old on a KGO radio show hosted by a woman who also played Ms. Nancy on Romper Room. I told a joke that I stole from a recent appearance of Pee Wee Herman on Late Night with David Letterman. The special guest judging the jokes was Will Durst. The prize was free tickets to the Other Cafe to see him. Durst awarded me first place, and I was so excited to go to my first comedy club experience! That night, my parents, as they often did, ran late. When we got to the club, parking was scarce. We could see the opening act performing in the window on the corner of Carl and Cole. My parents said we were not going to go in because they didn’t want to be made fun of for coming in late. As we drove down Haight Street, I was in tears because I would not be able to see the show. I would not get to the Other Cafe until I was fifteen—after I confessed my crush to Barry Sobel during his appearance on the Alex Bennett Show that same week. Previously, I had seen Sobel on Rodney Dangerfield’s Young Comedians Special. Finally, I had someone I could focus my emerging hormones on. I happened to be sick that day from school and spent the day at my grandparents. Using their rotary phone, I eventually got through to the Alex Bennett Show. I admitted on air that I would write Sobel’s name on my notebooks and binders. I still have his autograph from that night—it reads, “Keep writing my name on your notebooks.”  

   My second entry came when I was around sixteen. As I entered my teen years, I started to write jokes and had a handwritten database of open mics that accepted minors. I would call venues and see if they allowed minors, which was immediately tracked in my notes. One night, I called Dorsey’s Locker in Oakland, which would eventually and famously become comedian Luenell’s Blue Candle Tuesdays. I asked if minors were allowed at their open mic, which I had seen listed in the San Francisco Guardian. The bartender yelled to the rest of the bar, cackling, “This bitch wants to be Eddie Murphy!” I hung up, scared! I was exposed. This bitch really did want to be Eddie Murphy!

   Eventually, my dream to become a comedian died when I was seventeen years old. Being a person who stutters, I thought being a stand-up comedian was not in the cards for me. I went on to college, writing papers about comedy every chance I got but besides going to an occasional show, my passions were only academic. In 2010, after a number of life-altering experiences, I returned to my dream and stepped on the stage for the first time. I had the choice of countless open mics across the Bay I could go to. I ventured to places like the Brainwash Cafe, where I was baptized into San Francisco comedy by Tony Sparks. I would find myself performing at the clubs I read about in the Datebook back at Ole’s. I also had the honor of performing alongside many of the comedians I grew up watching. Stepping onto the same comedic scene that produced Mort Sahl, Phyllis Diller and Robin Williams felt like sacred ground. 

   After eleven years in comedy, the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent quarantine of 2020 hit. Comedians were forced to retreat to Zoom shows if they wanted to perform. We also had a lot of free time on our hands. Where once we would be grinding it out at open mics and showcases, we had to find things to do with our time and creative energy. That is when I started a short-lived YouTube video program titled the Comedy Time Capsule, where I interviewed comedians about their experiences and predictions of comedy during the pandemic. It was after hearing Marga Gomez’s experiences about the queer comedy scene at the Valencia Rose that an idea sparked. 

   Comedians don’t always know their history, nor are they great about honoring it. I called my old comedy friend and fellow comedy nerd OJ Patterson, and the spark of an idea took flame. We would write a book that broadly explores Bay Area comedy in words and pictures. Luckily, those late nights talking and doing comedy at McGrath’s open mic in Alameda, followed by tea sessions at my Oakland apartment on nights that OJ couldn’t BART back to the city, paid off. 

   I personally hope that this book reminds comedians of the Bay Area where they come from and the backs of the people they stand on while also celebrating our comedy history. I can already hear the critiques of comedians and comedy fans alike! “You didn’t talk about (this person) or (that place).” Yep! You are right. There is a lot left out, which is probably why there has not been a comprehensive book written about Bay Area comedy. Each of these chapters could and should be a four-hundred-page book. I hope that subsequent books will come, but in the meantime, I hope you enjoy this edition about the history of San Francisco Bay Area comedy. 

Something to Consider on International Stuttering Awareness Day…

It’s that time of year again! That’s right, October 22nd is International Stuttering Awareness Day! As a person who stutters, 10/22 represents something very near and dear to my heart. In my career as an author, comedian, and educator, spreading awareness is the common theme that drives all my work. But what does “awareness” really mean? Most people are “aware” of stuttering: they know what it is; they know that it exists. But beyond that? How stuttering affects our lives, how it affects the way we interact with other people—the really important stuff—those things rarely enter into the mainstream discussion. So, in honor of International Stuttering Awareness Day, I thought I’d make a quick list of things I think we should all be aware of. I encourage other people who stutter to add to this list in the comments, sharing some of your experiences. I certainly don’t speak for all of us!

1. Beware Completing People’s Sentences

The name of my new book (shameless plug) is Stutterer Interrupted. Why did I pick that title? Yeah, it’s a reference to the Wynona Ryder thing, but, more importantly, it’s a reference to the fact that we are always being interrupted! It typically goes something like this:

“I would like p-p-p–”

“Pumpernickel? Pizza? Pasta?”

Like the picture says, “I stutter! You’re gonna have to wait for all my brilliant ideas.” Having someone guess my next word makes things uncomfortable, which makes it harder for me to communicate. Plus, their guesses are almost always wrong! Things will go smoother if the listener just waits for the person stuttering to complete their thought. We love attentive listeners!

2. Beware Unwanted Advice (on Stuttering)

Unless I’m asking for it—or better yet, paying for it—I don’t want any tips on how to “improve” my speech. I’ve gotten unsolicited recommendations for “miracle cures” that range from homeopathic remedies to sexual acts to divine interventions. And let’s not forget that timeless classic, “just slow down and breathe.” Usually, the advice-giver’s credentials consist of “my third cousin once-removed stutters… or wait, was it Tourette’s?” Occasionally, they turn out to be an actual medical practitioner or speech therapist, but that doesn’t make it any less inappropriate. There is a time and place. And that time and place is probably not at a wedding where the person who stutters is supposed to be having fun!

3. We Don’t Need to Be Fixed

That’s right! It is up to every individual to decide how they want to speak. Some people may choose to engage in therapy to manage their stuttering. Others may not. It’s a personal choice. I personally don’t feel the need to be fluent (i.e., able to speak without stuttering). My speech patterns are a part of who I am, resulting from a difference in my brain (or neurodiversity, as many of us call it). There are many types of people, which means many types of communicating.  A person who stutters can communicate with the same clarity and effectiveness as anyone else. We just happen to have a less common way of doing it. Which brings me to my next point…

4. We Are Part of the One Percent (Not That One, the Other One)!

People who stutter make up only 1% of the adult population. Incredibly, only one fourth of that one percent are women! That’s why I refer to myself and my stuttering sisters as unicorns… because we are rare and elusive things of beauty! There are downsides to being a mythical creature though. Since we account for such a small part of the population, we don’t get a lot of representation in mainstream culture. You have to scour the ends of the Earth just to find a good stuttering role model on TV. If a person who stutters does appear in popular media, they are usually depicted in a gimmicky way that isn’t really empowering. That lady on Oprah who “cured” her stutter by wearing headphones for five minutes? Sorry, that doesn’t really do it for me. Growing up in the 1980s, the closest thing I had to a role model was a cartoon pig who didn’t wear pants. Yeah, I wish that was a joke. One of the best ways to spread awareness is through honest representation in the media… so let’s have more of that, eh?

5. There Is a Stamily Out There

Because people who stutter are few and far between, it’s an extra-special kind of awesome when we run into each other out there in the world. Sometimes it’s almost like finding long lost family, or “Stamily” as many of us call it. Growing up, I always felt like I was alone. I never knew there was such thing as a stuttering community. When I finally discovered that community, it changed the trajectory of my entire life. I was no longer alone. I suddenly had role models. I realized I could do anything, even be a stand-up comedian. I just wish someone had made me aware of it sooner… so you better believe I’m going to talk about it for Stuttering Awareness Day! There are so many amazing organizations around the world that support and bring together people who stutter: The National Stuttering Association (US), The British Stammering Association, The Indian Stammering Association, just to name a few. The International Stuttering Association even hosts an online conference in October, in honor of International Stuttering Awareness Day (check it out HERE). Many organizations also hold conferences and conventions that you can attend in person. I am not exaggerating when I say that I wouldn’t be the person I am today without these conferences. To be surrounded by nothing but Stamily for five days is simply mind-blowing—there’s no other way to describe it.

For a partial list of stuttering/stammering organizations all over the world, please find it HERE.

For T-shirts that say “I stutter! You are going to have to wait for all my brilliant ideas!” at:

Thank you for reading this! And for celebrating International Stuttering Awareness Day! ❤

Photo and ballonery by Michael James Schneider

5 Ways Libraries Can Support the Stuttering Community

As a person who stutters, I have heard it all!  Upon introducing myself, I inevitably might hear “did you forget your name?”  or “wh-wh-wh-what?” People who stutter find particular difficulties when interacting with people in a customer service capacity.  Last year there was a news article about a Starbucks customer who found himself mocked by a barista who used the stuttering version of his name to identify his beverage.  This may sound extreme, but so many of the 1 percent of the adult population who stutters has at least one experience where they were being mocked by a person who was in a role to help or serve them.

Librarians and library staff are among the most helpful people I have ever encountered!  They are excited to help patrons find the perfect book or resource. In the past few decades there has been a push to make libraries more welcoming places for everyone, including people with disabilities.  This has gone beyond ramps to include trainings on customer service with a focus on serving people with disabilities, displaying visual icons to help people with dyslexia navigate the Dewey Decimal System, and software to make their computers accessible to people with an array of disabilities.

In my experience, stuttering is often ignored because the library barriers don’t seem so obvious. Nonetheless, libraries will want to minimize awkward interactions like the one that occurred at Starbucks. The following are a few tips to consider. They include basic etiquette and also ways to reach out to the stuttering community, making libraries a place for resources and support.

1.  Stuttering, like many other speech-based disabilities, is not apparent.  

You won’t know someone stutters by looking at them, which means anyone approaching you might be a person who stutters. Knowing there is diversity in how people verbally express themselves helps make your interactions more inclusive. Assuming that anyone might stutter or speak in a variety of ways prepares you to address these differences when you encounter them. Some tips for facilitating these interactions include:

  • Not interrupting the person and letting them finish what they are saying.
  • Maintaining eye contact.
  • If the person says something you don’t completely understand, repeat the part you did understand so that they only have to fill in the part you missed instead of saying the whole thing over again.

2.  Don’t try to “fix” them.

People who stutter are often approached with cures for how to resolve their speech difficulties. These have included everything from old wives tales to hallucinogenics and miracle cures seen on talk shows. These are rarely helpful. Many people who stutter have likely been doing so for a long time and have tried multiple ways to manage their speech.  There are no known cures for stuttering, so offering your distant relative’s rumored remedy to resolve their speech issues isn’t likely wanted or helpful information.  In fact, many people who stutter have accepted their stuttering as divergent speech — just another way of talking — and we should follow suit!

3. Learn about stuttering resources.

There are important resources that should be shared when asked. These encourage and focus on information, peer support, acceptance of stuttering and advocacy.  Resources that encourage self-acceptance and include people who stutter on their boards and in their leadership should be given special attention!

4.  Promote positive images of people who stutter.

Positive images of people who stutter are rare.  In books, film and TV we are often portrayed as anti-social, bitter, comical or with bumbling incompetency. It is important that people who stutter are reflected in complex ways that represent the full human experience. These aren’t necessarily stories of overcoming stuttering, but living with it and helping the reader deepen their understanding of what that experience is like.  Recommended books and films include:


Children’s books:


5.  Making your library a community space for people who stutter would be the neon sign that says “we get it!”  

Hosting events or support groups that the National Stuttering Association (NSA) and other organizations sponsor is a great start. October 22 is International Stuttering Awareness Day. The second week of May is National Stuttering Awareness Week in the United States. All of these awareness days can help educate your communities about stuttering. It is also an excellent opportunity to partner with local stuttering organizations like the NSA support groups to hear what they would like to see and how the library could be helpful.

People who stutter or have other speech-based disabilities are as diverse patrons as other library patrons.  They are likely looking up books that are of personal interest to them. They should have these opportunities in places where they can freely ask questions.  These are just a few recommendations, but there is likely more that can be done! The best way to know what the stuttering community at your library wants is to simply ask them. Keeping the lines of communication open is key to serving any community. These are just a few steps to making the library a more welcoming place for everyone.


jpg of library access.001library access pic 2.001

Transforming How We Think About Stuttering

I am happy to share one of the chapters from my book Stutterer Interrupted: The Comedian Who Almost Didn’t Happen (debuts August 6, 2019 but available for pre-order now).  One note before you read this offering.  I encourage everyone reading to think about how they think about stuttering (whether or not you are a person who stutters) and what you would like to think and feel about stuttering.  To assist, I have included a blank iceberg that can be used by people to create their own version of the stuttering iceberg.  You have permission to use this for your presentations, clinical work and wherever else it might be helpful!

berg brand


Transforming The Iceberg

I have very little control over my stutter. I wouldn’t even call it control; it’s more like I have to bargain with it. “Hey Nina’s Stutter, if I put on my ‘business voice’ and totally not sound like myself, will you let me get through this one phone call with a stranger?” “If I allow this word or that word, will you at least stay out of my next sentence?” I get exhausted just thinking about it. If I planned my day around Nina’s Stutter, there wouldn’t be time for anything else. Life is short, and I’m not going to waste it trying to control what I can’t control.

Stuttering is one of the few constants in my life. My hair has changed, my clothes have changed, my address has changed—but Nina’s Stutter is here to stay. It has never changed, and it probably never will. But the way I think and feel about it has changed.


I used to hate Nina’s Stutter. I was ashamed of it. I devoted the best parts of my youth to fighting it, instead of doing things that made me feel happy or productive. The more I missed out on life, the more I blamed Nina’s Stutter, doubling down my efforts to kill it. If only I were fluent, everything else would fall into place! I could speak freely. I could have boys ask me to prom. I could even follow my dreams and be a stand-up comic. All I had to do was stop stuttering!

When I write it down, it seems so ridiculous. How can some pauses and a few extra syllables take control of a person’s life?

That question became a point of focus for Joseph Sheehan, a clinical researcher and psychologist where?. Throughout his career, he observed that stuttering was typically more disruptive to a person’s emotional wellbeing than it was to their actual speech. In Stuttering: Research and Therapy (1970), Sheehan writes that “stuttering is like an iceberg, with only a small part above the waterline and a much bigger part below.” According to Sheehan, what most people think of as “stuttering” is only the tip of iceberg—the outwardly observable symptoms on the surface. But the emotional baggage that it carries—the invisible pain underneath—that’s the bulk of the ice. Sheehan organized these murky, underwater emotions into seven categories: fear, denial, shame, anxiety, isolation, guilt, and hopelessness. According to Sheehan, as the stutterer resolves these issues, the negative emotions begin to “evaporate.” This in turn causes the “waterline” to lower, until, finally, all that remains is the physical stutter. 

Sheehan’s book became highly influential in its field. The iceberg theory advanced a more holistic view of stuttering, inspiring professionals to consider more than just the sounds coming out of a person’s mouth. It also helped me think about my own experience. I have all those emotions below the water. I have felt guilty, for making people wait through a stalled sentence. I have felt isolated, especially before discovering the stuttering community. But most of all, I have felt shame, simply for speaking the way that I speak.

 Although it provides a useful framework, I don’t think Sheehan’s Iceberg presents the full picture. Sure, it explains the negative things we feel, but what about the other emotions? Just like everyone else, the life of a stutterer is filled with ups and downs, victories and defeats, good times and bad times. Even if your overall situation doesn’t change, things might look better or worse on a given day depending what side of the bed you wake up on. It’s all a matter of perspective.

If you’ve ever laid on the grass and looked up at the clouds, you know how easily perspective can change. One minute this cloud looks like a dragon; the next minute it looks like a bunny rabbit. Unless El Niño is brewing up an apocalyptic tornado, that cloud probably hasn’t changed much in the last sixty seconds. Instead, you let your eyes wander, reoriented your perspective, and unknowingly formed a different mental picture of the same thing.

If it can be done with literal clouds, then it can be done with metaphorical icebergs. Stuttering doesn’t have to be a bad experience if we change our perspective. Before I found the stuttering community, my perspective was all negative. I was isolated, ashamed, and everything else Sheehan packs into that sad popsicle. But when I found the National Stuttering Project during that summer in high school, something changed. I was no longer isolated–I had found a community. I was no longer ashamed. Maybe even… proud?

Sheehan writes about negative emotions evaporating until only a stutter remains. I disagree. When bad feelings subside, other feelings have to take their place. We don’t refer to happiness as “not sadness,” or confidence as “not embarrassment.” The negative emotions in Sheehan’s Iceberg all have positive equivalents. I propose that we can do more than simply make the bad feelings go away; we have the power to transform fear, shame, anxiety, isolation, denial, guilt, and hopelessness into feelings of courage, pride, comfort, community, acceptance, kindness, and hope.

So how do we do that? Although the negative emotions in Sheehan’s Iceberg are common to the stuttering experience, they are common because we live in a society that treats people with disabilities as substandard. But we don’t have to buy into it. All the weird looks we get in public, all the shitty images we see in the media, all the lowered expectations that people project onto us—they can all be thrown out and replaced with something better. Instead of struggling to conform to the ideals of a culture that makes us feel deficient, we can cultivate our own perspective and learn to love ourselves as we are. Every person who stutters has the responsibility to create their own iceberg—one that reflects their best possible self.

How we are perceived is largely influenced by how we perceive ourselves. When I began to accept my stutter, so did the people around me. Friends and family stopped offering advice on how to improve my fluency. People stopped thinking of me as a weirdo (at least after high school). Obviously there is a limit to how much self-perception can determine the views of others: I can’t force an asshole to stop being an asshole, as we’ve seen countless times in this book. But I can determine my own worth and decide which assholes are beneath me. I can share my values with the world, doing what I can to sway us from that asshole culture toward something more loving and equitable.

Promoting stuttering acceptance has been one of my greatest missions in life. Everyone who interacts with us, thinks about us, studies us, works with us, produces movies and TV shows about us, reports on us—they all have stuttering icebergs too! The strange and shitty ways they treat us stem from murky emotions below the tip of the iceberg. If we are ever going to overcome discrimination, we have to address the emotional baggage of these people as well. It’s not going to be easy. It’s hard enough to understand my own feelings toward stuttering, much less model them for others! All I can do is put myself in front of the public and try my best—in bars and comedy clubs, on college campuses, in online videos and social media, and now on in this book. Changing minds isn’t easy, but I’ll take that over trying to change how I speak.


Stutterer Interrupted: The Comedian Who Almost Didn’t Happen is available for pre-order now through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Ingram, Baker Taylor and your local bookstore.  Debuts August 6, 2019!

Image is a JPG, but a high quality version in PDF is linked below.

high quality base iceberg

Stuttering Comedian and Author to Headline Punch Line Sacramento


(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Stuttering stand up comic Nina G will have the top spot at the Invisible Disabilities Comedy Show at the Sacramento Punch Line on Sunday, January 27 2019! Author of the forthcoming book Stutterer Interrupted: The Comedian Who Almost Didn’t Happen, Nina’s comedy is funny, revealing, unapologetic, and always a window to her experience as a person who stutters. Through humor, Nina G is challenging now people think of stuttering.

Nina’s brand of comedy highlights that the problem with disabilities is not the people with them, but a society that isn’t inclusive. Nina thinks the recent trend of online stories featuring “clever” ways people “cured” their stuttering may be sending the wrong message to those who are non-stuttering speakers, offers.  Nina adds, “focusing on changing us instead of living our lives gives the wrong message to the public.” Always one to model in herself what she expects from others, her humor is accessible to all who are ready for a good laugh!


When Nina G started comedy nearly eight years ago, she was the only woman who stuttered in the world doing stand-up. Undaunted after battling a lifetime of stigma, Nina pursued her dream.

Nina G is a comedian, professional speaker, writer and educator. She brings her humor to help people confront and understand Disability culture, access, and empowerment.


Nina G’s latest book, Stutterer Interrupted: The Comedian Who Almost Didn’t Happen

is a memoir, published by She Writes Press, will be released August 6, 2019.

Nina tells the story of her journey of how she became, at the time she started, America’s only female stuttering stand-up comedian. On stage, Nina encounters the occasional heckler, but off stage she is often confronted with people’s comments toward her stuttering. Listeners completing her sentences, inquiring “did you forget your name?” and giving unwanted advice like “slow down and breathe” are common.  As if she never thought about slowing down and breathing in her over thirty years of stuttering!  In Stutterer Interrupted… Nina confronts these interruptions and so much more!

What the show is about and the awareness that it brings

Producers, Ali Ada and and Drew Kimzey each live with multiple disabilities that substantially limit their lives, yet you might never know it. They’re both passionate about comedy but have significant obstacles that can prevent them from achieving their goals. The desire to turn their obstacles into strengths inspired the idea for this show.

Line up includes: Chey Bell, Jeanette Marin, Sureini Weerasekera, Anihca Cihla, Nicole Tran, Emily Pedersen and Kelley Nicole. Hosted by Amber Whitford.

In the 18 months since Coral got her start in comedy she has gathered a significant following with her shockingly real and relatable story telling. After going through a major medical crisis she took to stage with her natural, conversational humor and absurd comedy style and never looked back. Many of her jokes surround her new life post surgery as a young, broke, female adjusting to having an ostomy bag. She performs all over the Bay Area sharing her unabashed tales in major clubs such as the SF Punch Line and the San Jose Improv, bringing light to her not-dinner-table-appropriate disability (aka her poop bag.)

Quote from here:  “Talking about my ostomy bag on stage not only helped me to accept my new body and situation but educated others on a struggle they knew nothing, to little, about. It’s not just about making people laugh, it’s about drawing them in to your life enough that they begin to invest in attempting to understand your experience, with your disability. It gives my comedy more purpose to know I’m doing my part to reach out to the audience and share that we are all going through some type of invisible struggle, and here I am being open and honest about mine in an attempt to bring us all closer together.”

Invisible Disabilities Comedy Show

Show: Sunday, January 27, 2019  (18+ 2 drink min)


The Punch Line Sacramento

2100 Arden Way

Sacramento, CA 95825

Produced by Ali Ada and Drew Kimzey

Media Contact:

Nina G




show id.nina

A Guide for Disability Awareness Events On Your Campus

Planning events at a college can be daunting, but also very rewarding!  Speakers can demonstrate the power of the Disability experience and inspire students in ways that are long lasting and life changing.  Speakers can help to change attitudes of the larger college community and help people question what they think they know about disability.

Somethings to consider when booking a Disability awareness Speaker include:

  1. Contact the potential speaker or artist. Find out their fees, availability and what they have to offer.
  2. Follow the money! Investigate how to fund the speaker. Can different committees or departments collaborate to sponsor the event?
  3. Check to see if other events are scheduled. Remember, home coming and finals week may not be the best weeks to hold your event!
  4. Book your speaker!
  5. Collaborate with other department and committees for co-sponsorship. Even if they aren’t funding the speaker, you can use the help to get the word out.
Bonus Tip: Collaborate with a professor and hold the event during their class. That way you can guarantee your event will be well attended. The professor can work the event into the class. Works great for everyone!


Planning an event but not sure where to start or what to do?  Take a look at this guide intended for colleges wanting to educate their communities on disability issues.  Even if you are not at a college or you are producing non-Disability related events, this information can still be useful.





Almost 75 ways to bring Universal Design for Learning into your college classroom

Thanks to all who participated in my workshop on Universal Design for Learning at the California Association of Postsecondary Education and Disability conference.  During the workshop we did a gallery walk to generate ideas of how to implement UDL into the classroom.  I am happy to report that you came up with 74 ways!  Check it out!

Comment on this post if you have tried anything new in the classroom since the workshop or have other ideas!


  • doing cotton ball passing game to demo dendrites
  • performance for assessment
  • role play
  • scavenger hunt
  • game to demonstrate such as monopoly
  • create something such as drawings, collages, or posters.
  • pair up with a partner sitting on the other side of the class.
  • informational interviews,
  • pottery class
  • gamifying the lecture.
  • make cards or slips of paper with items on them to have small groups. Organize them to create structures, outlines for writing or reading categories to support learning of concepts.
  • in content classes continuum line, have students physically placed themselves along a clear path of travel in the classroom or hallway to illustrate where they are on an issue or question
  • variation for coroners: have students go to the corner that best fits their response to the question or controversy. can be used to put students in discussion group early math with an abacus.
  • going to support programs around campus
  • service learning group projects,
  • put community or campus events on teach someone or present,
  • get out of the classroom,
  • completing case studies using TV or movie characters,
  • break up class into small groups to discuss and work together.
  • take a minimum five minutes minute break every hour.


  • videos
  • storytelling
  • guided meditation
  • tones for terms
  • prerecord articles through voice note function on your phone and post to Canvas for those who would like the auditory
  • have students read aloud important texts in class: “golden lines” from reading, selected paragraphs or quotations before discussing these terms. Terms and their own definitions to peer teach or check and monitor their own comprehension
  • to memorize, record the information, then listen to it.
  • debate
  • songs on the topic or the things.


  • 60 seconds,
  • powerpoint
  • videos,
  • program sheets,
  • flow charts,
  • diagrams,
  • graphic organizers (see,
  • screenshots of computer program processes or software.
  • picture of images (go to Google images)
  • While the matching words are said
  • create info graphics for almost any content
  • have students or teachers explain a concept in comic book form or to practice a sequence.
  • writing names of colors in the same color ink.
  • color coding main ideas, details with highlights, topic sentence in color or post its.
  • tangible objects instead of pictures,
  • pictures, memes, gifs,
  • youtube videos,
  • how to videos,
  • Kahoot
  • popcon,
  • use video material that they are interested in, which applies to what is being taught on canvas.
  • plan poster,
  • post powerpoints in advance,
  • summary of what we learned that worked.
  • create Study Guide and adding to it
  • posts all the texts accessible and advance in lecture.
  • Use simple statements/clear bullets. No heavy text.


  • find a way to remember students quickly,
  • opportunities to share stories and opinions.
  • thirty second reflection,
  • self reflection (metacognition) often projects, quizzes, inactivities,
  • peer support to your students.
  • try to arrive early to class, stay after class for questions and be present in your posted office hours.
  • talk time to connect on papers and demonstrations you are taking in vested interest in your students.
  • make the effort to get to know your students beginning of the semester.
  • ask  students to share a little about themselves, goals in the class for their learning style and he requested accommodations.
  • clips from movies or TV shows that connect to what we’re learning,
  • sharing personal and emotional stories that illustrate a theory
  • daily, checkins
  • bio. Introduce yourself to me and what your goals are.
  • emotional presentation,
  • icebreakers
  • sensory in recalling your memory,
  • Holland code and island hopping.
  • having students do primary research, interviews, surveys, small group discussion with question prompts.


SpeakerMatch Companion



April 12 I am on SpeakerMatch Radio and I wanted to offer a companion for some of the things I am talking about as well as a place for people to have dialogue with one another about best practices for getting and promoting college gigs.

Below are some resources that I will reference.  Please check them out!




Slides from a presentation:  Going Beyond Inspirations and Simulations-Disability Awareness Events At Your College

My college press kit.


Stutterer Interrupted Meets Comedians Interrupted!

Oh the irony!  Stutterer Interrupted (the name of my upcoming book) meets Comedians, Interrupted this Friday, January 5, 2018.  Its the only show where they are allowed to interrupt me.  Find out the background of my jokes and see what Dalia and Joe think is worthy is ask.  Show is after Oakland’s First Friday!

#FirstFridays #Oakland #Stuttering #Comedy

Stuttering Comedy Comes to Laramie!

Comedy, art and Disability in Laramie, Wyoming!!

I will be in there on January 27 at The Cooper Center for Creative Arts (1174 N. 4th Street) to raise money for the Ark Regional Services that supports artists with disabilities.  If you are in the area, check it out and hope that I know how to dress for the weather!

Come for the heavy appetizers and stay for the comedy!



Insights from a stuttering comedian with dyslexia. These are my unedited thoughts. Grammar and spelling doesn't count on blogging, especially since it did I would never post!