Check out my video and interview with Understood.org. Play the video or read the transcript here!
NINA G.: My name is Nina G., and I live in Oakland, California. I am a comedian and professional speaker, as well as an author and disability advocate.
[At Brainwash Comedy Club]
TONY SPARKS: I need you to lose your mind…for Nina G.!
NINA: Thank you.
TONY: Come on!
NINA: I have language-based learning disabilities that manifest in many, many ways, and I also stutter. Which isn’t LD, but it’s something going on in my brain too.
[At comedy club]
NINA: So if you have a learning disability or ADHD or you love a person that has a learning disability or ADHD, make some noise!
[cheers, woots, applause]
All right. Thank you.
Throughout my life, it’s affected the way that I read, the way that I write, that way that I spell, the way that I process information. Even in sign language, I thought, oh, my dyslexia’s not gonna be a problem there. But you do have the fingerspell.
[At comedy club] So I have some advice. A lot of times, I’ll be in the midst of a stutter, so I’ll be doing, “N-n-n-n.” And that’s when the other person does this with their hands.
You know? Yeah. Yeah. This, and telling me to “spit it out,” always very helpful.
I didn’t really have an outlet. I’m not an artist. I’m not musical at all. And sports was not my thing. The thing that I did love, though, from a very, very early age was stand-up comedy. That’s always been a thing that I’ve really loved and that I knew more of about than anybody else in my class and teachers and everybody. I learned how to be an advocate, and I learned how to have ideas, and I learned how to be heard. For me, being a comedian, I’m better able to access those ideas. Comedians who made discrimination tangible for people, so like Chris Rock and Richard Pryor and George Lopez, they were able to make audiences understand their experiences through comedy. And they’ve inspired me that maybe I can help people understand the experiences of people with disabilities through comedy or writing or whatever I do.
[At Superfest Film Festival]
I remember as a kid, maybe there’d be an episode of 90210 where one of the girls would have dyslexia. It was consider a “very special episode.” And then, they wouldn’t talk about it ever again. [laughter] And that was it. That was it!
[Interview] So many times, I think disability–whether it’s learning disabilities or stuttering or anything else–it’s presented as people being very weak. And that’s not true. In fact, kind of the opposite is true. That some of the strongest people that I’ve ever met are people with disabilities. But we’ve been presented this one image, and I think it’s really important to change that.
[At comedy club]
Thanks so much, guys!