Sacramento, CA – Nina G bills herself as “The San Francisco Bay Area’s Only Female Stuttering Comedian”. Less obvious about this stand-up comedian, social activist, and author, is that she also has a learning disability.
Both Nina G’s stutter and her learning disability are subjects in her new one woman show, Stutterer Interrupted. In a world where people with disabilities are often portrayed solely as being inspirational, or are otherwise presented through the filter of perceptions of people without disabilities, Nina’s latest offering is a refreshingly authentic representation. An intensely personal work, Stutterer Interrupted is based on Nina’s own life experiences, with herself as the messenger. And Nina G has a lot to say!
The show covers everything from how Nina struggled in school, to learning from her parents what in means to be an advocate, to finding her voice, both as a woman with disabilities and as a stand up comedian. Stutterer Interrupted is carefully crafted in a way that validates the disability experience for both people with and without Disabilities.
Nina G has been challenging attitudes about Disability since she did stand-up for the first time in 2010. “How many people with Disabilities does it take to screw in a light bulb?” Answer: “One to screw it in and 5 able bodied people to say ‘You are such an inspiration!’” This joke is a favorite in Nina G’s stand-up routine. It brings to light (no pun intended) the struggle people with Disabilities have in an able-bodied society that reduces them to images of “inspirations” and “overcomers”.
Her solo piece came about as Nina G increasingly got requests to do longer shows and to perform at colleges. In developing her material, Nina weeded out bits of her nightclub act that would not be appropriate for some venues. In the process, Nina also discovered that she wanted her life experiences to go beyond fodder for jokes and punchlines; she wanted them to become teachable moments for audiences that validate the disability experience. And so, her one woman show, Stutterer Interrupted, was born.
“I really wanted to have some kind of avenue to talk about some of the things in my life and to take a longer time to delve into those experiences. This show gives me that opportunity”, says Nina.
Stutterer Interrupted is not Nina G’s first foray into delving deeper into the subject of Disability advocacy. In 2014 she published Once Upon an Accommodation: a book about Learning Disabilities. The Second Edition includes a workbook so that people with Learning Disabilities can develop their own voice in terms of advocating for themselves. The idea is that a child can use this book to facilitate a dialogue with a teacher or classmates, and adults can use this book as well when asking for an accommodation for their child.
New for 2019 her book, Stutterer Interrupted: The Comedian Who Almost Didn’t Happen, is Nina’s memoir that chronicles her journey to and in stand up comedy.
Always striving to balance her strong activist voice with a good dose of comedy, Nina says, “There is an ongoing struggle of tending to be preachy but wanting to be funny at the same time. I think that’s a balance that I really need to have.” Nina goes on to emphasize: “For the topic of disability it’s especially important to utilize humor as a tool to open up dialogue, because people’s defenses are so high.” Nina finds that people don’t want to talk about disabilities, which is ironic because, as she points out, “The Disabled Community is one of the few minority groups that people can join at absolutely any time in their life.”
You can catch Nina G in the one woman show, Stutterer Interrupted, on November 29, 2018 from 12:00-1:00pm at the Sacramento City College Student Center (labeled “STC” on the campus map: https://www.scc.losrios.edu/catalog/files/CampusMap.pdf). For more information go to, visit www.ninagcomedian.com.