Last night, Kathy and I went to see Keith Wann, a stand-up comic, at the Texas State student center. The interesting thing about Keith is that, though he himself is able to hear, he was born to deaf parents and has lived a fair portion of his life in deaf culture. He performs using American Sign Language with his wife providing a spoken translation for those in the audience who aren’t fluent in that form of communication.
It was fascinating to watch how this played out for this crowd. They greeted him by holding their hands up and shaking them — the applause of the deaf community. He then went on for 90 energetic minutes, running around the stage, recounting stories of his childhood with deaf parents, his straddling of the hearing and deaf world, and making affectionate fun of ASL students. It was great to see how he blended together the signed and brief spoken bits of his monologue and how both the deaf and hearing portions of the audience responded to him. Here’s a representative bit that gives a good idea of his schtick:
The show was lots of fun; I do recommend going to see him if you happen to have an opportunity.