Stories from the brainreels guest: Nina G Comedian
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I am so late to the game! It seems like everyone has already interviewed Nina G since she first started as a comic a few years ago. But did any of them have a fake competition in the middle of the interview to see whose disability is worse? I think not. Our competition is really a joke. In fact, I didn’t even throw all my impairments into the ring. The point of our joke–and much of Nina G.’s stand up comedy material–is not to describe intimate details of impairments. It’s to highlight absurd ways people respond to disability: everything from strangers demanding she try their homegrown stuttering cures (she doesn’t want to cure her stutter) to people implying her speech reflects her sexuality (I’m not even going there) to the ways people decide for her that either her disabilities aren’t real or they’re too pitiful to imagine living with (please, do not make me go there).
In today’s episode, Nina talks a lot about her new one-person show, “Going Beyond Inspirational“, which premiered in April. So irreverent. I love it.
Just a couple notes about some things you’ll hear in the podcast: One is that we talk about how I transcribe her shows. When she creates new material, I often transcribe it for her into a script. That gives her more opportunity to reflect on how the stories and jokes flow. And she’s supporting my small, disabled woman-owned business. Thank you, Nina G.!
(Side note: Nina G. is dedicated to increasing accessibility of her media. I’ve created Closed Captions for a number of video clips on her YouTube Channel. This is awesome, folks. I can’t tell you how many short videos, informational pieces, and movie trailers that center on disability topics don’t have Closed Captions or even subtitles, much less Audio Description or a written description of the visuals. You see actual, real-life disabled people in the videos, but the content isn’t accessible or available to tons of people, including people shown in the videos. Oh sigh. You’ve seen me blog about this before. So, big cheers to Nina for hiring me to transcribe and caption her videos.)
The other funny thing is we talk about meeting up on Sunday in San Francisco. This episode was recorded in mid-April, a few days before I headed down to San Francisco with Lavaun Heaster to take part in the Disability Visibility Project through StoryCorps that Alice Wong started up. Not only did we get the chance to record some of Lavaun’s stories, but we got to hang out with a few San Francisco badasses in the meantime, including Nina G.
I also visited an incredible arts exhibit the day before it closed at SOMArts Cultural Center.
[Image description: The sign at DIS/PLAY: A disability take-over show. “DIS/PLAY challenges predictable representations of disability. Local artists with and without disabilities take over the gallery space as a playground to re-think access to cultural work, and create new rules of engagement.”]
While I was there, I was pleasantly surprised to get to pose with a photo of Nina G. There was a display for The Comedians with Disabilities Act with their comedy on an mp3 player (that’s why I have on headphones in the picture).
[Image description: Awkward selfie of me wearing headphones and a Criptiques T-shirt. Behind me are photos of Michael O’Connell, Nina G., and Eric Mee performing.]
Enjoy the podcast. As always, click here for an accessible transcript of podcast episode #034.