Apr 272010
Authors: Anna Baldwin

Kevin Wann’s parents were proud and smiling during his fourth grade band concert in which he played the bass violin.

Though his parents are deaf, this is when Wann first realized that they would support him in whatever he wanted to do, even if it involved something that they could not hear.

“To me, my parents aren’t different because it’s all I know,” said Wann, the man behind the American Sign Language Comedy Tour. “Everyone else’s parents are the different ones.”

Wann and ASL artists will help audience members understand cultural differences using personal, real-life experiences during the ASL Comedy Tour tonight from 7 to 9 in the Lory Student Center Main and East Ballrooms.

A sign-to-voice interpreter will assist audience members during the performance, which is all in sign language, so everyone can understand the show.

Wann began touring about 10 years ago, marketing his performances to eliminate misperceptions about the deaf community.

“I believe in learning about culture through comedy. Every cultural pocket can identify. It’s all about relating,” Wann said.

The show will include skits, songs, improvisations and stories. The only requirement of the tour is for the performers to draw from real-life experiences, Wann said.
Two ASL artists will assist Wann in the stand-up performance, including one member who uses comedy to talk about growing up deaf.

Other skits include a sketch where the comedians poke fun of ASL students using music and another where Wann details an instance where he unplugs the vacuum cleaner while his mom is using it.

Blair Bacon, a programmer within Diversity and Social Justice Programming, is excited for the show, especially after a great turnout during the tour’s first appearance at CSU last year.

“It’s great because it increases CSU’s community awareness of underrepresented populations,” Bacon said. “It’s an insider perspective that gives people an authentic view.”
Bacon said about 400 people are expected to attend the event.

Prior to the show, a workshop, called “Improv Games,” will be hosted in LSC rooms 214 through 216, and will help participants use the signs they know and be able to communicate.

“Learning a language is hard, and you really don’t know until you play with it,” Wann said. “Participants will use facial grammar and body language to help them learn to communicate.”

“We’re telling our stories with comedy,” Wann added. “Everyone will enjoy it. Comedy is comedy.”

The event is free with a CSU ID. Tickets for community members are available at http://www.csutix.com for $7 and $3 for youth ages 13 to 17.

Staff writer Anna Baldwin can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

What: ASL Comedy Tour
When: Tonight, 7 to 9 p.m.
Where: Lory Student Center Main and East Ballrooms

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