Douglas explores the visual vernacular of ASL through improv, stand up comedy, stories, poems, and short films.

Monday, September 22, 2008

George Carlin and Deaf Comedians on Edge

I'm honored to be mentioned in the same sentence with good ol' George.

George Carlin and Deaf Comedians on Edge
The recent death of George Carlin, controvestial and thought-provoking "stand-up" comedian brought me much memories of deaf comedians on the edge. George Carlin was a hearing person himself anyway. The concept of stand-up comedy for past 50 years boldly challenged the definition of profanity, inapporiate language usage and crudeness.

Numerous deaf comedians come to the mind right away are legendary Mary Beth Miller, loveable Stephen Ryan, intellectual Bob Daniels, Bill Ennis and the rising addition of Jason Norman and Doug Ridloff, a duo comedy team - "ASL in Raw" to the growing roster of deaf comedy on edge.

Deaf comedian and ASL storyteller, Mary Beth Miller is in severe declining health state lately in her NY residence. Mary Beth Miller is well-known for exploring the cross-cultural barriers between deaf and hearing people in her deaf comedy stand-up materials. Miller usually took swipes at the absurdity of oralism and ignorance among hearing people about deaf people in existence.

The memorable and beloved ASL comedian, Stephen Ryan, unexpectedly passed away in 1995 at the age of 37. Ryan brought real greatness to the features of stand-up materials like "Planet Way Over Yonder" in modern ASL storytelling version of "Eyeth". Ryan endlessly mocked hearing people, cochlear implanteers, CIs and other subjects at the expense of "d-World".

Stephen Ryan had regularly e-corresponded and colloborated with well-known hearing comedians like Rodney Dangerfield. He also exchanged jokes with Jay Leno privately. Stephen Ryan frequently mocked actress Marlee Maltin in his comedy acts, too. He had been honored in doing the mainstream comedy performance at the Comedy Cafe in Washington, DC. Ryan was more than just a deaf comedian. He eloquently teached American Sign Language at Gallaudet University for many years and gave the scholarly presentation on "Let's Tell an ASL Story" for the Deaf Studies III conference's "Bridging Cultures in the 21th Century" at Gallaudet University. Ryan was well-loved by his deaf audience, especially overseas deaf associations. Ryan also teached ASL and performed his comedy materials in Japan before his untimely death. Ryan gave too much of himself to other people beside himself.

Here are some examples of Stephen Ryan's deaf comedy materials -

The deaf people have the rights to request for the ASL interpreter to go along with them when any of us get drafted for military service on the battlefield. No questions about the enemy rather not shoot at any deaf individuals, but interpreter get shot anyway due to his hearing status.

What will happen about someone hearing or deaf to be with a deaf individual with CI? Someone will get electrouced.

Bob Daniels done many intellectual and brilliant deaf comedy materials thru his one-man plays like "Am I Paranoid?" Daniels superbly mocked the relay service for the deaf with operators dealt with deaf relay clients ########## #########. Operators of the relay service for the deaf had to do the pretended moanings and stimulated themselves to carry the ongoing relay conversations in Daniels' "Am I Paranoid?" play.

Bill Ennis is one of unique deaf comedian of our time. Ennis usually interweaves his childhood experiences with his two brothers for his deaf comedy materials. His physical movement lend much to endless laughters what happened to Bill and his brothers.

Jason Norman and Doug Ridloff brought more risque and eye-opening materials to their deaf comedy performances with "ASL in the Raw" which they strongly felt about too many deaf "stand-up" comedy to be too clean and safe. Those duos frequently performed in New York City and other cities. The recent performances like Gallaudet University in Washington, DC and nearby bar on H Street, Northeast (NE).

Expectational comedians of the deaf are Keith Wann and other growing numbers of CODA (Children of the Deaf) comedians shared with the audience about their grown-up years with deaf parents and silbings. Wann also appeared in the Pespi commerical - "Bob's House" and other indie films including Mosdeux deaf film, "Resonare".

Many lesser-known and familar deaf comedians from Kathy Buckley, Steve Day (Italy), John Smith of "Grumpy Old Deafies" (UK), Fred Armisen as "Ritchie B", Tammy West and other mores.

Ken Glickman, deaf comedian of "Deafology 101", really never was found to be funny in any way. Too many hearing people came to me and shared their thoughts about Glickman's so-called funny deafology materials. They and other deaf people do not see Ken Glickman glitzfully funny.

Ken Glickman is really a nice guy, but some people find the admission fees for Glickman's performances to be pretty steep for that kind of comedy act.

Remmy Lisa Lampanelli's Rochester Institute of the Deaf (RIT) comedy show as a slap at deaf faces last year? The appealing part of stand-up comedy is to trivalize, challenge, highlight and mock at the logics of our lives.

Many hearing "stand-up comedians" brought delights to our so-called predictable and miserable lives from Don Rickles, Chris Rock, Bill Maher, Carrot Top, Andy Kaufman, Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, Roseanne Barr, Alan King, Lenny Bruce, Jeff Foxworthy, Paul Rodgriuez and Andrew Dice Clay.

Chris Rock recently mocked the "Lady Macbeth" from the Democratic Primary 2008 election. Rock quipped "I dearly support the concept of female president, but really have to be that lady?" He referred to Hillary Clinton as most undesirable female candidate for the presidency of the United States.

George Carlin have been heavily influenced by Lenny Bruce, most controvestational comedian from the 60s and 70s. Richard Pryor pushed many comedians to be more bold and risk-taking and gutsy and politically incorrect.

Will we see the real deaf stand-up comedy with more edges and profilic? We, the Deaf America at Large, dearly lost the heart of our deaf community like literary nights and ASL storytellings for past ten years due to the changing society and widespread of cochlear implant uses and increasingly fragemented deaf community.

Thanks Robert!

Deaf stand-up comedian

John Morrison's monthly comedy quickie--some of the smartest, most politically savvy comedians in or passingt through NewYork make and unmake their bed here before some soon to be deported illegal third world alien comes in to clean it all up . . .
For our first Motel show of the new year, we are very pleased and proud to be bringing back our good friend Todd Barry. Todd will be scooting back and forth between Sketchfest shows in San Francisco, but we'll be lucky enough to have him for one night only.

From HBO's "Flight of the Conchords" to the Montreal, Aspen and Edinburgh Comedy Festivals, there's not much Todd hasn't done in the world of stage, film, radio and TV comedy. Howard Stern, Lucky Louie, Chappelle's Show, Letterman, Conan, etc., etc... just take our word for it, you are going to love Todd, OK? OK. (Everyone does. Uncanny, but true.)

Joining Todd, Comedy Central's Liam McEneaney has just returned from his European tour, and we're guessing he'll have some smart things to say for himself, as always. Old friend and winner of the Bud Light "Ladies of Laughter" Contest, Maureen Langan will be here, and you can see for yourself why Backstage magazine named her one of the "Ten Standout Stand-ups Worth Watching".

We had such a fun time last month with Chicago Second-City alum Thomas Middleditch that we've asked him back for an encore, and we're delighted to be able to present to you deaf comic Douglas Ridloff, co-creator and producer of "ASL (American Sign Language) in the Raw". Douglas - along with his interpreter for the hearing - will have you in stitches, guaranteed. Funny, funny man.

Deaf Idol

the link is

Third place...

Someone wrote a blog about Deaf Idol and they believe that I gave the best performance and should be in first place
Go and read!

Monday, September 15, 2008


2008 NAD Conference hosts ASL Live! and Douglas Ridloff of New York took home the crown and the grand prize of $2,000 for three stellar performances.