Laughter is socially considered the best medicine as it restores a personal connection with other people, something that has been seriously lacking in the last two years due to the pandemic.
Which is why everyone loves comedy; either you watch an actual comedy show, a film or a circus, we love it when our sides hurt and our tears are streaming down our face as we struggle to breathe because the joke is just too funny to be contained in our bodies.
However, there is a large population that is being ignored when it comes to comedy shows and that is the disabled community. From not being wheelchair accessible to a lack of braille or spaces for those who are blind and rely on using their canes, to a lack of visual signage for those who have hearing loss.
Here is the thing, comedy shows are largely auditory, as the only thing that makes the show work, is the comedian’s voice. Someone who is able to lip read may be able to gather the pieces and have some understanding of the joke, but most of the time the joke is lost on those with hearing loss as you have to pay attention to every word the person says to understand. Comedy is a communication-based form of entertainment. It is not like a movie where there is a lot of visual cues a person can use to piece things together. There are some comedians who are very dramatic and will use a lot of body movement, but unless you know what they are saying, you won’t understand the joke.
This is why Abby Stonehouse, a Montreal-based comedian with hearing loss sought to create accessible shows.
To learn of how she did it, her remarks on other issues of comedy accessibility in Montreal, you can listen/watch episode three here.
Abby is also this year’s YAN Summercamp moderator! The three day packed event is starting tomorrow at 11 am, so make sure you are registered! There will comedy, workshops and so much more!
You can register here:
Hope to see you there!