Thursday, February 14, 2019

Bay Area comedian Nina G works tough territory. She plays gigs at clubs with names like “Nightlife on Mars” and “The Laugh Boat.” She stutters. And she’s really funny about it.

While most stand-up comics engage their audiences through relatable stories, Nina G’s work pulls that kind observational humor into the broader intersection of comedy, satire and issue advocacy. That’s tough territory for anyone. But from the front of the room, she owns it.

When she takes the mic, she moves her audiences from the(ir) discomfort with disability to the delight of well-turned tables. Night after night in clubs around the nation, she plays her stutter against type by telling stories that draw the audience into her world. She changes minds like that.

Still, walking the line between progressive comedy that advances her audiences’ understanding about social issues and comedy that deepens the problem by repeating the problem can be tricky. Nina G uses her super powers for the Forces of Good. As well as working comedy clubs, she presents her advocacy work on stuttering and dyslexia to conferences, colleges and corporations.

As part of the 2018-19 Obermann Humanities Symposium, Misfitting: Disability Broadly Considered, Nina G will perform on Friday, April 5, at 8:00 pm in the Hawkeye Room of the IMU. Earlier that same day, from 1:00 to 2:00 pm in the Iowa City Public Library, she will sit down with Frank Durham of the UI School of Journalism and Mass Communication for a conversation about her art and its impact on American culture. Part of their discussion will also give her the opportunity to preview Nina G’s forthcoming book, Stutterer Interrupted: The Comedian Who Almost Didn’t Happen.