A 'Sign' of the Times: Comedian to Use Sign Language in Performance at Genesee

Comedian Raises Laughter and Awareness
Keith Wann is a comedian who uses sign language to convey his experiences as a hearing person growing up with deaf parents. Keith will be returning to perform at Genesee Community College on Friday May 1, 2009, in the Forum at Genesee’s Batavia campus. After a successful and compelling show in April of last year, Keith will return bringing with him the American Sign Language (ASL) Comedy Tour. As a Child of Deaf Adults, or CODA, Keith’s childhood included many moments where the hearing and deaf worlds collided, providing a rich inspiration for his comedic performance.

Keith tours the country performing several shows both solo and as part of the ASL Comedy Tour, tailored for children or adults, as his audience requires. Keith performs using ASL with interpreters providing a spoken translation for those in the audience who aren’t fluent in that form of communication. He also performs as a storyteller at festivals nationwide, telling his tales using ASL. Wann has appeared in several commercials and has had parts in a few television shows as well, including Law and Order.

One of the performers joining Keith for the Batavia stop of the tour will be Crom Saunders. Crom will be bringing parts of his own one-man show, “Cromania!” which tours nationwide, featuring over 40 different characters, comedy, improvisation, and storytelling, allowing audiences a glimpse into his warped imagination.

In addition to performing, Crom also has interpreted dozens of plays, from children’s theatre to musicals, including "Spamalot" and "Mamma Mia" and teaches ASL and theatrical workshops across the nation. He currently teaches ASL at University of Pittsburgh when he is not busy training his eyebrows for the rodeo.

Rounding out the trio at Genesee will be Francisco. For Francisco, learning American Sign Language was not enough; now he travels across the United States with Keith Wann and friends as a CODA-in-Law, entertaining audiences with his unique, if somewhat skewed, view of Deaf Culture.

“We are thrilled to have one of America’s funniest comedians return to Genesee,” Annette Blanchard, Advisor of Genesee’s Dactylology Club, said. “This is a unique opportunity for our students and the community to get a fun, yet truthful glimpse of a lifestyle they are currently learning about.”

For further information, visit www.keithwann.com or www.aslcomedytour.com. The event is sponsored by Genesee’s Dactylology Club, which studies signed languages. Tickets for the show are $20 presale, $25 at the door. Tickets can be purchased from any Dactylology Club member or online at www.aslcomedytour.com.

For more information about the Dactylology Club, call or text message Annette Blanchard at 716-560-3955, or by email: ablanchard@genesee.edu.