Playing to a full house in Anspach 161 last night, comedian Keith Wann performed his unique brand of comedy using a combination of American Sign Language storytelling and spoken English.
The event was part of Deaf Awareness Week, which is sponsored by the Central Michigan University American Sign Language Society.
“I saw him three years ago when he was here,” ASLS President Emily Thilhorn said. “When I heard he was coming back, I was so excited.”
The Cheboygan senior said the show went well and the turnout was better than the group had expected.
Wann was born without a hearing disability, but his parents are both deaf. He learned sign language at a young age to communicate with them and their friends.
“I grew up in the deaf world,” Wann said. “When I got older, I learned there are a lot of differences between the deaf world and the hearing world.”
Wann’s routine revolved around these differences and the humorous misunderstandings that can result when the hearing and deaf communities interact. Most of the stories he told were based on his experiences growing up in a deaf-hearing environment.
Interpreters at the event translated all of the sign language into English for the hearing and all of the English into sign language for the deaf audience members.
Chatham sophomore Alex Freebird, who is minoring in ASL, came to the comedy show for one of his classes.
“I really liked how descriptive he was with his signing,” Freebird said.
The show included a game called “Surrogates,” where volunteers from the audience came on stage to act out scenarios described by Wann. He also brought two ASL students on stage and taught them to act out song lyrics in sign language.
“The whole thing was hilarious,” DeWitt senior Elizabeth Fedewa said. “I was expecting it to be funny, but not this funny.”