Deaf comedian shares experience in ‘Sign and Smiles’

Deaf comedian Andrew Fisher brings smiles and laughter to the crowd Oct. 12 in Morgan Auditorium in an event hosted by CAB. Along with cracking jokes, Fisher shared awareness about deaf culture in his stand-up show by teaching the audience simple American Sign Language signs. / photo by Amanda Torres
Deaf comedian Andrew Fisher brings smiles and laughter to the crowd Oct. 12 in Morgan Auditorium in an event hosted by CAB. Along with cracking jokes, Fisher shared awareness about deaf culture in his stand-up show by teaching the audience simple American Sign Language signs. / photo by Amanda Torres

April Cambero
Staff Writer 

An intimate audience of 25 La Verne community members learned about American sign language and deaf culture from New York comedian Andrew Fisher, who presented “Sign and Smiles,” a combination lecture and comedy act held Oct. 5 in the Morgan Auditorium.

Fisher presented in American sign language with an English interpreter. 

He talked about his life experiences in a comedic manner recounting memorable moments.

Students watched and listened as Fisher related with the audience about hating California and liking Shake Shack over In-N-Out. 

Fisher interacted with students with his own short films and ASL lessons through an illustrated Powerpoint.

He demonstrated how to communicate different basic phrases in ASL, including “How are you?” and “Hell yes!”

Students took their index finger and middle finger and tapped it to their thumb to communicate “no” when asked if they liked Los Angeles. 

Through jokes and anecdotes, Fisher explained certain aspects of being deaf that some of the students were unaware of, such as candidness.

Fisher also showed a short film, which displayed some of the difficulties in communication between deaf and hearing communities.

The film captured the audience’s attention with most actors communicating primarily through ASL. It was a memorable mark during his performance and stuck with some students.

“I thought it was cool to see how many assumptions can be made about you, so I thought it was a really interesting way to see it,” said Victoria Quintero, freshman business administration major.

Fisher’s message about inclusivity for disabled comedians was apparent throughout his performance. He uses these techniques in his own performance to demonstrate feasible ways to make everyone feel included.

He also explained how complex deaf culture can be. Every environment has their own deaf culture and they vary from place to place. 

“Deaf culture (is) very intersectional,” Fisher said.

For example, pizza in the suburbs of New York is not signed the same way in New York City. Another example Fisher demonstrated is the word “bullshit.” In ASL, they have shortened the sign to make it more accessible by only using a one handed sign rather than using both hands.

“The bottom line is that what we all share in value is that we are proud of being deaf,” Fisher said. 

Fisher has performed for comedy clubs and universities for about 12 years. 

“I really wanted to put on an event that highlighted deaf and ASL culture and gave them a spotlight and representation,” said Machaela Mclain, junior criminology major who coordinated the event for the Campus Activities Board. 

“I saw the post and thought it would be interesting, I’ve personally never met someone who is deaf, just seen on Instagram, so that can always be a new experience,” added Nicole Singer, freshman business administration, who attended the event. 

April Cambero can be reached at april.cambero@laverne.edu.

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