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January 26, 2006

Comedian Keith Wann brings humor to CODA experiences through shows and DVD

From: Keith Wann - Jan 26, 2006

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Comedian Keith Wann brings humor to CODA experiences through shows and DVD

Sacramento, CA – As a child of deaf adults (CODA), Keith Wann grew up thinking everyone knew American Sign Language. When he began school with other hearing people, he was in for culture shock. “I thought hearing people were handicapped because they did not know how to sign or express themselves the right way by using body language and facial grammar. I learned for the first time to watch television with the sound on.  I learned to not be as blunt or direct in the hearing world as sign language is in the Deaf community,” Wann said.

These experiences have evolved into a show, Watching Two Worlds Collide. “My show describes my experiences of growing up as a hearing child with deaf adults and about learning what it means to live in two worlds, Deaf and hearing. I use humor to show clashes between the two worlds, sometimes unintentional and sometimes encouraged by a mischievous child,” said Wann. “I don't know how it feels to have hearing parents.  I don't know how it feels to not be asked, ‘Your parents are deaf? Can they drive a car?’ To me, being a CODA is normal and everyone else had a unique childhood.”

The show explores Wann’s relationship with his parents and the world at large, often causing audience members to gasp in shock and then cracking up in laughter. “Although my show sometimes is off the wall, it’s about truly discovering that my parents were considered different than my friends’ parents, and trying to use that to my advantage to get away with trouble, but in the end realizing parents are all the same, and they always know best. It is also about learning to live simultaneously in these two worlds with different cultures and balancing between the two, sometimes as an ambassador and sometimes as an observer,” Wann explained.

The show has two versions, one that is suitable for all ages, and one more suitable for adult audiences. A notable aspect about his show is that Wann signs during every show rather than voicing for himself, making the show fully accessible to his parents, CODAs and the Deaf community.

But what has made Wann’s performances so popular is the humor in the show. “[It’s] a true hilarious replay of a CODA boy's experience in which we would not dare want the world to see unless you’re that curious,” said Molly Bowen, a CODA and interpreter from Sacramento, who thought during Wann’s show, “Oh my God, what's he doing? He is exposing me and my brother's CODA experiences, which are truly hilarious!”

Wann has also released a new DVD of Watching Two Worlds Collide, containing many skits that are in his performances. “Skits include growing up with deaf technology, public schools, becoming an interpreter, and the scary experience of being in the back seat while deaf people drive.  It also ends with the famous rap song skit that I do and the frustrated interpreter,” he said. “People can go to my web site to watch clips from the DVD and get a great preview of what they can expect.”

The DVD, ideal for interpreters wanting to practice their voicing skills, provides stories incorporating American Sign Language components, such as role shifting, facial expressions and spatial references. Additionally, Wann says, “This DVD is also great for Deaf people to show their own CODAs who are growing up and may think they’re ‘different’, that we’re all the same – crazy and full of fun!”

The Watching Two Worlds Collide DVD, which is 85 minutes long with voice-overs, is available for $25 (including shipping and handling). For more information on Keith’s shows or to order the DVD, please visit

About Keith Wann
Keith Wann is an acclaimed ASL performing artist who has been captivating and amusing Deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing audiences for years.  One of the funniest sign-language comics in America, he is renowned for his performances in the ASL comedy group, ICEWORM, and for his interpreting work. He is also involved with a new performing group, CAKE. His site is at

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