As Dan Hurwitz carried out stand-up comedy across the state, he noticed that there have been plenty of nights centered round folks of coloration and LGBTQ+ folks. However he by no means noticed a present with a concentrate on folks with disabilities.
“We needed to create our personal area in the identical means that different teams have created area for themselves,” he stated. “Comedy and artwork can actually join folks.” So along with one other native comic, Kayla Brown, he began a collective of artists with disabilities known as The Disabled Checklist. From invisibility, The Disabled Checklist has constructed a neighborhood that may assist its personal comedy pageant, occurring for the primary time Jan. 27-28. So far as they know, theirs is the primary disability-focused comedy pageant within the Pacific Northwest.
The Disabled Checklist Comedy Pageant, at Northwest Movie Discussion board, will function New York-based headliner Gibran Saleem and Seattle-based activist-rapper King Khazm as musical visitor, supported by a unique lineup of native and regional comedians every evening. Everybody who will take the stage on the pageant lives with some type of incapacity, together with each seen disabilities like utilizing a wheelchair and invisible ones like autism. However that’s the solely factor the various lineup has in widespread, and audiences can anticipate the identical selection within the routines as at some other comedy pageant.
“I assume that each one the comedians will contact on incapacity. Incapacity is part of all our identities, nevertheless it’s not the one half,” stated Hurwitz.
The Disabled Checklist began by internet hosting comedy exhibits that includes performers with disabilities on the now-defunct Pocket Theater in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood in 2019. They obtained a 4Culture grant to host a comedy pageant, however when the pandemic hit, each initiatives skidded to a halt. As a substitute of a pageant, they made a brief movie. “This Is Spinal Damage” is a mockumentary about disabled comedians making an attempt to plan a pageant throughout a pandemic. The movie premiered on the Native Sightings Movie Pageant hosted at Northwest Movie Discussion board in 2021. NWFF now homes month-to-month The Disabled Checklist comedy nights.
“We attempt to be an incubator, to offer a possibility to individuals who did not have a discussion board or outlet,” says Hurwitz. This month, Hurwitz and Brown will co-host the long-delayed comedy pageant at NWFF. Along with the headliner and musical set, Friday evening’s present will function 4 native acts; Saturday’s will open with a screening of “This Is Spinal Damage” and embody three native acts.
The lineup consists of Seattle scene regulars “Gretta Gimp” and Seattle Worldwide Comedy Competitors veteran Cheri Hardman, in addition to Crystal Liston, who obtained her begin in comedy with The Disabled Checklist.
With the pageant, The Disabled Checklist is making an attempt to make either side of the stage extra accessible. Along with offering a platform for disabled performers, they’re making an attempt to lift the bar for requirements of viewers accessibility. The pageant is totally wheelchair accessible, with ASL interpretation and dwell captions.
“I do hope this pageant can encourage folks to be extra intentional about making their exhibits accessible. By not being intentional, we exclude so many individuals from participation within the arts and pleasure of the humanities,” he stated.
As for the content material, “we place a premium on not being hateful. These performers are all folks we belief to not be jerks,” Hurwitz stated. “However there’s edginess.” Audiences can anticipate intercourse jokes, and Disabled Checklist performers should not afraid to speak about taboo topics like suicide.
Somewhat than edginess, what Hurwitz says makes The Disabled Checklist attention-grabbing is perspective. He relates his personal expertise of the primary time he noticed a deaf actor carry out stand-up.
“As a result of she had a perspective I might by no means seen earlier than it made issues totally different and recent and new.” That is what he hopes audiences can expertise at The Disabled Checklist Comedy Pageant.