Your hands are dirty!
Deaf comics Jason Norman and Doug Ridloff give you the @!!&$*#!ing fingers
Thu Dec 15 2005
SIGN OF THE TIMES Norman, left, and Ridloff exchange digits.Photo: Federica Paoletti
Deaf comedian Doug Ridloff doesn't communicate with spoken words, but as he hopped frantically on stage at the Bowery Poetry Club with his face all screwed up, it was readily apparent that needing to urinate really badly is a universal language. The American Sign Language association has held events at the club for three years, but on the night before Thanksgiving, it offered a first: "ASL in the Raw," an evening of filthy humor by Ridloff and his comedy partner, Jason Norman. They and their guests signed and acted out scatological jokes for an appreciative, mostly deaf audience. As the comedians' hands moved furiously, they soon matched The Aristocrats profanity for profanity.
Ridloff, a Queens native with a shaved head and rubbery limbs, and Norman, a bespectacled Bronx resident, both work as teachers by day. In addition to their profession, they share a passion for presenting a less-sanitized, more-adult brand of humor that comes from the deaf community.
"It's definitely more fun working blue," Norman says in an e-mail. "Doug and I want to break boundaries in the deaf community, and I think our [edgy jokes] have a strong appeal for both deaf and non-deaf people." (A translator spoke the jokes for the non-hearing-impaired.)
Bowery Artistic Director Bob Holman plans an encore bawdy night due to the positive response the first one received. As Ridloff says: "The audience was shocked, horny and happy."
For more info about ASL events at the Bowery Poetry Club, call 212-614-0505.