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Whats So Funny About Deafness? Meet Kathy Buckley

Shes funny. Very funny.

Shes also an award-winning actress, accomplished author, renowned motivational speaker and humanitarian.

Shes been nominated five times for the American Comedy Award, appeared on Touched by an Angel and wrote and performs her one-women show, Dont Buck with Me/Now Hear This off Broadway in New York.

More? Kathy received the CINE Golden Eagle Award for writing and producing the PBS special, No Labels, No Limits and the Media Access Award for Outstanding Television Special.

Oh, yeah, shes deaf, too. Not funny? It is when Kathy takes the stage to describe her experiences as a survivor.

If You Could Hear What I See

Kathys book, If You Could Hear What I See will have you laughing and crying, inspired by this truly remarkable performer. Growing up in small-town Ohio, Kathys parents failed to tell her she was deaf. At age 8, I still assumed everyone heard the same way I did.

She was totally mis-diagnosed as mentally impaired and placed outside the mainstream track in school until it was finally determined that Kathy wasnt learning impaired, she was hearing impaired. She was also sexually molested as a child. So, youd think that would be enough misery and misunderstanding for one individual.

But Kathy Buckley still had challenges in front of her. At the age of 20, while sun-bathing, this inspirational speaker was run over by a life guard driving a Jeep. She was completely disabled for five years, three of which she spent as a paraplegic. The doctors told me Id never walk again, but I didnt hear them so I got up and left, she proclaims in her stand-up routine. However, there was more to come.

At 27, Kathy was diagnosed with cervical cancer. After having one operation, Kathy rejected a second trip to the operating room. I decided to take that incredible gift called choice." She changed diets and her life, most notably confronting the man who'd molested her as a child.

She describes affectingly the experience of finding her first effective hearing aid. The two-thirds of the way through her tale she, somewhat surprisingly, (as the memoir up to here is more sober than funny), explains that since she'd always used laughter to win people over, she went into comedy and soon added motivational speaking to her performance repertoire. Her message: "get over it and get on with... life."
- from Publishers Weekly

According to Kathys web site, Success, however, in the theater or any other medium, was far from mind the first time Kathy stood the world of comedy on its ear. On a dare from a friend, she entered a comedy contest called, "Stand-up Comic Take a Stand", in 1988. She was nervous. Not because it was her first time performing comedy on a stage or even the fact that she couldn't hear the audience response except by vibration from the stage floor. What made her nervous was discovering that she was competing against comedians who had been in the business for years.

Since then, Kathy has been playing premier venues like The Improv, The Laugh Factory (both Hollywood fixtures), Catch a Rising Star and other sites where shes received rave reviews from critics and patrons with a funny bone. People magazine wrote, She mines almost every one of her tragedies for laughs and eventually hits pay dirt. Dont Buck [With Me] is just one step in a virtually timeless career.

From Kathy Buckleys stand-up routine

I havent had a date in three years. I dont know if I cant hear the phone ring or what!

Yes, its true. I am hearing impaired. Im not deaf. I just dont listen.

When I was 20 years old I got run over by a life guard jeep. Talk about not knowing what your job description is!

It isnt easy finding humor in misfortune but Kathy Buckley has succeeded in learning to laugh at herself and the hearing world. Both are targets in her stand-up routines. But more importantly, this remarkable woman has turned to motivational speaking, as well as stand-up.

Shes inspired thousands with the misunderstandings and misfortunes that have been part of her young life. The points in her motivational presentations are straightforward.

  • Deaf people arent dumb.
  • Choose to be positive.
  • Bring forth the best in YOU.
  • Take the dis out of disability.
  • Get over it and get on with life.

Considering all that Kathy Buckley has been through, it might be hard to understand where this remarkable person finds the strength to carry on. Well, not only does she carry on, she inspires others to do the same.

Ex-Secretary of State, Colin Powell, summed up the impact Kathy Buckley has on all she encounters. You are an inspiration.

We totally agree.

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