I chatted with local comic Donnie Stengstack about his comedy style and speech impediment.
Q: Where did you grow up?
Q: How did your speech impediment hinder you growing up?
It wasn’t a terrible hindrance. If anyone ever bothered me about it, I would just make a joke out of it. They would usually just leave it alone.
Q: How did you get into comedy?
I loved comedy for as long as I could remember. My grandfather started paying for my subscription to MAD Magazine as soon as I could read. I first saw stand up on Comedy Central when I wa sin middle school, and I was amazed that just being funny was a job that a person could have.
Q: Who is your favorite comedian?
It changes a lot, but I think right now it’s John Mulaney.
Q: Has your speech impediment come in handy joke wise?
It does have it’s perks. I have found that I need to address it in the beginning of my set, otherwise I will almost always lose the audience. They think I’m just unprepared and nervous, or even that I’m faking a stutter. But when I address it at the top of my set and make jokes about it, the crowd will usually be very attentive which definitely helps to make my sets go well.
Q: Where do you find your material?
I mostly write jokes about my life and things that happen to me. Being a person who stutters, stuttering plays a big role in my life so I tend to write jokes about situations that arise because of my stutter. But that is not my whole life. I’m also a young 20 year old kid in college, so I’ll write jokes about those things too.
Q: What is your favorite part of performing stand up?
I love when a brand new jokes goes really well. Before I tell a joke for the time, I’m always hesitant because I don’t know how an audience will respond. Sometimes it’s bad. But other times, the response is a great, and it’s a big relief. It feels great to know that a group of people really like the crazy idea you had in the back of your head, and now you can add it to your set to build your act.
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