My name is Rinkoo Barpaga and I am Deaf and use British sign language. I am known as a Deaf stand up Comedian. I have a solo show that’s tell my story. It’s called “Am I Funny” I now want to tour the show again. Please book the show, audiences really like what I do. The show was presented in small venues and was nearly sold out in all but one. They include Arena Wolverhampton, Mac Birmingham and Tristam Bates Theatre Camden, London. The show lasts 1 hour 10 minutes. I use British Sign Language and the performance is interpreted into English – spoken word by an interpreter.
‘Am I Funny?’, focuses on Deaf identity and experiences. I grew up in Birmingham, and I have often wondered why there are so few Deaf comedians, and also why comedy is so important for Deaf people. The show is my life story, and explains about how I became involved in comedy, going back to my experiences at school, work, and becoming a stand-up comedian.
My material is based on real experiences from my own life. These include from my home, from the Deaf world, from living across cultures, and from living through the Eighties and the Thatcher era. Some details are informed by other Deaf people’s life experiences as well.
My show is different because there are very few Deaf stand-up comedians and I think I am the only solo Deaf performer throughout my theatre network. Also I am interested in my show reaching a mainstream audience. I think my show may the first of a Deaf solo performer targeted at a mainstream audience in Britain. I received Arts Council England funding to travel to the USA to develop my work as a professional stand-up comedian, and have become an independent performer in the UK.
I would say that the show is very true to real life. I have adjusted my signing to make it more visually appealing and more slapstick to a hearing audience but the content is all true. The show is presented in British Sign Language and is translated into English voiceover by a sign language interpreter with a Black Country accent, as I myself am from Birmingham. I think a hearing audience might watch me signing and feel that it is slapstick comedy, whereas a Deaf audience would just think it was storytelling; it’s interesting that it might be perceived differently by different audience members.
The show is about my Deaf identity and experiences. The tickets for my show are selling fast at venues such as Birmingham Mac, Wolverhampton Arena, Etcetera Theatre, Tristan Bates Theatre etc. Most performances are already sold out.
“Rinkoo Barpaga is a born comedian and an engaging and daring performer.” – American Comedy Institute
“Rinkoo is one of the most exciting new talents out there, with an original ‘voice’.” – The Limping Chicken