Friday, 21 September 2012
A Deaf comedian...
CJ Jones is a man of many talents. A glance at his comedic act on YouTube shows a man who likes to pantomime, and bust out the occasional rap song. Yet while he can certainly vocalize his thoughts, sign language is his primary method of communication. "I was born hearing, so i grew up hearing, but when I was seven-years-old, I got spinal meningitis, and that caused my deafness," Jones said through an interpreter.
However, he hasn't let the fact that he's deaf stop him from performing. Jones spoke to 12 News Thursday afternoon at North Hennepin Community College before his evening performance. "I love to watch other people laugh," Jones admitted. "That's one of my favorite things to do. I feel so good to make other people laugh and see them laugh and have fun." But his act isn't only about making people laugh.
Jones uses his performances as a teaching tool to educate people about the deaf culture. "I think there's so many people that don't know," Jones added. "And it's opening up their minds, and we can all become knowledgeable at the same thing and send a message to the world who we are." That's one reason why American Sign Language Professor Diane McDonagh wanted to bring Jones to the campus after seeing him perform at another college.
"The inspiration I found was within his language and facial expression," McDonagh said through an interpreter. "Just sitting there and watching him I felt happy, and I laughed and I felt connected, felt like I could just completely understand him, it was just perfect." Jones hopes others feel the same way.
And ultimately, he wants to inspire, as well as open doors, for others just like him. "I like to see people's attitudes – their minds, their hearts, open, encouraged and supported," Jones said. "I want them to believe that they can do anything, even people in a wheelchair, if they're blind, it doesn't' matter what their issue is."