99 Problems and Palsy's Just One

Maysoon Zayid is an actress, comedian, and activist who is unflinchingly hilarious, incredibly smart, and oh yeah, happens to have cerebral palsy. I dare you to feel sorry for her after watching her amazing TED Talk. She states at the beginning of the video that she’s not an inspiration, but she does have such a refreshing and straight-forward approach to her condition that it’s hard to not see her that way. Maybe she shouldn’t be seen as a “credit to the disabled community”, but she is an awesome person. You may have seen Maysoon in her one woman show for Comedy Central “Little American Whore”, or on the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour, or her many TV appearances. maysoonzayid3 If you’ve seen her comedy you’ll realize that she doesn’t have a “cerebral palsy gimmick”. Several comedians have these gimmicks, and it doesn’t make them less funny, just a bit less faceted. She can include anecdotes about her affliction into her act but she is just as funny without it. She says that people with disabilities are the largest minority in the world, a statistic that I don’t doubt, and that they are the most underrepresented in entertainment. On top of that, the negative stigma towards the disabled is astounding; Maysoon’s own experience with online commenters is just awful. The doctor’s said that she wouldn’t walk, but she’s tap-danced on Broadway. Inspiration or not, you decide.

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