Television personality and comedian raises awareness about disabilities

PULLMAN -WSU’s Disability Awareness Association plans to bring two well-known entertainers to campus. Television personality Amy Roloff, a key character in TLC’s Little People, Big World, will talk about living with a disability at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 31, in WSU’s Todd Hall Auditorium, room 116. Comedienne Geri Jewell will perform and talk about her career at 7 p.m. Friday, April 3, in WSU’s Smith Center for Undergraduate Education (CUE), room 203.
Little People, Big World, a reality television series produced 2006, follows the six-member Roloff family living on a 34-acre farm near Portland, Ore. Many of the show’s episodes focus on the parents, Matt and Amy, and one of their sons, Zach, who all have dwarfism.
Episodes typically showcase one or more members of the Roloff family engaging in everyday activities such as shopping, athletics and dealing with household finances. The drama of the show arises from the fact that many of these activities are made more challenging due to the height of the dwarfs in the family — Matt and Amy are 4’1″ (124 cm), Zach is 4’4″ (132 cm). She has three other children of normal height.
Roloff, a graduate of Central Michigan University, is a member of the national non-profit organization called Little People of America. She also serves as a board member for the Dwarf Athletic Association of America. Outside of taping her show, Roloff keeps busy speaking on behalf of many organizations illuminating others to the reality of living with a disability. Her talk will be titled, “Motherhood with Amy Roloff”. WSU’s Student Entertainment Board is co-sponsoring this event.
Jewell began her career in comedy at The Comedy Store in 1978 and later became the first actor with a disability to have a permanent role on a prime time television series. She played Cousin Geri on the NBC sitcom The Facts of Life. Following that show she appeared on numerous others including The Great Space Coaster, the Emmy award winning movie Two of a Kind, Sesame Street, 21 Jump Street, Young and the Restless, Strong Medicine, and HBO hit series, Deadwood.
She is revered as an inspirational orator and combines the use of comedy to educate her audiences about disabilities. She has provided diversity training to Hewlett Packard, Master Foods, Johnson Wax, At&T and government agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the U.S. Treasury Department, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the U.S. Army. Occasionally she still performs comedy on shows such as Evening at the Improv and Stand Up Spotlight.
Her performance at WSU will be titled, “Laugh and Learn”. Everyone is invited to attend a reception and enjoy refreshments just prior to the presentation in the CUE atrium.
Admission for both events is $3 at the door or a food donation for the Whitman County Food Bank.

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