Aidan Greene, a comedian from Cavan, is breaking barriers in his profession. Despite having a stammer, Aidan has embraced it and turned it into a unique selling point in his stand-up comedy. In honor of International Stammerer’s Day, Aidan will be celebrating his stammer in his one-man show titled “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Stutter.” Aidan’s journey into comedy began when a friend dismissed his aspirations, claiming that Aidan couldn’t do comedy because of his stammer. This spurred Aidan into action, and he performed his first gig at Dublin’s Twisted Pepper in 2010, proudly showcasing his stammer. Since then, Aidan has performed at various festivals, comedy clubs, and venues worldwide, including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Vicar Street.
As a child, Aidan was confident and even played lead roles in school plays. However, around the age of twelve or thirteen, his stammer became more pronounced, causing him to struggle with certain words. Aidan was told that he would stammer for the rest of his life and felt there were no successful examples of people with stammers. This belief led him to hide his stammer for years. However, after a conversation with a friend who offered tough love, Aidan realized that he could live with his stammer and even use it to his advantage. During his first stand-up performance, Aidan turned his stammer into his first joke, offering a unique perspective that resonated with audiences.
While most people would find getting on stage daunting, Aidan actually finds it easier than simple tasks like making a phone call or ordering coffee. He explains that stand-up comedy is not what gives him confidence; rather, it is a manifestation of the confidence he has always had in himself. Aidan is one of an estimated fifty thousand people with a stammer in Ireland. The Irish Stammering Association states that stuttering affects individuals of all ages and manifests differently. Some experience repetition, while others struggle with prolongations or blocking. The cause of stammering is still unknown, but it is believed to be influenced by various factors, including environment, emotion, psychology, and family history.
Veronica Lynch, a 65-year-old woman who has stammered since the age of three, explains that one misconception about stammering is that people who stammer do so all the time. She highlights that situations where clear and articulate speech is necessary, such as in banks or places of authority, can be particularly challenging for individuals with stammers. Some people may not stammer around friends because they feel comfortable and accepted, while others may stammer more in those situations due to a lack of judgment. Veronica’s own experience with stammering led her to hide it and avoid speaking as much as possible. However, when her youngest daughter, Bevin, also started stammering, Veronica realized the importance of embracing and being open about their shared trait.
Veronica decided to work on unwinding the negative thoughts and feelings she had about stammering, not only for herself but also for her daughter. This decision has had a positive impact on both of them. In 2021, Bevin started her own blog and Instagram page called “My Stutter and I,” where she shares her story and raises awareness about stammering. Aidan, Veronica, and Bevin are all examples of individuals who have embraced their stammers and are working to create a more inclusive and understanding society.
In a world where differences are often seen as obstacles, people like Aidan, Veronica, and Bevin are breaking barriers and challenging societal norms. They are showing that stammering does not define a person’s capabilities or limit their potential for success. Instead, it can be embraced as a unique characteristic that adds depth and perspective to their lives and work. Through comedy, storytelling, and advocacy, they are creating a more inclusive and accepting world for individuals with stammers.