Kathy Buckley: No Labels, No Limits! Review

Kathy Buckley: No Labels, No Limits!

Video Review 
by Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, 
Maryland School for the Deaf

© 2003

Kathy Buckley: No Labels, No Limits!
VHS, 72 minutes, ASL, close-captioned

Available from:

PBS Home Video

Kathy Buckley, “America’s first hearing impaired comedienne” gives a funny, touching, inspiring performance in this PBS special. That Buckley also works as a motivational speaker will surprise no one after she shares the story of her battle to overcome cervical cancer, sexual abuse, multiple life-threatening accidents, and the negative labels imposed upon her by others. Buckley, who relies mainly on speech-reading and hearing aids, tells her story in English, but occasionally signs as she speaks. She mines humor from even the most dreadful of her life experiences (“I had my last rites given to me five different times. Can you imagine, if I could’ve heard, where the hell I’d be right now?”). Much of her humor comes from her experience with her hearing loss, whether it was the adults in her life finally figuring it out when she was eight years old (“And they called me slow?”) or the joys and frustrations of discovering new sounds with her lately-gotten hearing aids. Much of Buckley’s humor, however, does not stem from her hearing or lack of it, and tackles such topics as dating, human foibles, and flat-chestedness. Underpinning it all, however, is a strong message of hope and taking responsibility for one’s own life. “How dare you say I cannot talk!” Buckley rants at one point. “How dare you say I cannot walk!...How dare me for listening to you!” With a deadpan delivery and a straightforward acceptance of the disabilities in all of us, this video is sure to inspire and amuse anyone, deaf or hearing.


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