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VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

Comedian Tina Friml Challenges Stigma With Jokes About Her Disability

Local comedian Tina Friml performs at "Comedy And Crepes" at The Skinny Pancake in Burlington on Nov. 27, 2017.
Anna Ste. Marie
Local comedian Tina Friml performs at "Comedy And Crepes" at The Skinny Pancake in Burlington on Nov. 27, 2017.

Tina Friml, an up-and-coming local comedian, set the stage of a recent performance by describing herself as “a bit of an enigma.”  At age 24, she has quickly gained popularity for her unique — and almost taboo — style. She avoids some of the more typical comic fodder like dating and the workplace. Instead, Friml jokes about what it’s like to live with a disability.

In the opening minutes of a November performance at The Skinny Pancake in Burlington, she explained, “People don’t really know what's happening, they don’t really know what to say — but that doesn’t stop them.” Throughout her set, she made her audience both giggle and groan as she shared what it felt like to be the recipient of well-intended insults and described how she is perceived by strangers.

Friml has been performing stand-up for about a year, and in that time she has been featured in multiple showcases at the Vermont Comedy Club, performed at the Boston Comedy Arts Festival and Boston Comedy Chicks and even co-launched a monthly comedy and variety show called“Casual Friday Live” at the Marquis Theatre in Middlebury.

Friml spoke with Vermont Edition in December. She discussed how she got into comedy and how she developed her set. And she shared a few of her audiences’ favorite jokes.

Broadcast live on Monday, Feb. 12, 2018 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

Jane Lindholm is the host, executive producer and creator of But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids. In addition to her work on our international kids show, she produces special projects for Vermont Public. Until March 2021, she was host and editor of the award-winning Vermont Public program Vermont Edition.
Anna Ste. Marie joined the organization in early 2017 in the Marketing & Engagement department. She got her start as an intern for Vermont Edition while receiving her B.A. in Media Studies, Journalism, and Digital Arts from St. Michael’s College in 2016. Anna is a lifelong Vermonter, hailing from the Northeast Kingdom. She loves flowers, cats, TikTok, crafts and the juiciest reality TV drama.
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