Disabled comedian reads deeper into “Family Guy,” “South Park”


The legless stand-up comedian, Matt Glowacki, kept an audience of about 250 rapt with attention Wednesday night in the K-State Student Union Ballroom with his show, “Diversity according to South Park and Family Guy.”

If children are going to watch 30-55 hours of television a week, they should at least be aware of the hidden meanings behind their favorite shows, he said, referencing the satirical undertones of the pop-culture cartoons.

“Family Guy” for example, is a satire of “All in the Family;” a popular 1970s sitcom known for polarizing audiences between those who understood its blatant and satirical discrimination and those who took its discrimination at face value. “Family Guy” audiences are similarly polarized.

Glowacki illustrated his point by showing clips from the shows that addressed discrimination of black people, handicapped people and fat people that audience members might have misinterpreted when they saw them on TV. He then seguewayed audience laughter into an informative discussion about addressing ignorance of minorities with sensitivity. He gave examples of what an ignorant question would sound like; such as, asking a disabled person if they can or cannot drive a vehicle or compete in athletics.

“I want you to assume I can do whatever it is you’re going to ask if I can do,” Glowacki said. “You should have high expectations for people with disabilities.”

Not only can 36-year-old Glowacki drive a car, but he was a Paralympic athlete, owns three businesses and tours the U.S. with his diversity program.

His program focused on the power people give words like “handicapped” and “the n-word,” a phrase he said originated in the first O.J. Simpson trial when the media was trying to quote a racist lawyer.

“A word is just a word until someone says it’s a bad word,” he said. “Language is the agreement of the meaning of words.”

Glowacki said the best time to influence people who use hateful language is in small groups of friends, since it seems everyone has a friend who uses offensive language. He suggested audience members use shows like “Family Guy” and “South Park” to make such confrontations easier with humor.

“It was eye opening,” said Kelsey Donahue, junior in public relations. “He pointed out a lot of good meanings you don’t normally assume are under there are when you’re watching shows like that. [He] really encouraged us to look at things from a different perspective.”

Glowacki is in the business of engineering custom wheelchairs for disabled athletes around the world as well as teaching disabled war veterans how to regain their confidence by playing sports again. He said more people should consider using their talents to help assimilate people with acquired disabilities into society because of the wars in Iraq and Afganistan.

“There is a 1:12 death-to-violence ratio, which means that out of every 12 people injured in war, only one dies,” Glowacki said. “One-third of veterans have already applied for disability.”

City employee Greg Weber said he decided to come to “Diversity According to South Park and Family Guy” without knowledge of Glowacki’s perspective on the topic of diversity.

“When I first saw the poster, I had no idea he didn’t have legs,” Weber said. “You assume everyone you hear speak will have legs, but when I saw that he didn’t, it wasn’t an issue. He made an excellent point. His name isn’t ‘Handicapped’ — it’s Matt.”

$1,600 recommendation for the Society for Appreciation of Bharatiya Heritage and Arts to bring two musicians to play on campus.

Both are requesting funds twice from the Senate for different upcoming events. If passed, total allocations to CNV would amount to $250. Total allocations to SABHA would amount to $2,800.

Other allocations include $200 to Students for Choice, $365 to Episcopal Church Student Group, $300 to Zeta Phi Beta sorority, $150 to Wildcats Against Rape, $500 to Golden Key International Honour Society, $200 to Kansas Music Teachers Association, $600 to Sigma Alpha Iota music fraternity and $1,440 to Ordinary Women.

The amendments are to the SGA Statutes and Student Senate Standing Rules. Amendments to the statues focus on the removal of words “student” and “campus” from privilege fee regulations.

Amendments to the standing rules are a continue the implementation of the title change from “Senate Chair” to “Speaker of the Student Senate.”

And lastly, a resolution will be voted on that, if passed, would make childcare and child development a K-State priority.

detention, Seaweed teaches Tracy to dance. The next evening at the high school dance, Tracy and Seaweed discover the guest emcee is Corny Collins from “The Corny Collins Show.” Tracy shows off her dance moves and is eventually invited to fill the spot on the show.

“[The musical] is all about having this show that has all the preppies, the white goody goodies from the right families,” said Thomas Jackson, assistant director of McCain Auditorium. “Then all of the sudden the show has these people of different styles and different colors, so there’s a strong message that’s underlying the whole thing,”

Throughout the musical, Tracy is forced to choose between a TV career and her dream of desegregating the show. As the show progressed, Tracy found herself in jail for protesting, in solitary confinement and eventually on the run as an escaped criminal.

“What appeals so much is that it’s a root for the underdog story,” Jackson said.

In the final scene, the audience witnessed Tracy sneak onto “The Corny Collins Show” to compete for the title of “Mrs. Teen Hairspray.”

Cathy Leonard, local Manhattan resident, said the show was the “second-best musical” she had ever seen and praised its “amazing vocals.”

Simpson said he really enjoyed the show as well and dubbed the orchestra pit’s performance “phenomenal.”

“It’s a touching show,” he said. “It can really chance your outlook on life.”