About "That Deaf Guy"
Desmond is the lead character. He is profoundly Deaf and uses American Sign Language. He is easy-going, lovable, and is patient beyond reason. He loves his family and the Deaf community but what runs a close second is his love for coffee.
Helen, is Desmond’s wife who can hear. She is a sign language interpreter. She is not as patient as Desmond and gets tired of a world where people ask her some of the most insulting questions about her husband. She is a good wife and mother to their son, Cedric. In her free time you can almost always see her knitting or donning old school curlers in her hair.
Cedric, is the KODA (Kid of a Deaf Adult) with all attitude. Cedric is not afraid to say what he is thinking. He is quick witted and a bit sassy. He is also not afraid to put adults in their place when it comes to his father. He is fiercely loyal to his family. However, he tries to take complete advantage of his father’s inability to hear his shenanigans.
About The Creators of "That Deaf Guy"
Matt and Kay Daigle (bios below) are the husband and wife creators of the webcomic ”That Deaf Guy” which launched in 2010. Their primary reason for developing the comic strip was to make the Deaf community laugh.
“As a deaf and hearing couple we realized our unique experience whether at home or in public, was perfect fodder for a comic strip. When we met Lynn Johnston of famed “For Better or For Worse” and Mike Peters of “Mother Goose and Grimm” at a comic convention they encouraged us to create a comic strip based on our lives and that was the inspiration for ‘That Deaf Guy’.”
The comic strip ran from 2010-2016, then went on hiatus for Matt to pursue other art venues and a Masters degree in Sign Language Education.
The return of “That Deaf Guy” took place in January 2021. Matt and Kay are thrilled to start breathing new life into the comic strip, and look forward to providing the Deaf community with many more cartoons to laugh at and enjoy for years to come.
The comic strip “That Deaf Guy” is a labor of love and will be posted on social media when time permits with no specific set schedule.
The Creators' bios
Co-creator, Cartoonist, Co-writer
Matt was born profoundly deaf to a hearing family in San Antonio, Texas in 1971 as the result of Ushers Syndrome. His father Wade, was an Occupational Therapist in the military, therefore the family moved frequently. These military relocations gave Matt the opportunity to experience different educational programs for the deaf all over the nation. In the beginning, many of these programs supported the medical approach to deafness which encouraged the use of lip reading and speech therapy. However, in 4th grade his parents insisted that he gain better access to the educational curriculum by being taught sign language and utilizing an interpreter in the classroom. While the sign language he was taught was more English based (Total Communication) it was better than trying to read lips and for Matt this was when his world opened up and his life changed. “I had no idea all these years that there was this box on the wall of my classroom that made announcements to all the students every morning! I had no idea was I was missing!”
In 1990, Matt entered The National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) in Rochester, New York and majored in Industrial Design which he quickly abandoned due to a lack of interest. It was there that he saw a group of NTID traveling performers called “Sunshine Too” which comprised of three deaf and three hearing performers. “I took one look at that group and I knew I had to audition”.
Having been denied the opportunity to participate in theater while he was in high school, Matt jumped at the chance to travel with the group when he was offered the job. It was in that traveling group that Matt met his future partner and wife, Kay Oldfather.
In the years that followed, Matt received his BA in Advertising Design from Northern State University in Aberdeen South Dakota where he won multiple awards for his designs. It was in South Dakota when he was employed by Communication Services for the Deaf as the Art Media Manager and Humor Editor for their publication SigNews that his cartooning career took off. Matt began to create cartoons for the newspaper and quickly gained a following. “It was a great time for me to explore what I could do with cartooning, honing my style and creating new content and themes that reflected my world. It was freeing and a lot of fun”. From these publications Matt published his first books, “In Deaf Culture (2005), and “Extreme Interpreting” (2005).
Then in 2005 Matt and Kay gave birth to their son, Hayden and Matt resigned from his position with Communication Services for the Deaf, in order to stay home with their newborn and create his own graphic design business. It was during his time at home that he was encouraged to enter an International Icon competition for breastfeeding mothers. His icon was voted on and won out of over 800 entries. See the icon here at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_breastfeeding_symbol
In 2008, Matt and his family moved to Los Angeles, California to pursue more opportunities in the arts. Three years later, Matt and Kay launched their webcomic,“That Deaf Guy”. The idea to combine Matt’s artistic craftsmanship and Kay’s comedy writing and storytelling came later but it proved to be a perfect working relationship. “Kay and I have always had such a fun time working together. We enjoy one another’s company creating something that reflects our unique take on life”.
“That Deaf Guy” took a 5 year hiatus while Matt was pursuing other artistic venues and his Masters in Sign Language Education from Gallaudet University. He received his degree in 2019. Besides continuing his work as a graphic designer (Sorenson Communication Buzzstickers) and as a cartoonist for Gallaudet Publications, Matt is also an American Sign Language Instructor at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). “Art can be very isolating, I had to find a job where I was around people more, especially Deaf people.” Matt applied and was accepted to CSUN Deaf Studies program in 2017 and has been a part-time professor there since.
Click here to view Matt’s online portfolio: www.mattdaigle.com
Click here to learn more about Ushers Syndrome: www.usher-syndrome.org
Kay was born in Monticello, Iowa, the baby of 8 children. Her ability to tell stories and create comedy sketches began at an early age. “Carol Burnett and Lucy were my favorite comedians. They were my comedy idols. I knew if they could do it then I could too. Having 7 brothers and sisters and a whole neighborhood of kids was great. I had a built in audience.” Kay’s family moved to Arkansas in 1976 for her father’s work and Kay was immediately introduced to the local theme parks where she would later get her first acting job. “I knew nothing about acting but I knew comedy. I wrote and performed my own sketch and got cast to play one of Al Capp’s comic strip characters from Lil’ Abner. I played such characters as Nightmare Alice, and Wolf Gal, the job was grueling. I was standing all day, 6 days a week in the heat acting like a hillbilly but I loved every minute of it!”
Kay later auditioned and got a job at nearby Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO. It was there that Kay learned about the rules of comedy acting and writing. Kay graduated with a BFA degree from William Woods University in Fulton, Mo. She was the recipient of several acting awards including best actor and best supporting actor and the award she is most proud of “The Outstanding Contribution to Theater” award for her work in assisting the theater’s costume and prop shop.
It was at William Woods that she took her first ASL class. “My teacher could not believe how quickly I learned the language and how uninhibited I was with using my face, body, and hands. Of course, I knew it was all my comedy training that helped me the most”. Days after graduation Kay’s advisor gave her a flyer for an audition for “Sunshine Too” Deaf/hearing touring theater company based out of Rochester New York. She auditioned and was cast in the 1990 touring company. “That year and the forthcoming year were some of the best of years of my life. I learned so much about Deaf culture, sign language, and writing sketches. One of my favorites was a spoof on Indiana Jones movies. It was very popular and the whole company helped create this very entertaining visual piece of comedy.”
It was in her second year that she met her future partner and husband Matt Daigle. When the tour ended Kay was offered a job as a comedy performer for wild west shows in Deadwood South Dakota where she played such characters as Calamity Jane, Poker Alice, and Miss Kitty Latrelle. Kay and Matt quickly embarked on a new life and soon they arrived in the Black Hills. When the Summer was coming to a close, Kay found herself more interested in American Sign Language and contacted the Communication Services for the Deaf to start a mentoring program. She took the National Association for the Deaf test later that year and passed with an advance level. She began working as an educational interpreter and eventually the Director of Disability Services in Aberdeen South Dakota. It was during this time that she received a grant to attend a Deaf/Blind certification program offered by Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, Ill. Later should would obtain her Master of Interpretation from Gallaudet University in Washington DC and graduated with 4.0 honors and received awards such as The Ron Coffey Award and the Outstanding Married Graduate award.
In 2008, her family moved to Los Angeles California to pursue more artistic opportunities and began writing sketch, performing comedy and was featured in over 20 commercials. In 2010 she started collaborating with her husband Matt to create the webcomic “That Deaf Guy”. In addition to her artistic endeavors, Kay has 30 years of experience as a sign language interpreter. She currently lives in Burbank, CA with her husband Matt and their son, Hayden.