When Ross County farmer Adam Garman was growing up, if someone was laughing around him it was usually at his expense.
“Growing up, the first thing people would notice about me was my speech impediment,” Garman said. “What I want to say and then saying it are two different things. That made my childhood a pretty rough road, but I haven’t let that hinder me and it’s made me the person that I am.”
Today, Adam and his father Greg head up their feed and supply business in Lyndon, Ohio, and as Adam has grown up, so have those around him. Now, he and his distinctive stutter have become very familiar to the local agriculture community.
“People talk to me and they remember me,” Garman said. “Because of my speech impediment, I can tell my story a little bit differently.”
Now Garman uses the source of his former ridicule to bring laughter to others as he has begun a secondary career moonlighting as a comedian.
“When I got into stand-up comedy about a year and a half ago, people would look at me and say, ‘You can’t even say your own name, why in the world would you want to stand in front of a roomful of people and tell jokes?’” Garman said. “I just really like to make people laugh and bring joy their everyday lives.”
Garman has long been known for his quick wit and sense of humor among friends. He was voted “class clown,” participated in musical productions during his high school years and has always been a natural performer.
AUDIO: Listen to Adam Garman’s interview with Ohio Ag Net’s Ty Higgins
Those who have never met Garman are at first hesitant to laugh at his self-deprecating jokes, but it does not take long until those in the crowd are comfortable with laughing along.
“As soon as you get that big white elephant out into the open you can feel the room ease up a bit,” Garman said. “That’s when people realize that I am going to use my speech to my benefit.”
So far, Garman has performed his stand-up routine at local clubs in Ross and Highland Counties and has even done a USO show for some troops getting ready for deployment.
“That was such a humbling experience for me, not only to perform in front of 200 U.S. Army National Guard troops, but to do it on a stage that Bob Hope once stood on,” Garman said. “It was the best reception I have ever received. They were so welcoming and I got the chance to visit with them afterwards. That is a day I will never forget.”
Since then, Garman has had some sold-out shows in and around his hometown. For his most recent performance, the club sold out three hours before he was scheduled to take the stage.
“I never thought that I could fill a room. I have been very blessed,” Garman said. “To think that all of those people were there for me. I don’t want to ever come across as arrogant and act like it’s all about me, but that night was and it felt really cool.”
Every joke that Garman tells is original and is based on real life scenarios. Some of those jokes are about the mischievous days of he and his twin brother had when they were younger, and some jokes come from life on the farm. Being from a farming community, Garman says he likes to think that those that attend his shows will forget about the hardships of agriculture for a short time.
“There are quite a few local farmers that have been really supportive of me and my second career,” Garman said. “They realize that the stories that I tell about agriculture are real life and I think that helps them relieve some of their farming stresses as well.”
Garman had a Christian upbringing and sometimes the comedy industry can offer some language and emotions that are not meant for Sunday mornings, but Garman says his shows are for people of all ages.
“I have always felt like you don’t have to use vulgarity to be funny. Some people do and that’s fine,” Garman said. “Having a clean show works for me so I am just going to run with it.”
During his routine, Garman talks about jobs that he wishes he could have given a shot, but would simply not work out because of the way he talks. He lists an air traffic controller and the voice of a GPS system in that category, noting that by the time he stuttered out what he had to say, a plane would crash and the car would miss a left turn.
As Garman has done more shows, he has been able to collect more material for future shows.
“After one of my shows recently, I had a lady approach me and tell me how she thought my speech impediment was cute and went on to tell me to just slow down a little bit to see if that might help,” Garman said. “I told her that she needed to listen faster because I was talking just fine.”
Garman has faced challenges on and off of the farm, making the most of what others would consider a liability. The result is an entertaining, positive comedy show and some life lessons that inevitably make everyone around him a little better in the process.
“I’d be a lot funnier if I didn’t have this speech impediment,” Garman said. “But since I do have it the audience just has to wait a bit longer for that punch line.”