The Kid’s Speech

A local comedian embraces his stutter on and off stage.

By Jess Blumberg Mayhugh - May 2014

Donnie Sengstack Embraces His Stutter

A local comedian embraces his stutter on and off stage.

By Jess Blumberg Mayhugh - May 2014

-Photography by Christopher Myers

When Donnie Sengstack was growing up in Damascus, he loved Jim Gaffigan's comedy and was inspired to write his own material.

However, the jokes remained in his journal for years—partly because he was born with a stuttering speech impediment.

He didn't break out of his shell until a high-school drama teacher, who also had a stutter, encouraged Sengstack to act in Anything Goes. Now a freshman at the University of Maryland, Sengstack hasn't looked back.

“My stutter is unpredictable," he says. “I always want to address it to the crowd right away, so I'm always writing new jokes about it."

He describes his act as “observational wordplay," and certainly uses his stutter for material. (“I put the stud in stutter," “I can turn a one-liner into an entire HBO special.")

His witty sets earned him a finalist spot in the New Comedian of the Year Competition at Magooby's Joke House and performances at the Baltimore Comedy Factory and Broadway Comedy Club.

Sengstack says performing comedy full-time is the ultimate dream. “I have tried speech therapy," he says. “But this isn't going away, so I have learned to embrace it and make it funny."

You May Also Like

The Chatter

Q&A with Krishanti Vignarajah

Native Baltimorean and Michelle Obama's former director of policy talks about saving Let Girls Learn.

Food & Drink

You Are Here

Scenes from the Bel-Loc Diner and UnPub 7 at the Baltimore Convention Center.

The Chatter

Virtual Reality Used in Area Hospitals, Nonprofits

Local company Mindgrub is using new-age tech to help local organizations.

The Chatter

Cloud Computing Races to Glory at 142nd Preakness Stakes

Horse owned by Baltimore native eliminates possibility of a Triple Crown victory.

The Chatter

Five Things to Know Before Bingeing The Keepers on Netflix

Seven-part series examines nun's murder and sex abuse scandal at Archbishop Keough High School.

-Photography by Christopher Myers

Connect With Us

Most Read

Guiding Light
The long-awaited Harriet Tubman visitor center opens on the Eastern Shore.

Home Grown
Some of our favorite flora and accessories for your humble abode.

Farmhouse Facelift
Lindsay Buck talks about her Hampden home that she shares with James Prichard.

Smooth Ride
Handlebar Café brings a West Coast vibe to Fells Point.

New Turf
Former Raven opens unique gym experience in Catonsville.