Comedian Brad Williams is a dwarf and he is proud of it.
He doesn't have a chip on his shoulder about being a little person. In truth, he has been poking fun of himself since he was a child.
He was born with achondroplasia, which is a bone growth disorder that causes the most common type of dwarfism.
"My dad never allowed me to feel sorry for myself because I was born a little person," Williams said in a telephone interview with the Herald. "In fact, my dad was the one who first started making jokes about my size. But he did it for all the right reasons -- with love because he wanted me to grow up without a chip on my shoulder and defensive. I am so grateful he did that."
Williams is the featured comic at Joker's Comedy Club at 8:30 p.m. March 25-26 in Richland. Tickets are $20 and available in advance at Joker's or at the door or call 943-1173.
He said his parents are normal-sized adults and when his dad found out about his disorder, he went to meeting for little people to get a grasp on how to raise his son.
"He saw angry little people who were defensive because they were small," Williams said. "He said, 'I can't let my son turn into that,' and I am so thankful for that."
Williams, 27, said some people might find his brand of humor irreverent when his comedy touches on people with disabilities, but he disagrees.
"In my comedy, I make fun of people who need to be made fun of, which is most people," he said. "Usually when I'm poking fun at someone who is deaf or blind in the audience, it's the people who aren't deaf or blind who are offended for them."
He relates the story of one comedy gig where there was a deaf person in the audience who had a signer who was able to tell him what Williams was saying.
"When I made jokes about being deaf and the signer relayed what I said, that deaf person couldn't stop laughing," he said. "But there were a few people in the audience who felt they needed to be offended for that guy.
"I certainly had my share of being made fun of growing up. But my dad taught me to find humor in it, and that was the most precious thing he ever taught me. People can't be mean to you if don't let them. Besides, my humor is not mean."
He learned that the night he discovered comedy was his true calling. He was 19 when he visited a club where comedian Carlos Mencia was performing. The comic started poking fun at little people and Williams noticed some people were offended for Williams.
"Because I was laughing at the jokes, Carlos brought me on stage and we bantered back and forth," Williams said. "I've been doing standup ever since."
Williams says he's pretty fast at sizing up an audience while he's on stage.
"Audiences change from night to night," he said. "I pretty much live in the moment when I'm on stage and gauge my humor on how the audience reacts to what I'm talking about."
If his jokes aren't getting any laughs, which is rare, he can change his topic in a heartbeat.
Williams also is an actor and played several character roles in various TV shows. He wouldn't mind doing some film work, too, but standup is what he loves.
"Who knows where my life will lead," he said. "Sure, I like acting, but if I didn't get to do standup, I wouldn't know what to do with myself."