Stutter doesn’t faze LMC counselor

Nina Ghiselli humors her way through life


Photo courtesy of Nina Ghiselli

Los Medanos College counselor Nina Ghiselli walks on stage to start her comedy stand-up.

Mohammad Najimi, Staff Writer

LMC counselor Nina Ghiselli became a fan of comedy at age 5 when she watched “Late Night with David Letterman” in her family’s living room. 

As a teenager, she was obsessed with him before he moved from NBC to CBS. She admired his talent, which inspired her own journey into the comedic world. And when she first started performing comedy routines she would incorporate bits of his routines into her own.

Ghiselli, who was born in Alameda, has had a stutter since she was 8 years old. At first, she believed people like her couldn’t do comedy because she had never seen a comedian with a stutter. But she eventually decided not to let that stop her from performing.

Then, when she got more serious about it she read books by different comedians to garner a variety of perspectives about their process on stage. Her goal was to combine those perspectives and create her own performance strategy by turning her stutter into a positive instead of a negative. 

At times when she performed stand-up, the audience wouldn’t react to any of her jokes.

“Sometimes people think I’m faking the stutter,” she said. “People don’t know how to respond to the stutter.”

But the problem with the stutter didn’t faze Ghiselli, it just gave her more confidence in using it to her advantage.

Ghiselli adores being on stage and performing her comedy shows in front of anyone who will listen. But even though she enjoys the limelight and the focus when she’s on stage, she considers herself more of an introvert and loves her alone time.

She also loves her job as a counselor at LMC. Her own educational path began at Chabot College in Hayward, where she wrote comedy for the school’s newspaper to get her name out there. She wanted to get people to read her jokes and maybe even attend one of her shows. 

She received her associates degree from Chabot, transferred to U.C. Berkeley for her bachelor’s degree and then attended Alliant University where she earned her doctorate in psychology. 

“As a person with dyslexia who stutters I knew how important it was to receive accommodations in school. I hoped that I could help other people understand that process and help lift the stigma around disability,” said Ghiselli.

She also uses her comedy to connect with students to ease their stress when they need guidance choosing their majors and figuring out whether they are still on their path to graduate. She said comedy can help create a safe environment for those who need her help. That help includes guiding students to follow their dreams and fight for their future.

Ghiselli’s comedy is not just to entertain others or to ease their stress, however, it is self-healing as well.

“It gives me a creative outlet and helps me to vent on things that irritate me or bother me,” she said.