Is blind funny? As a blind comedian I’m going to have to say yes. My show That Funny Blind Guy at Yesbar in Glasgow is a show about me and my life. I find the way I live my life funny; NOT, as some people find, tragic!
I haven’t always been blind. Up until the age of about 16 I was a run of the mill unhealthy fat boy from Glasgow with the normal hobbies of smoking, drinking and being excruciatingly awkward with girls. But all was to change. I was diagnosed with a degenerate eye condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) which believe me is easier to live with than to spell.
It’s safe to say that my world changed a bit but not as much as you may think. On hearing my diagnosis I didn’t plunge into a world of depression nor did I become dull and embittered. The way I saw it was that I now had a “quirk”. I now had something that differentiated me from all the other fat smoking boys. I was still crap with the ladies but I think for the first time in my life I had perspective.
I learned how to type and how to use a computer with speech software. The first humour I found in my new state was getting my computer to say rude sentences. To this day my friends are still highly amused hearing a computer swear.
I got good A-levels, and then went onto Uni where I got degrees in both Law and Ancient History. I’m a blind smart arse!
I really started to see the comedy in blindness when I was on summer holidays up in Aberdeen whilst doing my law degree 2004 -2006. I hadn’t had a job up until then. When I think back to when I could see, and my thoughts on what blind people could or could not achieve it's really quite crazy. I believed that blind people could only read braille and make beds. So I must admit I pissed myself laughing when I got a summer job making beds in the ‘Glen Craft’ bed factory.
Let me clear this up now. Not all blind people are good at making beds. My job was to attach the fabrics and cushioning onto the bed bases. This required the use of a seriously lethal air powered staple gun. I lost a lot of blood and ruined a lot of fabrics that summer.
There was no political correctness in that factory. I’ll always remember being called a ‘blind twat’ by a guy in a wheelchair when I passed him over yet another blood soaked bed.After university I went south to London. There I had a 3 year spell as a distinctly average corporate banker during the day and a burgeoning open spot stand-up by night.
To be honest, I wasn’t doing anything in the bank that somebody else couldn’t do better but I did feel I brought something quite unique to the stage. People are genuinely interested in disability but are fearful of asking questions in fear of offending or upsetting which is fair enough. I’m not a massive fan of the “spot eye” Tests I occasionally have to do for taxi drivers but do find them retrospectively hilarious.
Humour can be found anywhere. Yep, some people might think that me coming out of the ladies toilet in a busy restaurant is embarrassing but that’s nothing - come to my show and hear about when I went skiing.