The worst ever chat-up line experienced by Liz Carr was among highlights of an evening with disabled comedians, writes Keith Sellick
Abnormally Funny People
Saturday, 8 January 2010
Soho Theatre, London
A hundred people packed into a small, third-floor theatre in London’s Soho to watch, listen and read the subtitles of two of the acts from Abnormally Funny People, a group of disabled comedians.
First on was Steve Day, who describes himself as the UK’s only deaf comedian – “at least I am the only one I have heard of” – whose comedy focuses mainly on misunderstandings of language and culture.
He complained about the terrible argument he had in the bank that day, because he had read his bank manager’s lips wrong when his “account” was mentioned. He explained how British sign language (BSL) makes lying easier but can be confusing, such as the time he signed he lived in the south London suburb of Bromley because the word Bromley is the same as “baked beans” in BSL.
He also looked at cultural misunderstandings with his Ghanaian wife, dealing with his mixed-race children and their rap-style hand movements, and facing groups of hoodies at night (a story with a happy ending).
Jackson back from the dead
Liz Carr was the second act. Pale of face and sporting long, black curly hair, Carr introduced herself as Michael Jackson back from the dead, and there was an uncanny resemblance. There were many topical jokes featuring Big Brother: “a group of people stuck together and made to perform difficult tasks for rewards, just like residential care”; Paralympians: “inspirational, nah, they just make me feel really lazy”; and the snow which hit the UK earlier this month: “I’ve converted my wheelchair to a snow plough”.
But the core of her set concerned relationships. She brought the house down with the story that featured the disastrous chat-up line “So, Liz, what do you do when you’re not disabled?”
She also spoke about the benefits of going out with a woman who looks like a young boy – “I can pass her off as my son unless she snogs me” and her impending marriage.
Carr’s humour is more caustic than Day’s, but both provided the audience with an hour of enthusiastic laughter.
Check www.abnormallyfunny people.com for forthcoming gigs.
This article is published in the 28 January issue of Community Care magazine under the heading What do you do when you’re not disabled?