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Disability comedy at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Emma Emma | 13:12 UK time, Thursday, 9 August 2012

Comedian Imaan Hadchiti

Comedian Imaan Hadchiti

A plethora of disabled comedians have travelled north this August to take part in the world's biggest arts event, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Here's a run-down of some of the disability related comedy, currently taking place in the Scottish capital.

• A little perspective with Imaan
Lebanese Australian comedian Imaan Hadchiti was a guest on the August Ouch! Talk Show. In his Edinburgh show, the 3.5ft tall stand-up comic uses hidden camera work to explore public attitudes to his short stature.

Most of the film was shot during nights out in Melbourne, by a camera hidden in Imaan's hat. In one clip, a young woman asks if he is "human", while another describes the 22-year-old as "cute" and "special".

Imaan, whose condition Rima Syndrome was named after his similarly sized sister, maintains that as long as there are "stupid people in the world" he will have plenty of material for his shows.

• Adam Hills: Mess Around
Sticking with disabled Aussie funny men, Festival regular Adam Hills is back in Edinburgh for a second run with Mess Around, an hour of audience lead ad-libbing. Adam often includes material in his shows about life with a prosthetic foot and was a regular writer on Ouch! once upon a time.

Adam's next gig will be as presenter of the evening Paralympic highlights show on Channel 4, when the Games begin later this month.

• Laurence Clark: Inspired
Laurence was the only comedian commissioned as part of the London2012 Cultural Olympiad, for a show pitched in the knowledge that its subject matter was "the opposite of what they wanted".

At a time when Paralympians are being described as heroes and inspirational, Laurence uses personal experiences and hidden camera work to turn the concept of being inspiring on its head.

During Laurence Clark: Inspired Laurence takes the audience on a journey, as he explores why being labelled inspiring sits so badly with him as a wheelchair user with cerebral palsy. On one hand, he suggests that disabled people should not necessarily be considered inspirational for "doing the things everyone else does", like having kids or getting a job. But by the same token, he challenges his own beliefs, relating to a recent incident, where his ability to inspire someone became a purely positive thing.

• Lost Voice Guy and Jeff Lantern: Not afraid of tablets
Lost Voice Guy, AKA Lee Ridley can't speak, so he uses an iPad tablet computer with voice synthesiser to vocalise his material. This means that his jokes are told in a voice remarkably similar to the one you'll hear reading out platform announcements at London's Kings Cross station and it works. Lee is making a significant impact on the stand-up comedy scene. He has just nabbed a support slot with Ross Noble.

Lost Voice Guy will be joined for his two Edinburgh shows by Jeff Lantern, who takes medication due to mental health problems. Hence the show's clever title - Not afraid of tablets.

• Chris McCausland: Not blind enough
The stand-up comedian who has historically taken great care not to make blindness the focus of his humour, has written a show about not being able to see.

During the hour long performance, Chris also takes the opportunity to express his somewhat controversial views on the Paralympic Games.


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