Laurence Clark compares UK and US disability care in his new show
Laurence Clark was a guest on a recent episode of the Ouch! Talk Show.
In a lively conversation with presenters Liz Carr and Mat Fraser, the comedian with cerebral palsy talks about his new show, Health Hazard, part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer.
He explains: “it’s about healthcare and the possible dangers of privatising healthcare or, as David Cameron says, having more competition.”
According to publicity on the official Fringe website, the show links Stephen Hawking, cardboard tube fights, Shane MacGowan, health insurance, George Washington, Mussolini, religious cults, global Armageddon and the NHS.
Laurence began work on the piece two years ago, well before NHS reform bills were introduced by the coalition government which prompted headlines, criticism and some subsequent U-turns.
As part of his research, he travelled to America and filmed hidden camera stunts which he has incorporated into the show. Laurence also attended a march through the streets of Washington DC by The Direct Action Group of Disabled People, ADAPT.
He told Mat and Liz: “As they were sort of throwing themselves in front of police, in front of the White House, I was there with a microphone in the background trying to get interviews.”
He found there is a substantial lack of help available for disabled people in the US as compared to that of the UK.
“When I described things like self directed support, like personal budgets, it was like I was talking about the promised land. They are quite far away from that.”
In a poignant part of the interview, Laurence talks about his poor experience of trying to apply for medical cover in the US, a big part of the show.
“I attempted to get healthcare insurance over there and rang various insurance companies to give them my details. It’s amazing how the conversation turned when the words cerebral palsy enter it” he says.
Laurence Clark: Health Hazard! runs from 3-28 August (not 16) at the Udderbelly’s Pasture.