Comedy show captures issues facing disabled people
A disability awareness campaigner who is also making a name for himself in stand-up comedy is showing that the challenges facing people who have impairments can actually be a laughing matter.
Andy Shipley pokes fun not at the predicament of people who are disabled but at how they are often perceived by others, at the lack of consideration frequently shown by non-disabled people and at the routine failure to make even basic adjustments to create an inclusive environment.
Andy is visually impaired and has worked for years to advise countless organisations on how to meet the needs of disabled people. His comedy slots, including one at the recent Sustainable Stand Up event in London, involve taking a number of risks – and not just in terms of the warning he gives to the audience about his intention to dive off the stage at the end.
As ever there is a risk that some in an audience may react negatively, either because they feel uncomfortable in the company of disabled people or because they have experience of disability and consider it an inappropriate subject for comedy. There may also be those who patronise the performer by laughing at jokes because they think they have to. But either way Andy doesn’t seem that bothered.
He tells jokes that might be out of bounds for comedians who are not visually impaired: “I am visually impaired which means I look great in the mirror every morning.”
In declaring “all my lovers look like movie stars” he reminds his audience that disabled people are entitled to enjoy a love life.
Andy can slip into mainstream comedy with ease, making jokes about builders’ bums, but he is at his most effective with observational humour inspired by his particular observational skills.
The perils posed to visually impaired people by piles of dog mess in the street are too easily overlooked by others. And what happens when Andy’s guide dog has to go? Or even Andy himself? Look him up on You Tube at Sustainable Stand Up London and enjoy a few laughs that deliver some gentle lessons.
He’s available for comedy nights, conferences and other events and can be found on Linked In.