Rosie Jones, a comedian born with cerebral palsy, says her disability allows her to ‘push the limits’ of her comedy routines. She says, “Because of my disability, I know how to push things and I know where the line is. I can probably push that line further than a lot of able-bodied comics. I enjoy playing with what is comfortable, and trying to make people be more open and more willing to see past the disability.”
Rosie chooses every single word and syllable of her comedy routine for a purpose. She likes to leave her audience with a shock-factor and loves when people underestimate her.
“I love the fact that people perhaps underestimate me at the beginning, then they realise that I know what I’m doing, and have chosen every single word and every single syllable for a very specific reason. As soon as the audience thinks they know where I’m going, I switch it around.”
Rosie always had thoughts about becoming a stand-up comedian but did not pursue her dream right away. She felt that the audience would be able to guess her punchline before she delivered it because of her delayed speech. “I toyed with the idea for ages, but I thought that I couldn’t be a comedian because people will get to my punchline before I did because of how slowly I speak. Then I realised I could use it as a device, so they get to a punchline but it’s not necessarily my punchline,” she says.
“Because of my disability I do find that people can be a bit uncomfortable around me, so I’ve always had one-liners and jokes in my back pocket ready in case someone felt a bit awkward.”
The primary purpose of Rosie’s comedy routines is simple --- to make people laugh. “What made me feel better was realising that I can just talk about my life, and if other disabled people can relate to it, then great. If able-bodied people change their attitudes towards disabled people, great. But all of that is just a byproduct of me getting on stage and making people laugh, that’s my priority,” she says.
The premise of Rosie’s stand-up routine is that she has a disability, and yes, she is independent. However, she admits this can be a hard message to convey when venues are not accessible. “All of that is a bit undermined when the audience sees that I need help getting on stage,” she says.
“It would mean I could start every set on my own and be my own strong, independent woman, which I want to be – and I could be if someone just thought about it a little bit.”
Rosie states installing rails does not take much time and effort, but people do not seem to think about it.
Rosie is currently working on a sitcom where she has an alter ego, “able-bodied Rosie.” The sitcom focuses on how life with a disability and life without a disability differ.
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