Aaron Simmonds disarms his Edinburgh Fringe audience with excellently awkward laughs
Aaron Simmonds has spent the past year working on his story-based show about how he was trolled online for not being disabled enough and it's clearly been time well spent. The 29-year-old comic, who has cerebral palsy and has used a wheelchair since he was 15, particularly loves being asked what he does for a living. "Stand-up," he quips as part of this finely honed show.
Formerly a personal trainer and an international wheelchair basketball player in Britain’s under-23 team, Simmonds corrals the audience into applause as he propels his body onto a high chair on the tiny stage. This enables more than just the first row to see him – as he notes, he's only 5ft 2.5in, or 5ft 3in with his hair spiked up – and affords him a lofty, comical superiority over the confines of his wheelchair and the patronising responses it can throw up.
Simmonds deals with his disability via disarmingly graphic humour, born of a self-confidence and positive spirit that enables him to poke fun at himself, at Jewish stereotypes and at all manner of awkward situations. The result is an engaging hour of unfiltered, well-timed and richly imaginative comedy from the 2017 Jewish Comedian of the Year, which is both jaunty and self-mocking in the same breath.
We get to meet his family, including his feisty grandmother, as well as his comedy-loving girlfriend Amy, who once got off a bus and walked alone in the rain for 15 minutes just to keep one of their personal jokes going.
In Disabled Coconut, Simmonds shows a similar indefatigable commitment to comedy, with a show that is both down to earth and uplifting.
By Lee Levitt
Disabled Coconut runs until Monday 26 August. 1.30pm. £9/£10, £8/£9 concs. Underbelly, Bristo Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9AG. www.edfringe.com