Public inquiry

Laurence Clark is performing stand-up comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe

Interview by Mary O’Hara
The Guardian, Wednesday August 16, 2006

How many times have you performed at the Edinburgh Fringe?

This is my third, but the first time it was as part of a disability festival workshop on the edge of the city. It is a real achievement that more disabled performers are now at the same venues as everyone else.

What is it like as a disabled performer in a wheelchair?

It is definitely better being in a venue alongside all kinds of performers. The more we are not on the margins the better.

Has the festival got better at catering for disabled performers?

I think things are better than two years ago, before the Disability Discrimination Act came into force. There are even some signed performances now. But still, accessibility is not as good as it could be.

What is your show this year about?

It is based on Jim’ll Fix It. I went on it when I was young, and I thought it would be good to do something based on wish fulfilment. What happens to all those dreams you once had? It’s kind of my life story. It’s about growing up.

How do audiences react to your show?

People can identify with the funny things in shared experiences, such as how I met my wife. But I also look at things like being sent toLourdes[to be cured] as a child, and people say it makes them think – that this is still done in the 21st century is mad.

How did you get into stand-up comedy?

When I was young I would go to see comedy and think how great it would be to do that. It wasn’t until my [mid-] 20s, when I was finishing my PhD in computing, that I decided to give it a go. My first gig went well. I was on my first date with my wife!

If you could change one thing about the UK what would it be?

I’d close all the special schools. Separating people at school has a knock-on effect later in life.

Who is your favourite performer or artist?

Shane McGowan. I used to be his website designer. It was a lot of fun.

Who would make a good president of Britain?

Tom Baker.


Laurence Clarkis performing his stand-up show, Jim Fixed It For Me, at the Pleasance Dome, part of the Edinburgh Fringe, until August 27. More details

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