Last week at the always brilliant Always Be Comedy at The Tommyfield in Kennington, I saw the amazing Rosie Jones take the stage for her Edinburgh preview. The beauty of Always Be Comedy is that you get to see works in progress, sometimes exclusive content (which doesn’t quite make it out of the notebook) and the thinking behind some of the best comedic minds out there. Rosie Jones, however, came armed with a complete and polished show, reeling off an hour of hilarious and heartfelt comedy. I’d love to tell you all of Rosie’s best punchlines, but I don’t want to spoil what would be a fabulous night out for those of you heading to see her at the festival, which I recommend that you should definitely, definitely do.
Rosie is a stand-up comedian, comedy writer and actor with credits on The Last Leg, 8 Out of 10 Cats and Harry Hill to name a few. She began her career in television on a disability scheme with Channel 4 meaning that she could “leapfrog over being a TV runner – which was good because [she’s] no good at running.” Live, she is confident and almost constantly cheerful; one of my favourite things about her set was that she looked like she was having a great time, genuinely enjoying delivering her lines and basking in our reactions. Her post-joke-smile heightened the hilarity and made me laugh twice as hard.
Rosie’s show ’15 Minutes’ is an autobiographical ride with many a dark twist and turn, named as such because when she was born she technically died for 15 minutes, resulting in Cerebral Palsy. This “disabled elephant in the room”, as she put it, means that Rosie speaks slowly, which takes a little getting used to. I realised half way through her set that Rosie uses the pace of her speech to play the audience; we think we know where a story is going, and congratulate ourselves on our brains working faster than the story we’re being told until bam… a dark joke at her own expense or a lewd comment throws you off, and reminds you who’s in charge. It was a pleasure to be constantly surprised through Rosie’s set, and to fall in to the traps she’d so cheerfully laid out for us.
Rosie isn’t afraid to get “dark about disability” and speaks openly about the need to break the stereotype of sweet disabled people in the media and portray some real, three dimensional disabled characters. ‘15 Minutes’ exemplifies this, as she portrays herself as a bit sweet, a bit conceited and a bit mean; a real person with regular experiences doing the rounds on the comedy circuit. To give you an example, when ABC’s compère James announced that BGT’s The Lost Voice Guy would be performing at The Tommyfield, our claps were drowned out by Rosie’s extended boos. I hope we will be seeing a lot more of Rosie on our tellies and laptop screen soon, and suggest you go and see her while you can.