‘My Son’s Not Rainman’ is a new show for 2013 from comedian John Williams. It’s a show about finding the positive in everything, from the joy and wonder of the Special School Disco to the unadulterated thrill of getting the front seat on the Docklands Light Railway. Ultimately, it’s just an uplifting tale about what it really means to be different.
John Williams show runs at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summerfrom the 1 – 25 August . The show venue is Just the Tonic@Bristo Square, 45-47 Lothian Street, EH1 1HB . For further details about this and John Williams’ blog click here.
Here John talks to Autism Network Scotland about his motivation to develop the show and take it on tour.
Comedians have talked of their family life in stand up routines for years. Yet as soon as you mention that you’ve written a stand up show about family life with your disabled son, people tend to recoil in horror. For a recent Radio 4 interview, the researcher asked me, “So, what’s the most offensive thing you say about your son on stage?” … I’m not sure, but that’s probably the most offensive question I’ve been asked. Do I have to ridicule him for it to be humour? When did comedy, particularly around the issue of disability, have to always have a target? Why can’t it be about joy and light and celebrating a unique way of life?
The Boy (as I will refer to my son, to save his blushes) has autism and cerebral palsy. His behaviour can be pretty challenging at times. But our shared lives aren’t a black hole of misery. Far from it. Nobody has ever made me laugh the same way he can. We’ve watched and roared at more cat videos on YouTube than I care to mention. We’ve discussed Doctor Who in a detail that I never thought possible. And we’ve built creations out of Lego that your every day man can only dream of.
So that’s why I wanted to tell our story. I want people to understand The Boy and the thousands like him. To look beyond the outbursts. To see past the challenging behaviour and ‘strange’ routines. I want to try to create the tiniest chink in the impenetrable wall called ‘autism’ and provide a glimpse of the brilliant Boy on the other side. And if people decide to come along for the ride, I promise it’ll be worth it. He’ll make them laugh far, far more than his Dad could ever hope to.