Comedian Laurence Clark promises “a personal, frighteningly relevant, one-man mission and hilarious journey” with his latest show, Health Hazard, coming to the Unity Theatre on May 2.
Clark, from West Derby, is a comedian, presenter, writer and actor who has cerebral palsy. His observational, political stand-up and hidden camera footage demonstrate the endearing naivety and ridiculousness of human behaviour by seeing the world through his eyes with humour and warmth. He’s performed everywhere from the House of Commons to a double-decker bus in Sheffield, and is a regular face at Liverpool’s own DaDaFest (read MADEUP’s last interview with him here).
Laurence’s first show at Edinburgh Fringe, The All-Star Charity Show sent up old-fashioned telethons for disabled people by presenting appeals on behalf of the celebrities who fronted them in the same patronising, overly sentimental way. The show was named Critics’ Choice in The Times and Clark was described as a “powerful comedy voice” and “stunningly hard-hitting” by critic Kate Copstick in The Scotman’s round-up of the best of the 2003 fringe.
Subsequent shows he has taken to the fringe include The Jim Davidson Guide to Equality, where Laurence responded to Jim Davidson cancelling a show because wheelchair users were in his audience by doing a comedy show which he vowed to cancel if Jim turned up in his.
His next show, 12% Evil took its title from famous villains who were portrayed as disabled in order to make them seem sinister and evil, including Richard III, Long John Silver, Captain Hook, Dr Strangelove, various Bond baddies and, erm, Heather Mills-McCartney. After a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe, it went on to the Adelaide Fringe in 2008.
Clark’s most controversial show, Spastic Fantastic followed his attempts to reclaim the word ‘spastic’ as someone with cerebral palsy, through stand-up comedy and hidden camera stunts.
Now, Health Hazard is about his one-man mission to help Obama sell the benefits of free healthcare to the American people. Most recently, he and wife Adele featured in We Won’t Drop the Baby, a BBC documentary about being disabled parents.