Given that so much of the stand-up comedy you’ll find on the Fringe is blatantly autobiographical—at least to some extent—it’s not surprising that a lot of Jamie MacDonald’s material is grounded on him being ‘that funny blind guy’. He’s not afraid to milk his disability for comedic effect; but then again, the same can be said of his hometown of Glasgow, and the ‘Weegies’ who are, arguably, aggressively friendly at people.
You’re quite likely to have a sore chest after this show
At the risk of getting all politically correct, this is just how it should be; MacDonald’s visual impairment is just an aspect of his life, not an all-defining description which bans self-mockery. His honesty and ‘let’s get on with it’ positivity certainly help reassure any potentially nervous audience members, who may be unsure if they should even laugh with a disabled comedian, let alone (on a few occasions) at some of the stupid things done by the man on the stage with a microphone and a white stick. Blind people, shockingly, have a sense of humour.
Arguably, MacDonald is most assured when mining the comedic possibilities from his own life—not least his experiences of using public transport, an Everything-You-Can-Eat buffet, or a Scottish-Polish wedding with some truly excessive amounts of home-brewed vodka. Yet he’s no slouch when it comes to more fanciful skits, such as an all-too-imaginable ‘middle-class Jungle camp’ established outside Melrose after England closes its northern border with an independent Scotland. Or his conspiracy theory about the Government, with the collusion of the RNIB, aiming to stop blind and visually impaired people from ever reproducing.
Given his expressed distaste for referendums—which he believes bring out the worst in people—MacDonald isn’t really a political comic; certainly not party political. Some, though, will argue that he’s actually making a really important political, cultural statement every time he steps on stage: that you don’t actually need to have functioning eyes in order to make people laugh. And you will; indeed, you’re quite likely to have a sore chest after this show.