Liam Malone, it’s fair to say, is not backwards at coming forwards. Perhaps its down to his upbringing by parents who – given that their son was born without bones in his lower legs, which were eventually amputated – signed him up to every sport going, presumably in an attempt to instil confidence and a competitive spirit. Arguably, it worked: he’s a gold-medal-winning Paralympian, after all, who’s now determined for success on the comedy stage.
A team-up involving genuine risk of audience participation!
Certainly it’s interesting to watch him before the show starts: he’s roaming around the front of the stage, dressed in dark t-shirt and shorts, prosthetics proudly on display. He’s sipping his pint, making small-talk with some women in the front rows—and, yes, there’s a noticeably high proportion of women in the audience compared to some other stand-ups I’ve seen in Edinburgh. He’s not just a pretty boy, though, as we soon learn: “Great to have all you fuckers here,” isn’t the most genteel welcome you’ll receive in Edinburgh during August, but it certainly sets the tone.
As a standup, Malone is absolutely ready to take the piss out of the consequences of his impairments, and he has plenty of throw-away remarks about getting through airport security—something which his international sporting career has led to him doing quite a lot. Interestingly – it’s presumably a cultural thing with New Zealander’s – he has no hesitation about describing himself as “handicapped”: nor does this come across at all as an attempt to be a comedic bad boy, although that’s obviously a role he otherwise revels in: “I’m going to Hell,” he says on more than one occasion, smiling.
Malone obviously wants to stand among the more provocative, boundary-pushing comedians of the world, enjoying our slight discomfort when he talks about the death of his mother from cancer, or about him getting into a fight with “little people” during the Paralympics. It helps, of course, that he’s sufficiently pretty and charming to get away with it, but he’s definitely also good enough in terms of material and delivery. Stardom, once again, clearly beckons.