It was a shock just sitting down in the Stroke Association Scotland's venue - on every seat was a leaflet telling us that one in six people in Scotland will suffer a stroke in their lifetime. It felt a little strange, to start with, to go from that information to watching supportive celebrities telling their favourite joke while we waited for host Stephen K Amos to take to the stage. But, as headliner Jason Cook later put it, “We cope with laughter- it's how the world works”. Tonight's line-up was perfect not only for the excellent comic talent that we saw, but for the stories that came along with them. Cook's father survived a stroke, and the comedian reiterated time after time that even after such a trauma, his dad was still there. The person who joked with him and supported him and drank with him was still there and still laughing along.
Through events like this, Stroke Association Scotland are going some ways to make people more aware of the signs and effects of strokes, as well as raising funds for research which is so desperately needed.
Events like these often tread a fine line between being a devastating wake-up call and ignoring the issue in question altogether. Tonight, however, each comedian coupled an uncomfortable truth with a gag and showed us that, even when tragedy strikes, we can still find things to be grateful for. Tim Vine's inimitable brand of awkward dad humour warmed us up to the evening before Tiff Stevenson's brutally honest set talked us through Everyday Vodka drinking and how to seduce a Scot. Keeping an afternoon crowd laughing is no easy task, but Stevenson's brave set took us from nervous chuckles to belly-laughs in a matter of minutes.
If there was one story to take away from an event designed to tell people that a stroke is 'Not Just a Funny Turn', it was Marcus Birdman's. Waking up with a headache and partial blindness one morning, Birdman assumed he had had a hangover. He hadn't. When the headache receded, and the partial blindness didn't, he found that he'd had a mini-stroke without realising, as so many people across the UK do. Through events like this, Stroke Association Scotland are going some ways to make people more aware of the signs and effects of strokes, as well as raising funds for research which is so desperately needed. A great and well-designed night of comedy for an excellent cause.