Tim Renkow has cerebral palsy. Understandably, the condition forms a significant part of his comedy, not just in terms of how he appears and moves on stage, but also his attitude to life, and how he responds to the often patronising ways in which non-disabled people react to him. From early on it’s clear that Renkow isn’t someone to sit back and turn the other cheek. “I’m an ass-hole,” he says more than once, in a set littered with examples of how he embarrasses, make fools of, or otherwise takes advantage of those non-disabled people who are either desperate not to cause him offence or just want him to go away.
Renkow offers some genuinely funny and edgy insights into some of the bigger issues of the day: religion, racism, and homophobia
It’s through the prism of his particular experiences that Renkow offers some genuinely funny and edgy insights into some of the bigger issues of the day: religion, racism, and homophobia, for example. He’s not gay himself—in fact, he’s annoyed with “the gays” who, thanks to their rainbow flags, have taken all the colours, leaving nothing for “the cripples” to put on their own flag. (Not that they have one.) Some of his ideas are genuinely side-splitting, not least his suggestion that we shouldn’t attempt to wipe out racism in one go, but opt instead for a more gradual approach, weeding them out generation by generation until there’s eventually only one racist guy left on the planet.
Renkow informs us in the latter part of the show that he is genuinely trying to be a better person, if only for the benefit of his new girlfriend. Yet you quickly sense that he misses some of the trouble-making he can get away with, not least with those people who appear to be fixated on when he’s going to die. Given that Renkow’s just 24, you can sort of forgive him for wanting to shock those who “subtly” ask how long “people with your condition live”.
And that’s one of Renkow’s great gifts. Yes, he’s at times hilarious; clever, on top of things. But there’s something about his personality that ensures you have a strong urge to forgive him for whatever he says.