Tim Renkow Tries to Punch Down

Tim Renkow insists he’s spent the last decade on the comedy circuit trying to find a social or racial group that he’s NOT able to insult, because that would mean – as a disabled redneck from the Southern States of the USA – he had finally found someone worse off than him. But, no such luck. So he just has to start the show as he means to go on—punching up like the rebel he is.

Renkow’s gift is to show us the world from a different perspective

“All stereotypes are true,” Renkow points out early on; the difficult thing to remember is they don’t tell the whole story. So if people see his cerebral palsy and immediately put Renkow in the box labeled “the disabled”, it only seems fair when he returns the favour, most obviously with how some non-disabled people can appear so condescending, patronising or just damned nervous in his company. Mind you, his behaviour in lifts does sound a bit strong, though a lifetime of people calling me “brave” just for going about my day probably would make me a tad snappy too.

As with any successful stand-up, Renkow’s gift is to show us the world from a different perspective, not least questioning why the designers of buses seem to assume that wheelchair users and babies will automatically get on well with each other. Yet if travelling on an accessible bus is now an increasingly common option for someone like Renkow, it’s still nothing compared with the delights of the London Night Bus in the early hours, and the archetypal characters you will meet there—not least the Lost Tourist, who will never see their life in quite the same way again.

On the night of the review, Renkow did seem to have a few problems remembering where he was in the set, which he blamed on having earlier drunk Irn Bru for the first time. Although he did deliver a kind of inspirational message about seeing people as people, he was also sufficiently on a sugar rush to not take it too seriously. We don’t want Renkow becoming too friendly—where’d be the fun in that?

Reviews by Paul F Cockburn

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The Blurb

Comedy’s one rule is 'no punching down'. Tim Renkow is a crippled, redneck, Mexican Jew. It’s hard for him to find a group he is not allowed to make fun of, which is insulting. Join Tim as he tries to find a group that is off-limits and prove that he's not the bottom of the social ladder. 'A proper renegade as a comic’ **** (Scotsman). 'Renkow is a smart comedian who also knows how to handle dark, risky material' (Guardian). Star of A Brief History of Tim (BBC), Bobby and Harriet Get Married (VICELAND).

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