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Autistic comedians make their debut at Scottish Parliament


The National Autistic Society Scotland marked its 20th anniversary in Scotland with a one off special gig

The National Autistic Society Scotland celebrated its 20th anniversary of working in Scotland by putting on a stand-up comedy gig at the Scottish Parliament.

Each of the comedians who took part were autistic adults and they brought the house down with routines including improv between two wizards, a long and winding piece on procrastination, and some very romantic maths gags.

Over 100 guests attended, including ministers and MSPs, to enjoy the amateur comics who had taken part in nine weeks of workshops by comedian Janey Godley, whose husband and daughter are autistic.

Jenny Paterson, director of The National Autistic Society Scotland, which provides information and services, and campaigns for a more autism-friendly Scotland, said: “I am so proud of our budding comedians, who created funny, clever routines to perform on our 20th anniversary.

“Our charity has achieved a huge amount over the past 20 years, and we will continue to provide innovative services and campaign on issues affecting autistic people for the next 20 years and beyond. Until everyone understands.”

Godley, who was assisted by her daughter Janey to put on the workshops (featured below), taught the adults how to write, hone and perform their own comedy.

Each class was designed to challenge stereotypes after research found that 73% of autistic people in Scotland said that the public considers them to be anti-social, and 80% feel they are judged as being shy.

Autism is a lifelong, developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them. Around 58,000 people in Scotland are autistic.

Gordon Wallace, from South Lanarkshire, performed a routine which explains how his autism allows him to be both scientific and artistic. He said: “The workshops have been a great opportunity to meet new people and learn about what different people find funny.

“Writing good comedy takes a lot of intelligence, and you need to be able to process audiences’ reactions and social cues in order to perform. I have learned these things through the workshops.”



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