Ten neurodiverse comedians at the Edinburgh Fringe | Stand-ups with their brains wired differently...

Ten neurodiverse comedians at the Edinburgh Fringe

Stand-ups with their brains wired differently...

Are comedians more likely to be more neurodiverse than the rest of the population? After all, it’s a profession where having a mind that works differently from what’s called ‘normal’ is an asset in making connections and seeing the world from an unusual angle. Or maybe it's just that they have a platform to open up about it so we hear more about their brains. And here ares ten comedians doing just that this Fringe.

Simon Brodkin: Screwed Up

Best known as the prankster who showered Sepp Blatter with money and  issued Theresa May with her P45 at a Conservative party conference, Simon Brodkin talks about being diagnosed with ADHD in his new show, Screwed Up, which also covers being rejected for I’m A Celebrity and his humiliation at a bar mitzvah… Pleasance Courtyard 9.40pm 

Joe Wells: I Am Autistic

In 2020 Joe Wells wrote a stand-up routine about having non-autistic brother. A video of the routine went viral, gaining more than 2.5 million views and making Wells an unelected spokesperson for all autistic people. ‘That was a lot of pressure,’ he says. ‘Everyone wanted to know what it meant to be autistic, but he was still working it out for himself.’ This Edinburgh show is therefore all about identity, neurodiversity and the pressures of finding social media fame.  Banshee Labyrinth, midday.

Abigoliah Schamaun: Legally Cheeky

Wells hosts the Neurodivergent Moments podcast with Abigoliah Schamaun, who has been diagnosed with ADHD, and they use it to talk to other creative neurodivergent people about having differently wired brains. However the main narrative of Schamaun’s  Edinburgh show is about her fight to get a British visa to stay in the UK with her partner (who has autism, to stay on the theme of this article). As a last-ditch attempt, the couple evoked Article 8 of the Human Rights Act – enshrining the right to a family life – which Pritti Patel is currently threatening to revoke. Just The Tonic @ The Tron

Alice Brine: Brinestorm

‘Having ADHD is less about getting distracted by shiny things and more about ripping through life like a human tornado with no real ability to stop and think,’ Alice Brine said in a recent interview. ‘While this makes things more difficult, it also makes things hilarious.’ Her debut is all about how her disorder colours her thinking – and the pun of the title definitely works best in her New Zealand accent… Gilded Balloon Teviot 4.20pm

Fern Brady: Autistic Bikini Queen

Fern Brady was diagnosed with autism early last year, and ever since has been spreading awareness of the condition. Promoting the charity Austisitca, she said: ‘Getting diagnosed helped me realise anxiety doesn’t really look the same in autistic people as it does in others - for years I thought people who had anxiety could be easily spotted as they’d be hyperventilating and talking at high speed and that didn’t sound like me at all. In my case, my anxiety is frequently misinterpreted in public as anger or general grumpiness - in private my anxiety resulted in exhausting and destructive meltdowns that led to me finally getting a diagnosis.’ Assembly Hall, 10.20pm, August 25 to 27 only

Phil Green: 90s Boy – Blair, The Lovegun And Me

There are two strands to this comic’s debut: 1990s nostalgia and neurodiversity, going from ADHD, Tony Blair and terrible pop songs.  Banshee Labyrinth, 2.40pm

Merrill Means Well

Los Angeles-based comedian Merrill Davis was called ‘the slow one’ as a child and has been fired from most jobs she's ever had, but her adult ADHD diagnosis is helping to  make sense of her daily life and chaotic past. This was originally written as a Zoom show during the lockdown, now repurposed for the stage, and as well as her story it features puppets – to represent her drugs. ‘I feel they add a lot to the performance because meds generally don't feel fuzzy, comfy or cute,’ she said in a recent interview. TheSpace Triplex Studio, various times

Ian Lynam: Autistic License

In his blurb for this show, which covers his diagnosis as well as  the history of autism, Irish  comic Ian Lynam says: ‘Most people start comedy because they're funny. Few have a doctor's note saying they can't be.’ Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose 3pm

Marjolein Robertson: Thank God Fish Don't Have Hands

The native Shetlander has previously drawn on her experiences on the islands for her comedy. But after her ADHD diagnosis, she now says she has started to take her thoughts seriously… by turning them into an hour of jokes. The Stand, 4pm.

Rich Hardisty: Silly Boy

Billed under the ‘neurodiversity-led’ subsection of the comedy programme, Rich Hardisty’s show is about ‘how my brain and mental illness affects me and all of the strange funny situations I've landed in because of it’. He says the show touches on dark material but that he’s found it very cathartic. ‘To get a roar of laughter for something that was so traumatic at the time is amazing,’ he said in a recent interview. Pleasance Courtyard, 4:30pm

Published: 29 Jul 2022

Live comedy picks

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.