Aaron Simmonds: Baby Steps | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review
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Aaron Simmonds: Baby Steps

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

This Fringe is the first time Aaron Simmonds has performed his stand-up show standing up. He had one goal in mind in ditching the wheelchair – to spite the box office worker at last year’s Watford Fringe who referred to him with an ableist mime.

Simmonds freely admits that when he decided to do this gig, everything was against him. He could not yet stand for an hour, and had no material planned. The latter becomes painfully evident at times, as many of his jokes rely on profanity, and he occasionally loses the audience with his longer-winded set-ups - something else he acknowledges, resorting to asking us to laugh.

Nonetheless, Simmonds shares entertaining tales about Segway-themed arguments, making friends in strange circumstances, and sports competitions with bizarre rules about sex. He has a demeanour that endears him, and even though asking for laughs may not be the sign of a great show, at times he pulls it off. His jabs at ableist people land well, and a particular highlight was his proposal for a new Paralympic logo, which he aptly suggests should include the disabled toilet symbol. 

While disjointed, Simmonds’ jokes have an interesting thread loosely tying them together: the perspective of a wheelchair user with cerebral palsy, going through a journey of both spite (against the box-office worker) and self discovery. He takes us on his adventures through Grindr, something he’s only just begun to explore after his girlfriend broke up with him, sticking firmly to crude jokes such as tales of ‘Brad the Impaler’.

A good portion of his show relies upon vulgar humour - including an amusing section about his grandma and nana holding hands in an incriminating way over Simmonds's lap - and at times it feels drawn out. 

The first few crude jokes elicited laughter, but there are only so many ways in which such basic jokes can be told. The pace slows as the show goes on, ending with the sadness of his girlfriend breaking up with him and the hopes of discovering a new side to himself and of finding a new best friend.

Review date: 22 Aug 2023
Reviewed by: Kashmini Shah
Reviewed at: Pleasance Courtyard

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