Finding the Funny by Georgie Morrell
‘Hey Georgie…. No, over here! So why have your written a comedy about that time you went blind?’
Well I’m glad you asked. Several times people have asked: why have I made my first show as a professional comedian about the time I went blind and execute it as a stand up comedy? Fair point. Unexpected blindness doesn’t scream massive lolz but bear with me, this is going somewhere. So lets get it out the way and talk about my show and I promise my future blogs will focus on more important matters, such as David Gandy’s arms and Cillian Murphy’s jaw line.
First some background. I have had an on going eye condition since I was three years old. I was well cute at 3 years old btw. By my teens I had lost sight in the left eye. I was not cute in my teens. The right eye’s sight was maintained with the help of clever doctors; shed loads of eye drops and surgeries. In 2008 the right eye decided that seeing was for losers and ducked out for about a year. I got my sight back with the help of the geniuses at Moorfields Eye Hospital but am fully prepared it could go again. It’s about now you should be reaching for the tissues…not like that!
So that’s where we are up to and if you want to know more see my show!
It was a bold move to use my blindness for comedy and put my personal life out there. At the time I didn’t think about the reasons for doing it other than I wanted to get into comedy, its best to make your own show and put yourself out there. What have I got to lose? Loads actually but thankfully it paid off. And I was offered an Edinburgh slot and got gigs off the back of it. I’m more of a doer anyway. Do it, see if it works and if not, move on. So now in retrospect when I really think about why did I choose one of the bleakest periods of my life to help my fledgling comedy career? I guess to start with because when life gets really messed up, sometimes funny shit happens
I love comedy that takes the tragic and makes it funny. I call it Finding the Funny. It comes in various forms. Stand ups like Frankie Boyle or Jimmy Carr who make jokes about operation Yewtree and sexual assault to name a few, do it. Or sitcoms like The Office that focus on unfortunate losers and makes it hilarious. We laugh in spite of ourselves and that is what I wanted to explore. It was a shocking period for me but also a master class in human behaviour, which is essentially the basis of so much comedy. Therefore if I can find the funny in blindness what else can we?
Manipulating an audience to laugh at some rather unpleasant circumstances is really fun too! Ask most comics. I found it important to bring in the gritty details. That’s often where the funny hides. For instance, when my mother had to bathe me or that I used to drop food down myself when I ate but my parents didn’t have the heart to tell me for fear of embarrassing me. I found funny in this tragic moment, or better still the audience did. It therefore gets them thinking outside the box and looking at certain aspects of our lives differently; not necessarily laughing in the face of tragedy but a slightly new perspective. I know my approach to personal matters and extreme circumstances changed after I went blind. But now we are posed with the question, why make dark issues or experiences funny? Is that not just insensitive and offensive? My answer to that is this. My Mum was diagnosed with cancer last year. I am pleased to say she is doing very well. There was literally nothing I could do to make it better for her other than cook meals, clean and walk the dogs. I could however make her laugh. Do what I have always been good at and offer her some comic relief. I could give her a tiny moment of joy amongst the bullshit. Don’t offer pity; find the funny where you can because when life is shit it’s those tiny moments that will keep you going. I learnt that after being blind and I guess that’s why I’ve done the show. Hopefully audiences will laugh and go out and find the funny for themselves.
If you were to ask me why I have continued to do the show it would be obviously for my career ( I’m not a total idiot) but also because of people like Laura. I never knew Laura until she saw my show. After the show she found me on Facebook and messaged me. She too has an on-going eye condition and like me is slightly in limbo in regards to the future of her sight. She wanted me to know she enjoyed it; she felt less alone and laughed at things she didn’t think possible. If you can tell me a better reason than that, then I’m all ears.
To find out all about A Poke in the Eye and upcoming shows check out my website-http://pokeintheeyeproductions.co.uk/index.html
Upcoming shows below-
First preview on sale now! 14th June 2016 7.30pm A Poke in the Eye @ Backyard Comedy Club. www.tickettext.co.uk/georgie-morrell/a-poke-in-the-eye-edinburgh-preview-14062016
4th-28th August Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Just The Tonic-The Caves@ Just the Spare Room 1pm.
22 nd 7.30pm July 2016: A Poke in the Eye @ Landor Theatre
19th-9.30pm / 23rd 2.30pm July 2016: A Poke in the Eye @ Kings Head Theatre #46 Festival
9th July 2016: Brainchild Comedy Night @ BrainChild Festival
8th July 2016:7.30pm A Poke in the Eye @ Hen & Chickens. Double bill with Naomi Petersen!