When I was growing up in the nineties, it was very seldom to see a disabled person on television on anything other than the News or highly emotional charity campaigns encouraging the viewer to part with their cash. With the exception of the great Stephen Hawking, disabled people were somewhat invisible to the world of Light Entertainment and were very rarely portrayed as anything other than symbols of pity. Comedians Francesca Martinez and Laurence Clark certainly helped to pave the way for an inclusion of diversity in the world of comedy. Yet by the dawn of the social media generation, comedy was crying out for an honest take on the enigmatic world of disability…and boy didn’t it get it!
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After graduating from Huddersfield University with a first class degree in English, writer and comedian Rosie Jones secured a researcher’s role as part of the disability and diversity scheme at Channel Four. Being assigned to the network’s flagship panel show Eight Out of Ten Cats offered her invaluable insight into the workings of a television panel show which would prove significant in the coming years. Working on the show introduced Rosie to some of the biggest names in comedy and inspired her to indulge further into her side career as a budding stand up comedian. Conquering the gruelling and unpredictable nature of the stand up is a process which only the elite prevail in.
To do this Rosie realised that she would need to shape her act in a way that would offer her the best possible chance to succeed. Having Ataxic Cerebral Palsy since birth results in Rosie’s unwanted movement which affects her speech. Therefore she recognised that to put her audience at ease and in turn get them acclimatised to her speech patterns, she would require a handful of short, sharp one-liners addressing her disability to start her act with a bang. Once these comedy fireworks had been delivered and the crowd was familiar with the way in which she spoke, Rosie could then move on to more conversational material safe in the knowledge that the audience were coming along on this verbal journey with her. In fact, apart from being the perfect ice breaker, Rosie makes a conscious effort to limit the subject of disability within her act through her determination not to be defined by it. There’s a limitless amount of material for Rosie to draw from in everyday life which makes her disability insignificant and more importantly totally irrelevant. This is arguably a substantial step towards total acceptance within the comedy world as opposed to being used to fulfil a diversity quota.
Following a triumphant success on the circuit which culminated in her reaching the final of the 2016 funniest women awards, Rosie was ready for bigger and better things. She made her TV debut back where it all began on Channel Four’s Eight Out Of Ten Cats alongside Jimmy Carr. Having been already familiar with Rosie, Jimmy was able to offer her the time required to contribute to proceedings and was forever mindful to direct the conversation to her when she had a suitable gag to offer. To the audience, this looked seamless but it’s thanks to Jimmy’s thoughtful generosity that Rosie was able to make a mark on the panel show and even now remains delighted when she appears with him on a TV show as they both are so familiar with each other’s patter. This proves that not only is he one of Britain’s best comedians, Jimmy Carr is also an incredibly generous and thoughtful human being.
Following the success of her appearance on Eight Out Of Ten Cats, Rosie was now a firm favourite on the panel show circuit appearing on everything from Would I Lie To You to Harry Hill’s Alien Fun Capsule. Yet one of her favourites remains Dave’s Hypothetical with Josh Widdecombe and James Acaster for the informal atmosphere which it creates. Each person has the time to execute their own material in a way which more quick fire panel shows like Mock The Week struggle to accommodate. Rosie thrives upon the opportunity to be as outrageous as possible and contribute irreverent comments to proceedings in the guise of her larger than life alter-ego. This is only possible on formats with a loose structure and Hypothetical encourages such improvisation which offered Rosie’s sharp, irreverent wit to shine through the screen. Such a positive experience might be an influential factor as to why Hypothetical occupies such a special place in her heart.
2022 marks a pivotal year in the career of Rosie Jones as she embarks on her first nationwide tour. Coming to a theatre near you, Rosie shall be live for over an hour as she brings you her own take on the bizarre world we live in. Having supported Joe Lycett and Nish Kumar on their respective UK tours, Rosie is gagging to get out there and entertain the masses in her own inimitable style and I for sure shall be purchasing a ticket! It was an absolute pleasure to interview the incomparable Rosie Jones and I’m already looking forward to the next time!