Preview: Jaik Campbell: I've Stuttered So I'll F-F-Finish, CO2, Infirmary Street, Edinburgh
Friday 29 July 2005
Inspired by the comedian (and stammerer) Rowan Atkinson, the Suffolk-born Campbell became a stand-up five years ago and has created a niche in disability humour. Last summer, he headed the Edinburgh show D-D-D-Don't Mention the Disability... I Did Once and It Took 15 Minutes, with the partially sighted Kevin Knite and the hard-of-hearing Inkey Jones, and has since appeared with the deaf comedian Steve Day.
"One of the reasons I became a stand-up," Campbell says, "was because I didn't have much control of my life, since I couldn't really speak. Stand-up has helped, because I think, if I do this I can do anything. It gets better, the more confident you get."
Recalling a routine he did at a conference of the British Stammering Association, he told one audience: "I actually spoke very fluently, which was annoying. Someone came up and said: 'You b... you b... you b... you bastard! You're taking the piss.' Someone heckled me, and I told them to shut up before they could say anything. Another said: 'You're sh... You're sh... You're quite good.' I said: 'That's easy for you to say.'"
However, while getting his stutter "out in the open" has been "quite liberating", Campbell acknowledges: "Performing stand-up to a big audience can be stressful, and could make a stammerer more nervous - it's not for the fainthearted."
Campbell is joined in Edinburgh by the singer-songwriter Andy Paterson, who also has a stutter. Campbell says: "If I can help just one person become more positive about their stutter, or any disability they may have, it's all been worthwhile."
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