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Comedian laughs off his disability

Joshua Robertson
Joshua Robertson

Things could had turned out very differently for Joshua Robertson after a life-changing accident, but instead of wallowing in his self-pity he did the complete opposite.

Months of perseverance saw him back on his two feet, the rehabilitation process was no joke, but it paved a career which was full of punchlines.

Writing for ABLE2UK Joshua tells us his inspirational story…

‘After being born in North London I moved to Australia when I was 10 years old. When I was a child,

I was an athlete. I swam for the state of South Australia, played football and cricket for my school.

When I was 11 years old I went on a holiday with my friends to Victoria/Melbourne over the Christmas break. 

I went to their family farm. My friend and I took a quad bike out for a ride without helmets on.

As my friend was driving the quad bike, he saw there was a fence ahead which was shut so he jumped off. As I was a passenger I didn’t see anything so I remained on the quad bike.

It was 2 hours before I was found as my friend was knocked unconscious. I was pronounced dead at the scene. They managed to resuscitate me and I was air lifted to Melbourne women’s and children’s hospital where I was put in an induced coma. My family were told that I was severely brain damaged and that i wouldn’t survive and if I did, I wouldn’t be able to walk or talk ever again. My Mum and Dad had to make a decision whether to turn my life support off. They decided not to and held onto the hope.

Miraculously, I woke up from my coma after 4 months still severely brain damaged and with a physical disability. 

I quickly accepted my disability and learnt to embrace it. It took me 2 years to learn to walk and talk again. 

I first started my journey of being a stand-up Comedian in Adelaide, South Australia.

I was in class and my best mate and I were chatting about what we were going do career wise when we left school. The question I asked myself wasn’t ‘what do I want to do?’ The question was ‘what can I do?

My best friend said to me josh "you’re pretty funny you should try out an open mic night, I’ll organise a spot for you”

I went along to the open mic night at a comedy club called “the rhino room”

I started going down a bad road though, after every gig we did, me and the other open mic comedians went to the pub and got drunk.

I actually got thrown out of that pub after a gig as I was being loud and lairy.

At this stage of my career, I obviously wasn’t treating Stand-up comedy like a job. I spent a few months with the same bad attitude! It was only when I made the move to London that I started taking stand-up comedy seriously.

The first show I did in London was the “king gong" at the London comedy store. I got a glimpse of how professional comedians work. This inspired me to become one of these “professional comedians"

I was lucky enough to go to New York City and Indonesia where I did some stand-up comedy.

When I arrived back in London, I was at an open mic night trying out some new jokes, fortunately I was seen by a manager of BBC3. He thought I’d be perfect for a TV documentary called ‘A Very Personal Assistant’ which is about disability and comedy.

I was lucky enough to go to New York City and Indonesia where I did some stand-up comedy

After going down well in New York City, I thought I was ready to perform at the Edinburgh fringe festival. I did a few guest spots in Edinburgh on other comedians’ shows.

I was then seen by a film director in “top secret comedy club”. After the show he dropped me a message as he had some interesting ideas for a new project that he was keen to work on with me.

We started working together and came up with a short film called ‘DAD JOKE’ which I co-wrote and starred in. This was shown in the BFI London Film festival and was nominated for Beat British short in the London film festival. This short is now being developed into a TV series with the Edinburgh talent lab connects.

After 7 years of doing gong shows and short guest spots at the London Comedy Store “I’m now doing 20 minute professional spots.

Fast forward to 2020 after years of rehabilitation and a lot of love and support from my family, I am now a proud father of 2, a comedian, writer and actor and I wouldn’t change my disability for the world.

I feel my disability played a part in getting interest from TV. But my success has mainly been hard work and perseverance.’

To keep up-to-date with Joshua Robertson connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.