So Brave. Opening night MICF.

Don't pray for Madeleine Stewart. Petite, disabled, cute, blonde, *sweet looking* at first glance. But appearances can be deceiving and this comedian will *single handedly sort you out. #melbourneinternationalcomedyfestival #disabilitypride

Don’t pray for Madeleine Stewart. Petite, disabled, cute, blonde, *sweet looking* at first glance. But appearances can be deceiving and this comedian will *single handedly sort you out.

If you are unfortunate enough to want mutter to God on behalf of a comedian this sharp, let me know, and I’ll bring the popcorn and a foldable chair.

Image description: Show poster with Maddie siting on a brown kitchen chair with one leg crossed over the other. She has long blonde hair, supremely shiny boots and black overalls on. Her left arm, which ends at her elbow and has no hand, is rested on her knee and her right arm props her up by leaning on the chairback, hand on her cheek. Show details are in text – see bottom of this post for details.

There’s been a bit said about the thoughts and prayers front for disabled folk; but Maddie got a good snort laugh out of me that others haven’t.

Because most of us in the disability community, think God has better things to do than bother with us. Let’s be honest, many of us think he could do something about world peace, poverty, climate change, just for a fucking start. We’ll manage without a pointless conversation with a deity, just fine, thank you very much.

One thing that shines in Maddie’s very funny show, is the rejection of the cure squad mentality of the concerned citizens of popular culture.

Because, for fucks sake, Maddie, and the rest of us, are done with your tragedy tropes.

Maddie weaves her observational comedy and her personal story together to deftly navigate the key elements of disability pride. And yet, it’s also not all beer and skittles, and that’s good too as many of us still grapple with internalised ableism too.

There is a point in the show, where you can see this show is not just for us crips and it’s funny for all. Cleverly though, it’s also for the abled bodied people blithely unaware of the perils of dating for a disabled person. And there are two moments in the show, where momentary but powerful silence is the penny dropping of *ed-u-fucking-cation* on very serious topics.

And I loved it. There’s a couple of things I am sure that time and more shows will iron out, but we definitely need more comedy like this.

Maddie’s laughs are punctuated with the light and shade of a shared awkward sex story that many of us have. Whether disabled or not, she succeeds in being relatable and yet makes the unique disability challenges also *accessible to all audiences.

She slams the ridiculous inability of society to accept that #disabledpeoplearehot and that sex is for us too.

Then she ups the anti and gets all political and it’s glorious. Taking aim at the “ChOicE anD coNtroL” bullshit of the political spin about what NDIS is; poorly designed insurance corporates profiting off taking away disabled people’s autonomy.

Maddie crafts the connections between shitty government policy and comedic story telling giving that this show a bit more impact that just the story itself, making connections between policy and consequences. And so very funny too.

So Brave. On at The Malthouse Theatre, 113 Sturt Street, Southbank – until April 10. There are Auslan performances available and a decent sized lift (best to ring ahead though so they can get a staff member to operate it).

Performed by Madeline Stewart.

Presented by Milke. Directed by Jason Marion.

Tickets from: https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2022/shows/maddie-stewart

*there are two really bad puns in this post. I do not apologise for the single handed reference or the accessible reference. I’m aware they are bad, move along now, nothing to see here. I also do not apologise for use of the reclaimed word crips.

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