Shake off the autumn blues with two laughter-packed treats at Eden Court, writes Susan Welsh
If Scottish comedian Jamie MacDonald gets a cheeky heckle during his show, That Funny Blind Guy 2: The Good, the Stag and the Ugly, at Eden Court on Saturday night, there’s a good chance he might recognise the voice.
It could be a member of his family.
“I can’t wait to come up to Inverness, because I’ve got a load of family from the north: my dad was born in Inverness and my granny lived in Sutherland,” said Jamie, 34.
“Dad’s name is Ron MacDonald, short for Ronald MacDonald, which was really where I got my introduction to comedy; I’ve been joking about that for 34 years.
“I’m from a big family and there’s a lot of big personalities in the family, so from an early age I loved listening to everyone chatting and making each other laugh.
“At school, I was the kid who tried to make other people laugh and entertaining people and, touch wood, I’ve had the ability to make people laugh.
“I’ve got some family members from Skye, Brora and Inverness coming to the Inverness show; I just hope they don’t do what they did last time, which was start a massive singsong halfway through the show.”
Jamie, who is making a name for himself on the comedy circuit, is a remarkable chap because he’s not only given up a successful career in banking to become a full-time comedian, but he also happens to be blind.
The Glaswegian comic, stand-up comedian, writer and voice-over artist started losing his sight at the age of 16 when he was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), a progressive degenerative retinal disease which will eventually leave him totally blind.
Undeterred with his prognosis, he completed an ancient history degree at St Andrews University and a law degree at Aberdeen University and, after leaving uni, moved to London, where he worked as a corporate banker for the Bank of Scotland.
“Everything was fine for a few years. Then, halfway through 2007, the credit crunch started to kick in, then 2008 was crazy. I managed to hang on until 2010, then I was offered voluntary redundancy.
“I was so disillusioned with banking by then I was happy to leave that world and moved to Edinburgh to pursue a career as a stand-up comedian on the Scottish circuit.
It was while he was in London that Jamie succumbed to the pull of the stage and, in 2009, gave his first performance at an open-mic night at the Comedy Café, Shoreditch.
Over the past few years, he has written scripts for companies such as Dewar’s Whisky and the audio-tour company Walking Heads.
The same year he left banking, he produced and co-wrote the critically acclaimed hit 2012 Fringe show Lingua Frank.
“I then decided to stop writing with and for other people and write my own stand-up show, which became That Funny Blind Guy 1, which made its debut at the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe.”
The follow-up to that critically acclaimed show is That Funny Blind Guy 2: The Good, the Stag, and the Ugly, which he takes to Eden Court on Saturday night.
“I’m single at the moment. So in the new show, I talk a bit about relationships and going on the pull with a white stick in a nightclub; weddings, the referendum and taking on challenges such as trying ski-ing at the Nevis Range, which went horribly wrong.”
The other challenge he faces, every time he takes to the stage, is not being able to see the looks on the faces of the people he’s working hard to entertain.
“Sometimes you get appreciative audiences who sit there and enjoy it, but don’t give their all until the end. They kill me because they don’t make a peep then give rapturous applause at the end,” said Jamie.
“I want uncontrollable laughter of the incontinence variety throughout.”
Jamie, who is also an ambassador for the Fight For Sight charity, is at the One Touch Theatre, Eden Court, this Saturday, September 13, at 8pm.
Next to grace the Eden Court stage is another well-travelled Scotsman, Danny Bhoy.
It has been a couple of years since he last appeared in Inverness and his fans are anxious to see him in action again.
With a natural gift for storytelling, laid-back style and razor-sharp wit, he’s one of the most exciting stand-up comedians to emerge in recent years.
Strangely enough, he’s possibly better known outwith these shores as his overseas shows sell out immediately.
He has had quite a lot of TV exposure of late, so that’s bound to change as Scottish comedy fans realise what the rest of the world seems to have known for a long time, that Danny Bhoy is an absolute hoot.
He’s at Eden Court next Wednesday, September 17, with a show at 8pm.
Tickets for both shows are available from the box office on 01463 234234.