How Brighton-bound Rosie Jones overcomes the foul online hate
and live on Freeview channel 276
Now it’s Sussex’s turn to get in on the fun. Rosie Jones: Triple Threat, now on its third leg, is at Theatre Royal Brighton (being filmed) on Saturday, February 10 and Chequer Mead, East Grinstead on Saturday, April 13.
“A lot of people are surprised that it's my first tour because they think I have been in the business for years and years. I don't know whether that's a good thing or a bad thing! But actually I only started stand-up in 2017, six or seven years ago and then during that time since then, obviously we've had Covid, and that was two years.
“But my first job ever was in TV. I was a researcher and then I began writing jokes for all the comedians on the panel shows. And I still really enjoy writing but a combination of things happened and the first is really that I am a big attention seeker. Although I really really like writing for other people, part of me wanted to have the laughs for myself. I wanted the limelight but the other thing is that as a disabled person growing up, I never saw anyone disabled on the TV and then on the rare occasions when I did they were always someone that was depicted as the vulnerable one, the victim, the one that everybody should feel sorry for. That was never me. That was never my story.
“And coming through TV made me realise that there was a place for a strong independent disabled voice, particularly in the comedy world. I saw a gap and I wanted to be that positive representation – not just for other disabled people but for also for non-disabled people to see me and to see what I do and to realise that because a person has a disability it doesn't mean that they are incapable or disadvantaged or that they live half a life in some way. I wanted them to see that disabled people can be on TV, they can be on stage, they can be out, they can be proud and they can just be themselves.
“My favourite part of touring is meeting my audience. I do a meet and greet and I love to chat and I do find that a lot of the people that come to speak to me have a disability. They come up to me and say ‘Thank you for going out there and for being unapologetic.’ They say ‘Thank you for being yourself.’
“Because of my disability I do receive a lot of hate and abuse online and I'm a victim of ableism. Sometimes it’s pretty hard to get over and difficult to swallow so when I meet disabled people that are saying thank you for representing them, then for me I just think that's the reason why I do it.
“Last year I did a documentary about online abuse and hate. I don't know all the answers. I think it comes from different angles. I think it's partly fear and anger of the unknown and I also think it's from a lack of education. I do think it's because some people have never met a disabled person. They don't know anybody that talks like me so when they see that I am very happy being myself, that brings out confusion for them because they have grown up believing that a disabled person should be sad and should be vulnerable and they see that I am not.
“If I screamed and if I got upset and got angry at every comment, every time I was patronised, and every time I've been a victim of ableism, I would spend my life angry. And I don't want to do that. I do get angry. I do get sad. But I do think a lot of it is about communication. It is about being honest. It's about making sure that I'm mentally and physically healthy and it's also about keeping everything in perspective. When I get abuse online it feels like the whole world is against me but they are not. I know that it's a very, very small percentage. And I do fundamentally believe that the large majority of people find me funny and they are the people that matter. And if I can say that I'm proud of myself, that's the important thing.”