The successful English stand-up comedy show CH-uckles will be back next week at the Theater Casino Zug for the February show with 3 great performances. We will be giving away two tickets for the next show on the 20th February. Visit our Facebook page to participate.
An interview with Steve Day by Andaleeb Lilley
I always wanted to be a comedian, ever since I watched the likes of Les Dawson and Ken Dodd on the TV in the 70's. My dad was a big fan of comedy and I'd sit with him and watch. I lost most of my hearing when I was 18 though, and thought I couldn't do it. It took me another 18 years to actually give it a go.I don't know why my hearing went, no-one could tell me. I don't mean I couldn't hear the explanation, just that they didn't know.
What happened later was I was at a very low point in my life, I was ok at work where I was an IT consultant, and my hearing problems could be got round, but socially I didn't seem to fit in, in the end staying in on my own was easier than going out. I knew I was wasting my life, not enjoying things and was at a bit of a loss.
By chance I saw a newspaper ad about a stand-up workshop at City Lit in London, almost like a nightschool class in comedy. I knew straight away that this was what I wanted to do. I went a little nervously thinking perhaps I wouldn't be able to hear some bits but what the hell, I'd give it a go as it was better than suicide. I needn't have worried, from the first night I was off, to me this was the beginning of my comedy career, just being on the workshop.
What followed has been like a miracle to me. I left IT behind in 2005, and though of course there have been tough gigs on occasions, the worst day I've ever had in comedy is still better than the best day I ever had in IT. I met my wife soon after starting on the curcuit, I would never have even gone up to her in my previous life. We've got five kids now. I still claim that when it came to the wedding vows, I didn't know what I was agreeing to.
Best thing about Switzerland?
From my last visit I remember it's so peaceful and you feel you'd never get mugged.
Worst thing about Switzerland?
It's so peaceful that you might get bored and mug yourself just for some excitement.
What would you do with a million pounds?
I'd spend a million pounds on a boat that I'd just keep on my driveway just in case.
What would you take back to the UK from Switzerland?
From Switzerland I'd have your hearing aids, they're great. And Toblerones in the airport.
What would you take back from Switzerland to the UK?
From the UK I'd bring something happening after 10pm. Anything.
What's the difference between Swiss and British men?
Swiss men can yodel in three languages, we can only talk louder, in one.
Tell us a bit more about the challenges you face as a hard-of-hearing comic?
Deafness has made some things tough, and some things better. There's a practical problem of knowing if your audience are laughing.
There are benefits though, being unique for one thing is a bonus in getting gigs and once any initial reluctance on the part of the audience to laugh at disability is overcome, it provides, I think, an interesting perspective. There still is that resistance though, sometimes, every now and again an audience simply won't have it. Two things have happened though, I've got funnier, and attitudes have changed, albeit slowly, since the early days. The Paralympics have also been a big help in making disability seem less scary and taboo, there is less relectance to laugh.
Other things help too, email and texts for one. I'm not able to use the phone comfortably and getting gigs was hard when this was the only method.
Overall people have been encouraging, and I can't think of any instance where I was knowingly discriminated against. Of course there are times when you don't get the gigs you feel you should but I think if I'm honest enough, it wasn't ever due to disability, more that I should get funnier.
I'm not a campaigner though, and I don't have a mission to break down barriers and take on discrimination, I just want to make people laugh. If the other things happen that is a great thing, but really a by-product.