Could you be the Jewish Comedian of the Year?

Think you're funnier than most other Jews? Put your money where your mouth is at JW3


Aaron Simmonds is Jewish Comedian of the Year. Which is a little bit strange, as his act isn’t about being Jewish at all. “I have done Jewish material in the past,” he says, “but I’m in a wheelchair, and if I talk about other things then people wonder why I’m not talking about being in a wheelchair.”

He won his award at JW3’s Comedy Festival last year, and the reason we’re talking now is to encourage others to submit tapes to be considered. “I found it made a real difference in how promoters saw me.” It didn’t get him more shul gigs — something for which he’s quite grateful.

“Synagogues aren’t designed for comedy,” he says, “if everyone in the audience knows each other, the audience is more hesitant. And then there’s always going to be someone who knows me, or my parents, or my brother, so I have to be more honest…”

His advice to aspiring comics is to base their acts on what makes them different from others, not necessarily their Jewishness. His own life offers much material: he has cerebal palsy and has used a wheelchair since he was 15, but not exclusively. “It’s really weird how differently people treat you when you’re in a wheelchair. Cars stop for a wheelchair.” He took up comedy four years ago — he’s now 28 — and last year as well as winning the JW3 contest, was a finalist in the BBC’s Young Comedian of the Year.

His act is more stories than “joke jokes.” He’s rather tell you about the guy who comes up and says he’s Jesus and going to heal him, than make puns about being “wheelie funny”.

He has a favourite line though, “The best thing about being a comedian is that when I’m asked what I do for a living, I get to say stand up.”


You can enter the JW3 contest here

Aaron Simmonds is appearing daily at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and is at the Bill Murray pub in Angel on July 13. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter


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