Jay Islaam – Travels with Autism

A show that I was particularly interested in seeing was Jay Islaam’s Travels with Autism (The Caves, Spare Room 2100). The venue is nicely located, but does resemble the set of a first person zombie slaying game. Regrettably I arrived a few moments after the show had started, but luckily I only missed the first couple of minutes. When I arrived Jay was discussing various fibs and half truths that he has gotten past the guardians of the media, who aren’t that hot on checking facts. After this warm up, he announced that the lies were out of the way and that the rest of the show would be the truth about his life with autism.

He began this bit with three dark jokes to settle the expectations of the audience who may have attended on the strength of his reputation. From here he took us through a very personal tour of his past and his present, showing the effects that autism has had upon his life. This was a fascinating show and very interesting with a lot to be learnt from it and it was also enjoyable in many ways. Jay has something of a reputation as a Machiavellian figure and this made it all the more intriguing to see this side of his life.

Although a lot of what Jay was talking about didn’t make for comedy and was never intended to be, there were still some good laughs to be had. Every now and again Jay’s natural talents as a performer came out, such as his ebullience over the American Pastor who blames gays for floods and who was recently flooded out of his home. His sheer delight at this happening was infectious and it made everyone laugh. These skills were further demonstrated by his delivery of icky and sock. Spectrum was a nice line that was missed due to a generational gap, the acronym was good and even more entertaining as people got it at their own pace. The section on executions was delightfully dark and whilst slightly out of touch with the rest of the show, still very funny and it did prove his point about autistic people seeing the humour where other people don’t.

This isn’t a comedy show, but it is certainly humorous and I learnt a lot about autism whilst simultaneously enjoying myself.


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