AN EARLY incarnation of Tim Renkow’s forthcoming Edinburgh Fringe show, this was a muddled performance in which the American confessed to forgetting significant chunks of his material.
Tim Renkow: Less Disabled Than Scotland
Heroes @ The Griffin, Glasgow
Nevertheless, this work-in-progress reiterated what a compelling and provocative act he is and bodes well for that future hour.
Having grown up with cerebral palsy, he suffers the preconceptions and perversions of others but deploys his condition as a weapon, using his rare perspective for daring, mischievous routines on racism, sexuality and paedophilia.
Beneath his punchlines’ wicked impishness, there’s a general cynicism and world-weariness, his jaded views on Scotland and Britain only mildly tempered by tales of criminal stupidity from his native North Carolina. Often, he reaches for gratuitous shock but there’s reasoned argument and historical context too.
In his swipes at the Chinese, meanwhile, the coming superpower, he forces you to question whether he’s attacking someone more or less powerful than himself, and how culturally imposed such distinctions are. With vague ethnicity and even indefinable disability for some, he’s experienced all manner of prejudice and you feel palpable anger underpinning the humour.
Still, Renkow hates being seen as representative of the disabled and he’ll always prioritise laughs over polemic, appreciating that the inconsistencies in his views are neither here nor there.
That said, plenty of the logic he deploys is actually sound, and all the more effective for being wittily unpalatable.