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‘If the audience isn’t laughing, I don’t know they’re there’

Blind comedian Chris Mccausland on heckling and why he should be allowed to drive in Mumbai.

art and culture Updated: Mar 19, 2011 16:42 IST
Rochelle Pinto

Mumbai is the only city in the world where I can drive, because nobody looks at where they’re going anyway,” says comedian Chris Mccausland. The comment makes sense when you realise that Mccausland is blind, not just a really poor driver.

In the city to perform at the Comedy Store, Palladium, the comic packed in the crowds on his first show on Thursday. “I was surprised by how good people’s English was and that they understood my accent and dialect,” the UK-born performer reveals. Tell him that most people at the end of the show were debating whether he was really blind or not and he replies, “Well that makes me wonder what a rubbish character act that would be, to pretend that I was blind! I guess I take it as a compliment, but if the audience is not laughing, I don’t know they’re there.”

Comic actStarting his career over seven years ago as a dare to himself, Mccausland has tried to sidestep the obvious routines and avoid making fun of his disability. "I make a blind joke at the beginning, but since people would expect that to be my routine, it’s nice not to do that." Ask him if he’s ever been heckled and he responds, "People only make fun of me in a join-in kinda joking manner. Maybe they think they’ll burn in Hell."

Mccausland mentions that he’s performing on Sunday for the “people who don’t like cricket,” and adds that he’s well aware of India’s number one holy cow. “I don’t get a game where you play for five days and then it rains and it’s a draw. Just put a roof up and keep playing,” he guffaws, adding, “I’m going to have a go at cricket jokes on Sunday, and I’m sure they’re going to throw things at me.”

Mccausland may be “melting in the bloody heat,” but this trip certainly made girlfriend Patricia happy. “She only accompanies me to the nice places, basically anywhere where there’s plenty of shopping to be done.”