Published: 13/09/2014 04:41 - Updated: 12/09/2014 15:02

Jamie's banking on laughs with new career

That Funny Blind Guy - Jamie MacDonald
That Funny Blind Guy - Jamie MacDonald

FOR those experiencing referendum fatigue, as well as the many just anxious to see the matter settled, September 18th cannot come quickly enough.

However, for stand up comedian Jamie MacDonald, there is one drawback.

"I lose 10 minutes of my act on September 18th," he laughed.

Still, MacDonald should have plenty other stuff to talk about from "going on the pull" in Fort William to Jesus turning water into wine at the feast at Cana and the absurdities and challenges of being visually impaired.

The 33-year year old Glaswegian began losing his sight at the age of 16 when he was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a progressive degenerative retinal disease which will eventually leave him totally blind.

However, that did not stop him from studying ancient history at St Andrews University then law at Aberdeen, on embarking on a career in corporate banking before deciding that comedy was definitely more fun.

"Every day a part of my soul would die," MacDonald said of his time in the City.

"Comedy is not as lucrative, but if you measure success as being truly engaged in what you are doing, then I’m a very rich man."

The one good thing about working in banking was that it was just around the corner from Shoreditch Comedy Cafe.

Having dabbled in comedy at university, including some phone pranking for radio, MacDonald went along on an open mic night, setting him on the road to a comedy career.

A year later he quit banking to return to Scotland to devote himself to comedy full time.

Last year he made his solo Edinburgh Fringe debut with his show That Funny Blind Guy.

"From then on, it started to snowball," MacDonald said.

This year’s follow up, That Funny Blind Guy II: The Good, The Stag and The Ugly moved to a larger venue at the Assembly Rooms, where it proved to be even more of a hit.

"There was a nice buzz about the show," he said.

"I sold out about seven or eight nights, but then on the other hand there was one Monday where I only had four people. But that turned out to be one of the best shows I did because it was so intimate. I can even remember their names!"

MacDonald’s blindness does feature in his set, of course, but he is determined not top just trade on his disability.

"It’s my own unique take on observational humour," he explained,

"It’s comedy despite being blind, not because of it."

Instead he wants to follow in the broader storytelling tradition of his own comedy heroes, comics like Frank Skinner, Dylan Moran, Billy Connolly and Peter Kay.

"People who do comedy that just makes people laugh," he said.

In keeping with his good Highland name, MacDonald has plenty of Highland relations in Inverness and Ross-shire and is expecting some of them to come along to his first Inverness show.

But is it not intimidating performing in front of your relatives?

"Not after the Glasgow Free Festival where I acted out a full audio described porno scene in front of my parents," MacDonald laughed.

Relations or not, MacDonald reckons there will be plenty of laughter at Eden Court tomorrow.

"You can’t not be happy living in Inverness, can you?" he asked,

Jamie MacDonald is at the OneTouch Theatre, Eden Court, Inverness, at 8pm  on Saturday 13th September.

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