Disabled Jokes – Is it ok to tell jokes about people with disabilities?

Disabled Jokes

I love hearing jokes, including those from stand-up comedians. I briefly considered becoming a stand-up comedian, but I cannot stand up. So I contemplated being a stand-up sitting down comedian. That was a joke in case you didn’t notice it. Steady Eddy is an Australia comedian with cerebral palsy, and the basis for his comedy is his disability. If it is ok to joke about your disability, is it ok to tell disabled jokes about the impairments of other people?

From my childhood, I recall hearing disabled jokes about Helen Keller, and a Google search finds tens of jokes about her.

“Did you hear about the new Helen Keller doll? You wind her up, and she bumps into the furniture!”

Did you find this funny? I didn’t. This joke was one of the cleanest disabled jokes I found. Helen Keller achieved much in her life after many people thought she could do little, and she shouldn’t be the target of jokes.

Denise Scott at the Internation Carers Conference

I recently attended “The International Carers Conference” in Adelaide, where carers and care organisations joined together to discuss topics relating to this industry. Their vision is …

“An Australia that values and supports the contribution that carers make both to the people they care for and to the community as a whole.”

Denise Scott is a stand-up comedian, and during the conference, I found her funny until she made a few jokes about her mother who had dementia.  After a couple of cheap shots relating to the poor memory of those with dementia, I stopped listening and sent a Twitter message to a friend. Kate Swaffer was diagnosed with younger onset dementia at 49 years of age. She is an internationally recognised speaker, author and advocate for people with dementia around the globe. I knew Kate disliked people making fun of those with dementia. After sending the message, I disappeared to do something more useful than listening to these types of jokes and headed to the accessible toilet.

Denise Scott loves telling disabled jokes about her mother

Scott had previously told jokes about people with Asperger’s syndrome …

“I can’t stand people who say they are alcoholic or have mild Aspergers or celiac when the fact is they’re just plain old-fashion f***ed up people with a few behavioural problems.”

Scott is a talented comedian and doesn’t need to get laughs via these types of jokes. And the person responsible for booking Scott for The International Carers Conference should have done a little research.  And then employed a comedian that didn’t make fun of the people with impairments.

It showed a lack of care for the people that the carers work for.

Click here for a blog about Shutterstock. They supply stock photography that is demeaning to people with disabilities.

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