One useful and enjoyable annual event put on for organisers is the Speaker Drinks evening staged at the Institute of Directors venue on Pall Mall by speaker agency Performing Artistes.
This showcases stand-up comedians and their acts and allows plenty of time for delegates to network with, and perhaps book their chosen performer(s) The latest event presented five, four who made us laugh and one who made us laugh and think. Andy Parsons, well-known from his appearances on topical news show Mock the Week, told jokes about topical issues, including the current bad joke Brexit, (he is an activist for a second public vote on the issue) and introduced the other four stand-up specialists, including Markus Birdman, Naomi Cooper and George Lewis, all of whom went down well with the mostly female audience.
However it was a unique Ms Rosie Jones who won the mind and heart of this old male curmudgeon, on account of the fact she has cerebral palsy and make jokes about it. Apparently she has also been known to quip about sexuality, her sexual fantasy, her visit to the 2016 Summer Paralympics, using disabled toilets and the word “spastic” now widely considered to be one of the most offensive terms, along with “retard”, relating to disability, and only used by the ignorant. So Jones has an inspiring courage along with her edgy comedy. Mild sample: “Dribble when people get on the bus, and enjoy two seats to yourself”.
And here’s the personal thoughtful bit, one that Jones might disagree with. For us it would be a real pity if the cynical PR department of a tarnished company – say a dodgy bank, payday lender, gambling firm, pharmaceutical or tobacco company – hired her to pretend to a caring side, so she may want to carefully vet who she works for, and their reason for booking her, as she gets the success she deserves.