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Darien Brown is a shining example of what is great about stand-up

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Darien Brown opened well, a self-described Aspie-comic, as in comedians with Asperger’s, he opted to address this head on. “I hate”, he said. “When people act like autism is some kind of disease like the flu,” before gesturing at his arm indicating the need for a shot. His “dealer/doctor” he said, gave him more than ample medication to keep him above board.

Jokes about family life kept the hilarity churning. His mother, a focal point throughout, had an extraordinary expression of anger that bordered on murderous. So much in fact, that she resembled a Ts-808 killing machine – the Terminator. He faced away from the crowd before letting his tensing head with soulless smile and eyes pivot towards the crowd like a machine, a moment that had most burst out in laughter. A later joke about Trump gained the same traction. The mere mention of his name brought Brown to a guttural moan of disbelief.

From there the fluency and pace rarely faltered, punchlines were nimble, and often unexpectedly found their way firmly onto your jaw.  

Of course, not everything was a home run. Some bits seemed off key, where you were left waiting for the punchline. In his resilience though, where there weren’t laughs, he saw opportunities to win the audience back with a swift counter-punch. “One thing about having autism”, he said. “is that you don’t know when things are funny.” So you ought to laugh to let him know.

It was a hilariously disarming performance overall. And provided a meaningful glimpse into life as a man with autism. It was this lens that consistently brought the absurdity of life to the fore, and often had novel angles to lead into stories.

To end, Brown left with an endearing message. Early in life, doctors advised his parents to institutionalise him and get on with their lives. They didn’t. And with that early show of love, of empathy, he was given opportunity, which to his credit, he seized without prejudice. This was his third show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, he’s been an ambassador for Don’t Dis my ABILITY, and played a show in Los Angles

The one thing he said he wanted the audience to get out of his show, was to step outside their own egos and exercise their empathy. This he hoped, would provide them with some clarity and happiness moving forward.