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Disabled comic to perform alongside Russell Howard after joke video contest win

PUBLISHED: 18:35 17 September 2018

Rachel Nobes,37, from Ormesby suffers from Juvenile Arthritis. She is set to perform alongside Russell Howard after winning a national comedy competition by disability charity Scope.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Rachel Nobes,37, from Ormesby suffers from Juvenile Arthritis. She is set to perform alongside Russell Howard after winning a national comedy competition by disability charity Scope. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

Two months ago she was performing as Winnie-the-Pooh for sick children, now a disabled comedian is preparing for her stand-up debut alongside Russell Howard.

Two months ago she was performing as Winnie-the-Pooh for sick children, now a disabled comedian is preparing for her stand-up debut alongside Russell Howard.

Rachel Nobes won ‘Joke for Scope’ with a daring video poking fun at her experience of arthritis.

The contest, run by disability charity Scope, challenged entrants to upload a 60 to 80 second video showing off their best joke or stand-up routine, with the chance of winning a five minute slot alongside comedians Russell Howard and Rosie Jones at a special London gig.

Ms Nobes, who suffers with severe arthritis, said she had not expected to win and only entered to get the word out to her “many talented followers”.

Rachel Nobes,37, from Ormesby suffers from Juvenile Arthritis. She is set to perform alongside Russell Howard after winning a national comedy competition by disability charity Scope.
Picture: Nick ButcherRachel Nobes,37, from Ormesby suffers from Juvenile Arthritis. She is set to perform alongside Russell Howard after winning a national comedy competition by disability charity Scope. Picture: Nick Butcher

She said: “I recently found out I need a joint transplant in my jaw so its been a tough year. Humour helps me bounce back so even though I was terrified [to enter] I just thought to myself ‘be brave’. You have to live outside your comfort zone.”

The comedian has suffered with the condition since she was a child and said she was bullied at school as a result.

Her confidence remained low until her 20s, when she joined the Norwich Cosplay community and started performing as well-known characters to disabled children.

Despite being more comfortable “hiding behind a costume”, Ms Nobes said she believes stand-up comedy is an incredible opportunity to break barriers surrounding invisible disabilities.

EVT 0113 SHOWS Russell Howard.JPGEVT 0113 SHOWS Russell Howard.JPG

She said: “Disabled people don’t want you to feel sorry for us, but we do want support and understanding. If I can explain my condition through jokes then it changes the context and people listen.”

Ms Nobes’ witty retelling of a recent hospital visit has attracted the attention of several big industry names.

Hollyoaks actor Joe Tracini tweeted: “Well done for winning. Audiences like honesty. Be self deprecating but still respect yourself. Have fun. X”

His co-star Nathan Morris added: “Tried to vote but you already won!? Congrats!”

Ms Nobes, who is from Ormesby, will perform at the Union Chapel, London, on Thursday, October 20.

She added: “I can hardly stand up but I’m doing stand-up! You never know what’s around the corner.”

Buy tickets here.

Rachel Nobes,37, from Ormesby suffers from Juvenile Arthritis. She is set to perform alongside Russell Howard after winning a national comedy competition by disability charity Scope. Picture: Nick ButcherRachel Nobes,37, from Ormesby suffers from Juvenile Arthritis. She is set to perform alongside Russell Howard after winning a national comedy competition by disability charity Scope. Picture: Nick Butcher

‘Pants down for equality’

Recent weeks have seen a huge backlash against public transport for failing to facilitate disabled passengers.

Comedian Tanyalee Davis has a form of dwarfism and said the failure by Greater Anglia trains to provide a disabled carriage has made it unnecessarily difficult for her to travel to gigs.

Rachel Nobes,37, from Ormesby suffers from Juvenile Arthritis. She is set to perform alongside Russell Howard after winning a national comedy competition by disability charity Scope.
Picture: Nick ButcherRachel Nobes,37, from Ormesby suffers from Juvenile Arthritis. She is set to perform alongside Russell Howard after winning a national comedy competition by disability charity Scope. Picture: Nick Butcher

Rachel Nobes agreed the industry needs to do more, and said using public transport causes her considerable anxiety.

She said: “My arthritis is invisible so I’ve received aggro from other passengers when sitting in the disabled seat. Once a lady on a bus screamed and swore at me to move and even rammed my legs with her pram. I appreciate that facilities are there but often they’re not enough.”

Ms Nobes recently appeared as a boxer-clad Winnie-the-pooh as part of a protest by the ‘pants down for equality’ campaign, calling for better adult changing facilities on public transport.

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