News: Comedian To Perform In Care Home

Comedian Ben Target is to follow his run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with a gig in a care home in Essex in October.

The performance has been arranged by comedian/care worker Pope Lonergan, who is also putting on a major gig in aid of the Alzheimer's Society in London on October 2. The fundraising and awareness-raising line-up currently includes Richard Gadd, Michael Legge, Robin Ince, Lou Saunders, Nathan Cassidy, Lauren Pattison, Ben Target, Candy Gigi Markham and Kelly Convey. Lonergan explained to Beyond The Joke how the care home gig came about.

"As a care worker I noticed that residents who have dementia are unable to follow the logic of a conventional joke but they have a visceral, limbic response to physical comedy; the same response they have to music. There's an inverse correlation between child development and the regressive neurological function of a slowly fading brain so, at a certain point, those with dementia are going to be more receptive to visual stimuli rather than anything that's beyond their linguistic capabilities. As a carer I'm always doing shit gymnastics or shit karate; anything to provide some much needed levity. And they're a good audience!

Getting these people to laugh isn't a priority for the entertainment co-ordinators in care homes. I mentioned my idea for putting on a series of Bouffon-style, antic physical comedy performances for the elderly (or anyone who suffers from a form of dementia) to Josie Long. She loved the idea and recommended I talk to Ben. We were both enthusiastic about the idea and decided to pencil a date in the diary for October 9th at the care home I work (Madelayne Court in Chelmsford. A branch of Runwood Homes). Ben is assembling a coterie of comedians who specialise in this kind of thing. It's an experiment to start off with but, if it goes well, we're hoping to expand and build. We'll wait and see."

The Alzheimer's Society fundraiser is at The Bill Murray in Islington on October 2. Buy tickets for the show here.



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