A DISABLED comedian has shared a hilarious video of him stage diving into the crowd at his final show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Aaron Simmonds was born with cerebral palsy, which means that he frequently has to rely on the use of a wheelchair, but has maintained a successful full-time comedy career since 2019.
The 33-year-old has appeared at the Fringe since 2018, and this year fronted two different stand-up routines – Harry Potter or My Girlfriend…Who Do I Love More? and Baby Steps.
The latter sees Aaron from Watford, Hertfordshire perform his entire hour-long routine without his wheelchair – and for his performance on Saturday, he decided to finish with a flourish.
The video begins with Aaron on-stage addressing the audience: “I do an hour of stand-up comedy on my feet, it’s a ridiculous decision, I’m going to lose my benefits.”
The audience erupts with laughter as he continues: “But, seeing as my benefits are already out of the window, I might as well do a f***ing stage dive, are you up for it?”
The crowd cheer as Aaron then says: “Are you ready? Are you guys f***ing ready for this?
“I’ve been Aaron Simmonds, thank you very much.”
One woman can be spotted looking very nervous in the front-row as the comedian makes his way to the rear of the stage.
One woman can be heard saying “No, no, no” as Aaron defiantly runs past his stationary wheelchair and leaps without hesitation onto the crowd.
Two men catch the comic and hold him aloft before lifting him further up into the air and passing him backwards whilst the crowd cheer amid a round of applause.
Simmonds shared the video to Instagram yesterday with the caption: “And we’re done. This Edinburgh Fringe run started with a ridiculous idea, do a show standing up for the whole show.
“After 26 shows in 27 days without sitting down once, throw in 24 Potter shows and 15 other gigs and I am done.
“Last year felt like a massive achievement to do an Edinburgh run, this year less so and I think that’s just a sign of the growth I’ve made this year.
“I think I’m going to take the year off from performing a new show in Ed next year to focus on directing, having a better work/life balance and being happier and healthier than ever.
“The highlight? Gigging with Eddie Freakin’ Izzard is something I will never forget. But this is a close second.. until next time x.”
One user replied: “Stage diving when it’s not just a crowd stood up but a crowd sitting at tables with glasses is super bold.”
Another commented: “EPIC.”
A third wrote: “Woo you went for it!”
Another said: “Love it.”
Speaking today Aaron said: “I’m really proud of the show. I’m planning on sleeping for a month, I’m so tired.
“Standing for an hour every day, day after day, was the most difficult thing physically that I’ve ever had to do.
“I can’t actually stand for an hour without being on stage, It’s the adrenaline and the concentrating on the show that means I can do it.
“I’ve always wanted to do a stage dive, it was a sold-out room, why the f**k not?
“What’s the worst that could happen? I’m already in a wheelchair! It was super fun; I went all the way to the back of the room.
“Loads of people came up to me to tell me they loved it, and then one woman came up to me to apologise for punching me in the mouth.
“My agent saw and told me to fill out a backdated risk assessment form but I think he was joking.
“Fringe is tough as a disabled performer but It’s been made a lot easier by driving the past couple of years.
“But the festival is not designed for wheelchairs. Lots of venues are still inaccessible, but I have to give a big shout out to the Pleasance and Bannerman’s bar where both my shows were.
“They were both great with not only my requirements, but the requirements of disabled audience members.
“But I love doing the Fringe, and I’m very happy how both the shows went. I don’t think I am going next year though; I’ve done a new show every year since 2018 – I need a fallow year.”
Aaron added: “I’ve loved [comedy] since watching Eddie Izzard’s Dress to Kill on VHS
“I never dreamed that I would ever do it, let alone do it as my job and then this Fringe I got to gig with Eddie, which was so surreal, it was insane.
“I think that’s probably got to be the best moment in my comedy career so far, it’s certainly up there along with how The Russell Howard Hour went, although I thought that was the end of my career, I picked a blind guy out in the crowd!”