On Last night's Russell Howard's Good News, Howard interviewed Jess Thom, a comedian, fundraiser, artist and Tourettes activist. It was uplifting and hilarious.
In 2010 she co-founded Tourettes Hero, an organisation which seeks to celebrate the creativity the humour and creativity of Tourettes.
Thom encouraged the audience to laugh at the creativity of her tics during her exchange with Howard, saying “Frankly, it would be a bit weird if you didn’t”.
Some gems from the interview were as follows:
Russell gave a spirited performance in bed with my mum.
What’s your pin number?
Lampposts live off the state. Lampposts, get a job!
I’ve bought you a helicopter and a standing ovation.
A jedi knight in dungarees.
The serious point here is that, due to Tourettes, Thom’s brain connects concepts and words in spontaneous wondrous ways. While that is at times uncontrollable, it can be a great source of creativity too.
Her Twitter account, @Touretteshero, also tweets ‘daily outbursts’, in order to destigmatise tics. They’re brilliant - here’s just the last three days:
Thom told Russell:
As my friends often tell me, I’m actually not that funny as I’ll only intentionally say something funny once every six months, but thankfully, my tics have a slightly higher hit rate!
We think her website says it best.
It’s not about mocking or commiserating - it’s about reclaiming the most frequently misunderstood syndrome on the planet and changing the world one tic at a time.
Russell Howard has been widely praised for the interview and his handling of the tics on social media, but we think that that same applause should be extended to Jess Thom.