Nick Gibb’s “High, Functioning Autistic” is a hilarious introspective reflection on the lighter side of a life lived with autism and Tourette’s. Nick describes himself as “Autism without the card counting, Tourette’s without the swearing”.

After spending several years abroad in the UK, Billy T award winner Nick Gibb returns to NZ with a brand-new show recounting humorous self-deprecating recounts of his life living with Tourette’s and autism.

The opening of the show was an awkward but self-aware affair with Nick stating he usually has an MC to warm the crowd up and that the actual act of warming up and engaging with an audience is incredibly difficult for someone living with autism. Comedy shows have a strict formula he tells us. A routine. Something that is extremely engaging for autistic people. Warming up and engaging with a crowd and making the ever-feared eye contact is not something easy for someone with autism. Nick however, still managed to do a great job of it. He played on the fact that it was a struggle and this helped get everyone into the spirit.

The show itself rolled through a variety of quips, recounts and even poems of hilarious moments of his life with autism and Tourette’s. It spans a vast range of topics from a poem about making love for the first time and the overloading sensations that someone with autism has in relation to this, through to a story of going fishing with a sandwich and catching a duck and the hilarious ensuing consequences. He jokingly says that he was diagnosed with autism after getting a vaccine when he was younger before launching into a passionate rant about the stupidity of the anti-vax movement telling them to “jump off the edge of the flat earth they probably believe in too” which drew plenty of laughs and applause. The bulk of the show was in relation to the autism as it had the biggest impact on his life however, Tourette’s was also touched on. Nick’s Tourette’s is mild and only manifests itself in blinking tics and Nick reflects on how this affected him in his early life with a particular focus on school and the nicknames (and theme song) that went with these names.

While Nick does a great job with a hilarious show, there were a couple of moments which fell slightly flat. I was not a huge fan of the poems (bar the one about making love which was hilarious) and there were a few niche internet and pop culture jokes that went over the audience’s head. While I found them funny, the momentum was slightly stalled by these jokes that weren’t understood by a fair chunk of the audience. Overall though, the show was excellent and these minor critiques are the only ones that I could find and didn’t change my opinion that this show is a fantastic hour of comedy.

Nick’s “High, Functioning Autistic” is a warming expose into Nick’s life rich full of humour and self-reflection. The show hits much deeper than a standard comedy show which causes the audience to reflect on their preconceived thoughts on autism and helps break down barriers and give us a broader understanding of autism on the whole. His excellent blend of comedy, self-reflection and stories left us with contagious laughter and is definitely a show worth checking out this comedy festival.


What: High, Functioning Autistic

Who: Nick Gibb

Where: Q Theatre, Vault

When: 3-4 May

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