We’ve profiled wheelchair-using comedians before — Megan Gallagher, Zach Anner and the adorable Amy Bruener to name a few — and now we can add Swedish comic Jesper Odelberg to our list.
Odelberg hasn’t yet made his big debut in the United States. We’re not quite sure if that’s what he even wants international notoriety, but it’s bound to happen considering all of the television appearances he’s made. Odelberg, born in 1970, made his first big breakthrough appearance on TV in 1997 on the stand-up comedy show, “Slang Dig i Brunnen.”
What he did in that appearance, as well as all of the other appearances he’s done on TV since then, is not hold back when it comes to self-deprecating jokes. He is the master of one-liners and will often joke about cerebral palsy, his disability. People love this kind of thing and he is more than willing to give it to them.
His very first break in comedy, however, was way back in 1992 when he did his first stand-up performance at a well known comedy club in Sweden. After that he was hooked, and he’s been working as a professional comedian since 1995 touring all-around Scandinavia and bringing his biting humor to everyone.
There’s no question Odelberg has definitely had quite the prolific comedy career despite his obvious physical disability. In 1998, he even did 70 shows of a beautiful and well-known Swedish production, “The Bad, the Good and the Ugly.” And in 2006 he won over millions of people’s hearts with his hysterical comedy boy band, Boys on Wheels, which does self-deprecating spoofs of songs.
With Odelberg as the lead singer and three other wheelchair-users as his back-up singers and musicians, this little group will make you chuckle for a very long time. One of my favorite songs is “I’m Not Gay” (a play on Ah-Ha’s “Take On Me”). Another one is “My Balls are OK.”
It’s not easy making fun of yourself. It takes a giant dose of self-confidence to do it and do it well, yet Odelberg makes it look easy. Above all I think it’s great that the network stations in Sweden and Norway have been so receptive to Odelberg, smartly realizing viewers can’t get enough of him.
With their open-mindedness regarding programming, combined with Odelberg impenetrable drive to make the world laugh, long-standing stereotypes are being torn down in this part of the world, and that’s a very good thing
Could you make fun of yourself like Jesper?