Fashion (Canada) - - The Market People -

Cana­dian com­edy fans see more of Court­ney Gil­mour than they do of their own friends. Did you take in shows at the JFL42 com­edy fes­ti­val? For two years run­ning, Gil­mour has been one of the only Cana­dian women in­cluded in the 42 acts. Mak­ing the pil­grim­age to Just for Laughs in Mon­treal? Last year, she was the first woman in the com­pe­ti­tion’s 19-year his­tory to win the Homegrown Comic Com­pe­ti­tion, and this year she did a Com­edy Net­work tap­ing at the fest. She has also opened for Chris Gethard and Sasheer Za­mata. Gil­mour, 33, is every­where. Za­ni­est of all? This is only the Water­loo, Ont., na­tive’s first year do­ing standup full-time.

Gil­mour, who was born with­out a left leg or fore­arms, delves into her ex­pe­ri­ences with dis­abil­ity in her act. She talks about how some peo­ple seem let down by her ori­gin story—so she makes up new ones. Her favourite? Abor­tion sur­vivor. “I fought back!” she crows. “I had some­one de­scribe my com­edy as ‘a tiny woman scream­ing vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties at you,’” says Gil­mour. “And I loved that.” She skew­ers peo­ple’s re­ac­tions to what she af­fec­tion­ately refers to as her “nubs,” de­scrib­ing a cab driver who equated her lack of limbs with his wife’s oc­ca­sional back prob­lems.

Hear­ing what Gil­mour has to en­dure is jaw-drop­ping at times, but in an en­ter­tain­ment world pop­u­lated al­most en­tirely by able-bod­ied folks, it’s a nar­ra­tive we don’t hear enough. “I’m an­noyed when peo­ple ask if I feel ob­li­gated to talk about be­ing an am­putee or ‘How do you bal­ance writ­ing that ma­te­rial with reg­u­lar ma­te­rial?’” she says. “If I wanted to tell [am­putee] jokes just to get it out of the way, I’d write hacky puns about hand jobs or what­ever. Be­ing an am­putee is my life, and I need to talk about it. It’s funny how peo­ple think of it as a nov­elty act and then a guy goes up and does 15 min­utes on how crazy his girl­friend is and no one’s like ‘Oh, it’s the Crazy Girl­friend guy!’”

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