Benny Shakes on Comedy and Cerebral Palsy Awareness

An interview with Benny Shakes on Comedy and Cerebral Palsy Awareness on December 1, 2023 by George Ackerman, Ph.D, J.D.



Benny, an accomplished stand-up comedian and creator, co-hosts the popular Edinburgh comedy show “Disabled Cants” and stars in the critically acclaimed disabled-led game show “Blue Badge Bunch,” funded by Arts Council England. With two successful UK tours, notable Edinburgh Fringe runs, and appearances at Vault Festival, Benny passionately advocates for disabled representation and injects innovative, fun ideas into his work.


During lockdown, Benny launched the “Benny Shakes Things Up” podcast, showcasing disabled comedians globally. His mission is to shed light on the daily societal and physical challenges faced by disabled individuals, fostering celebration and providing education across all age groups.


In his 4 ½ year journey, Benny has triumphed over obstacles, opening for prominent clubs like Just The Tonic, writing a disability awareness game show, and self-publishing a children’s book on disability. The book instills in children the belief that disability doesn’t hinder achieving goals.


Please tell me a little about your background.


Born with cerebral palsy, Benny’s determination has driven him to achieve his goals despite setbacks. Besides his career in comedy, Benny contributes to Valley CIDS, maintaining 500+ trees on a charity farm to offset carbon footprint.


What is your passion and how did you get involved in Parkinson’s awareness and hope for a cure?


Born with cerebral palsy, I didn’t have a choice in the matter. However, if I were granted a wish to choose a “normal” life, I would still opt for cerebral palsy. It has provided me with the tools to not only enjoy life more fully but also to help others like me in achieving their goals.


Goals for Individuals with Cerebral Palsy Working with Benny: Empowering individuals, breaking stereotypes, and fostering inclusivity through comedy, education, and awareness.


What type of goals do you have for the future?



Benny envisions a global expansion of his programs, aiming to create lasting societal change in perceptions of disability. In the coming year, he plans to extend his support to fellow disabled comedians, assisting them in achieving their goals within the comedy industry. Whether it’s as a comedian or taking their shows around the country, the objective is to educate more people about disability through the power of comedy.


What events do you participate in?


Benny actively engages in corporate events, schools, community groups, and comedy festivals throughout the UK.


How can someone get in touch?  What is your website?


Connect with Benny through and Stay updated on social media for collaborations.


How can others also become advocates for awareness?


Embracing the conviction that advocating for cerebral palsy begins with having a platform, I leverage humor as a powerful tool to educate and reshape societal perceptions. By being a disabled comedian and sharing jokes, I engage the public in a public-speaking setting, fostering a deeper understanding of disabled individuals and emphasizing our universal right to respect, just like everyone else.


What are some challenges in promoting Disability awareness:?


Promoting awareness for disabled individuals is undeniably challenging, with a lengthy road ahead, but significant progress is being made. Initiating workshops on disability awareness in schools has been a positive stride forward. Despite modest book sales, the impact on readers is clear. I strongly believe that interviews like this and collaborative efforts play a pivotal role in expanding the reach of my advocacy, allowing me to educate a broader global audience effectively.


How do you balance advocacy work with personal and professional life?


The daily challenge of maintaining a balance between advocacy, work, and personal life is all too familiar, and truthfully, it’s no easy task. Working approximately 45 hours a week to share my story can be demanding, and there are times when the effort may not seem proportional to the outcome. However, the unwavering support of friends, agent Ingenious Fools, and my fantastic girlfriend has been a game-changer. With their backing, I’ve found a delicate equilibrium between work and personal life. Taking a few days off each month serves as my way of recharging, ensuring that amid a busy schedule, I still savor and enjoy life.


What other activities do you undertake to help improve and support your daily living Eg exercise and alternative remedies?


In addition to exercise and alternative remedies, I actively contribute to my well-being through meaningful activities. Working on a charity farm, where I plant 500 trees annually to offset carbon footprint, provides a fulfilling connection with nature. I find joy in the outdoors, sailing around Carswaters Lake during my free time, allowing me to unwind, appreciate the water, and connect with other disabled friends. These activities collectively contribute to a well-rounded and enriching daily life.


Why people without cerebral palsy should care?


Cerebral palsy awareness is not just a concern for those directly affected; it is a collective responsibility. Here’s why individuals without cerebral palsy should care:


Inclusivity Benefits Everyone:


Fostering awareness and understanding of cerebral palsy contributes to a more inclusive society. This inclusivity benefits everyone, creating an environment where everyone’s strengths and abilities are acknowledged and celebrated.

Breaking Down Stereotypes:


By caring about cerebral palsy awareness, individuals contribute to breaking down stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding disabilities. This helps create a more accurate and empathetic understanding of the challenges faced by people with cerebral palsy.

Building Empathy:


Understanding and caring about cerebral palsy cultivates empathy. It encourages individuals to see beyond differences and recognize the shared humanity that connects us all. This empathy extends to various aspects of life, fostering a more compassionate and understanding community.

Promoting Equal Opportunities:


Advocating for cerebral palsy awareness aligns with the broader pursuit of equal opportunities for everyone. It ensures that individuals with cerebral palsy have the same chances to thrive, contribute, and participate in all aspects of society.

Learning from Diverse Perspectives:


Caring about cerebral palsy awareness allows people to learn from diverse perspectives. It enriches the collective human experience by appreciating the unique insights and strengths that individuals with cerebral palsy bring to the table.


Creating a Supportive Environment:


Caring about cerebral palsy creates a supportive environment where individuals feel valued and understood. It encourages collaboration and cooperation, ultimately leading to a more harmonious and inclusive society.

In essence, caring about cerebral palsy awareness is about embracing diversity, fostering empathy, and working towards a world where everyone is recognized, respected, and given the opportunity to thrive, regardless of their abilities or differences.


Have you had any family members or relatives with Cerebral Palsy:


No, I haven’t had any family members or relatives affected by cerebral palsy. However, my mum has a cousin with cerebral palsy who has led a great life in London.


If you had one song that would tell us more about you or represent your life, which song would it be?


If I were to choose one song to tell more about me or represent my life, it would be “Imagine” by John Lennon. The lyrics resonate with my perspective of seeing the world as a beautiful and equal place, regardless of differences. It holds a special meaning for me, symbolizing my belief in equality and understanding.


If you had one final statement or quote you could leave for the Cerebral Palsy community, what would it be?


In my final statement to the cerebral palsy community, I would share this quote: “Our strength lies in our diversity, our resilience in facing challenges, and our power to redefine perceptions. Together, let’s create a world where every journey is embraced, every voice is heard, and every person, regardless of ability, is celebrated for their unique contribution to the tapestry of life.”