John Bishop: Life After Deaf audience laughs at BSL joke

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John Bishop has been praised by ITV viewers for a ‘brilliant’ joke told in British Sign Language (BSL).

The comedian is teaching BSL to better communicate with his son Joe, 28, who lost most of his hearing as a teenager after contracting a virus.

The 55-year-old’s efforts were documented in the powerful and moving ITV documentary John Bishop: Life After Deaf, which aired on Thursday.

In the 50-minute film, John, along with his wife Melanie with whom he shares three sons, and Joe embark on a journey to learn more about the Deaf community and take BSL classes together.

John said he hoped learning BSL would allow him to interact more with Joe and reach the deaf audience often excluded from comedy.

The special featured John putting his newly discovered skills to the test and delivering a stand-up routine in BSL that had the audience bursting into laughter at his prank.

During the performance, John explained that his BSL teacher, Bob, would go through a list of conversation questions to help the Doctor Who star’s speaking skills.

Among them, John was asked to describe his father, to which he replied that he is ‘from Liverpool, loves football and is funny’.

But John said he was perplexed when Bob’s follow-up question was, “How tall is he?”

Incredulously, John joked, “I said, “What?” I never measured myself, father.’

John Bishop

John spoke about why he was learning BSL (Picture: ITV)

After guessing that his doll’s height was about 5ft8, Bob asked the same thing about the Skins actor’s mother, with John giving a similar answer, saying she loved her grandchildren.

Again Bob inquired about his mother’s height, with John commenting, “I couldn’t understand why Deaf people are obsessed with how tall you are.”

Joe spoke about losing his hearing (Picture: ITV)

He joked, “Then I realized it’s to see if you can fit in that little box in the corner of the TV, because that’s the only place you see deaf people on TV.”

Viewers praised the doc and John’s gag, with one saying, “Hahaha, that was a great joke. #LifeAfterDeaf.’

Another wrote: ‘Brilliant joke about bsl interpreting and love, there’s a bsl stand-up show later..tjay is being recorded #LifeafterDeaf.’

John’s wife Melanie appeared on the show (Picture: ITV)

A fan adds: ‘Beautiful program, so important and moving. Well done to John Bishop, Melanie and especially Joe Bishop. Also liked the height joke #LifeAfterDeaf.

One Twitter user wrote: ‘Brilliant documentary. Joe and John Bishop. Joe is great. 60 percent hearing loss/tinnitus/dizziness from the age of 16. Good luck to you Joe – you have been through so much and have so much to look forward to. Inspiring.’

Elsewhere, John back in Doctor Who later this year, as companion Dan Lewis.

He replaced Bradley Walsh and Tosin Cole, who left the show at the end of the 2021 episode, Revolution of the Daleks, and is a huge hit with fans.

John & Joe Bishop: Life After Deaf is available to stream on ITV Hub

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