Comedian Nikki Osborne Breaks Down In Tears Talking About Her Son, Trolls And Almost Getting Punched On A Cruise Ship
When Nikki Osborne began her comedy career she started writing a show titled ‘On The Spectrum’ about her son Teddy, who was diagnosed with high-functioning autism.
When she announced the show and released the poster, she was met with a very strong response she wasn’t expecting.
“The next day I had 300 messages, emails of hate,” Nikki told 10 daily before she went into the jungle.
“I was the devil before I even got the chance to become one,” she said. Because despite the strong opposition to the show, Nikki explained that at that point she hadn’t even finished writing it yet.
“It’s really hard to defend a show you haven’t done yet. They were judging me as a parent, dobbing me into social services saying ‘this is child abuse’.”
Amid the massive backlash, Nikki considered cancelling the show due to the growing number of parents who thought autism was no laughing matter. Still, she pushed on after receiving some advice from her husband inspired by ‘Finding Dory’.
“You know the beluga whale who goes, ‘It’s your destiny, Destiny’? He said that to me, so I said alright, I’ll do it.”
Her opening night at the Melbourne Comedy Festival was sold out, so they moved her to a bigger location. “I had press there, I had protesters there and I was the first person to be allocated bodyguards,” Nikki said.
“So that’s why I think I’m ready for the jungle,” she said, laughing.
“People were upset at the very idea that I was punching down, they didn’t realise I was punching myself down and elevating [the autism] community. How can you justify that when you’re just getting abused?
“It became a bit at the start. Some woman saying ‘this is bad, this show is bad’ and I was like but I haven’t written it yet and she was like ‘yeah, but I know where it’s going’ and I’m like… well can you let me know, because I’m only half done.’”
What really affected the comedian were those who were attempting to portray her as a bad parent, wedging themselves between her and her son.
“They were saying, ‘Don’t worry Teddy, we’ve got you, we’re fighting for you’ and making me the person that was using my son,” Nikki said fighting back tears.
“When my son was diagnosed we were told that he wouldn’t speak or interact,” she said, breaking down. “F**k, I’m not even in the jungle yet and the ratings are coming out early,” she joked, pointing to the tears.
For four years Nikki quit her job to be Teddy’s full-time therapist. “In those early days, it was really scary because you don’t know if they’ll ever speak or what kind of life they’re going to have.
“You’re not worried for yourself, you worry about them. Every day you worry about them. I’d go to kids parties and the kids would be playing, he’d just sit in the corner and it just broke my heart.”
Early intervention and Nikki’s work mean that Teddy is now “killing it” according to his very proud mum.
“He has a girlfriend and is the most liked, funniest kid in school. He’s ahead in class. And that’s because of early intervention.”
After performing ‘On The Spectrum’ at festivals and being invited to perform at the Sydney Opera House, Nikki has been touring her second show ‘Bad Barbie’, which is a response to the chaos of her first show. And despite most of the controversy of ‘On The Spectrum’ blowing over, Nikki admitted she still has the odd altercation.
“After the show I’ve had trolls come and target me when I’m vulnerable, when I’m on my own,” she said, “or I’ve had guys chase me down the road.”
For some, it would be enough to drive them out of the comedy world, for Nikki it inspires more bits -- jokes she tries out in the next performance.
Her eyes, still pooled with tears, light up as she excitedly exclaims, “I nearly got punched on a cruise ship!” Telling the story of a woman named Louise who almost decked her on the poop deck, Nikki adds that she hopes to get along with her campmates better than she did Louise.
Having not done too much research about the show, Nikki wasn’t exactly sure what was in store for her in the jungle. “Mind you, I’m not sure about changing the sh*t bucket,” she said.
“I just read that. Changing the sh*t bucket doesn’t sound very pleasant… but I guess I’ve dealt with worse.”