Imagine spending five days building friendships with complete strangers, then having a comedian write a set based on that time.
Samantha Longmore, 25, spent five days on a holiday with comedian Harley Breen and three other people with disabilities.
Ms Longmore was in a car accident in 2013 and a series of unfortunate events led her to become a hemiplegic, meaning she is paralysed down one side of her body.
That hasn’t stopped her from chasing her dreams and Ms Longmore is a regular at Wagga’s River and Wren markets with her handmade wool creations.
Approached by an email to join the show Taboo, Ms Longmore didn’t take it seriously at first.
“I literally got sent an email and I thought it was spam,” she said.
“My aunt helped me realize it wasn't and I went for it.”
Ms Longmore said she knew from the start what would be involved. She understood there would be other people in the house on a holiday and they would get to know each other and Harley would then write a stand-up.
“My only one was me telling my personal story on national television because it's a tough thing to do,” she said.
"In the sense of Harley doing the stand-up, I thought it was absolutely incredible,” she said.
“I am a firm believer in if you don't laugh, you cry and finally we have minority group who are being included in a bit of fun instead of being tiptoed around.”
Ms Longmore said the week was ‘literally a holiday’.
“We did cool activities and spent everyday learning about each other,” she said.
“It wasn’t just about the comedy,” she said.
“I got to meet three other incredible people like myself and got to meet Harley.
Ms Longmore it's not easy to meet people who are in a similar situation and that was one of her main motivations for signing up.
“It was just us there and we became friends very quickly and bonded over the fact that we were similar,” she said.
“For me, I find it very hard after my accident to form tight new friendships and a lot of my friends play team sports and I find it very hard to be with them.
“Being able to have a conversation with people who understand who you are was amazing.”
“There's not something many people with disabilities who are shown in a positive light, Ms Longmore said.
“There have been some comments that the show was so sad, but that is our life and we don't see it as this terrible sad thing that has happened,” she said.
“We were given a platform.”
Seeing the final product last week was ‘crazy’ for Ms Longmore.
“We all did the same thing as everyone else, we laughed and we cried,” she said.
“It was beautiful to know that we were a part of this and we are just like everyone else.”
The takeaway message is to embrace diversity, Ms Longmore said.
“Know that from the dark parts of our lives we’ve gained strength compassion and love to a whole different degree,” she said.
One aspect Ms Longmore wanted to stress is the show in no way condones bullying.
“It’s not calling for you to us call retards, but to have a joke and take a piss using the correct tone,” she said.
“Harley did it in a positive way, he's laughing with you, not at you.”
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