Award-winning songwriter and comedian Luke Escombe reflects on his twenty five years with IBD, his decision to have an ostomy, and the surprising new direction his life has taken since. Filled with music, humour and brutal honesty about the less than glamorous aspects of ostomy life, Luke’s story is ultimately a reminder that ostomies don’t just save lives, they can also transform them.
Luke Escombe is an award-winning songwriter, musician and comedian who has turned his 25 years of living with Crohn’s disease into inspiration for his art.
Luke’s breakthrough as a writer/performer came in 2011 with his one-man show “Chronic”, which combined multiple music styles with candid stand-up comedy about his many hospital stays. It was Luke’s ticket to festivals all over Australia, and led to him becoming an ambassador for Crohn’s and Colitis Australia.
The follow-up to “Chronic” was a show called “The Vegetable Plot”, which premiered at the 2014 Sydney Fringe. After years of speaking about illness, The Vegetable Plot was Luke’s way of making a fresh start – a roots music show for kids, families, and foodies with an emphasis on having fun and being healthy. It won the award for the Best Kid’s show at the festival and has since played at major events all around the country, including at the Sydney Opera House and Splendour in the Grass.
Luke has spoken for three years in a row at Parliament House in Canberra, as well as at the New Zealand National Museum in Wellington, the 2012 and 2014 National Medicines Symposiums, the 2013 Pharmacy Australia Congress, and at conferences, workshops, support groups, Medicare Locals and training seminars across the country. 2017 saw him crossing the Pacific for the first time, speaking at events in Chicago and Miami and receiving standing ovations at both. His work was recognised at the end of the year by WEGO Health, who named him as the winner of their 2017 “Hilarious Patient Leader” award.
He was once described by John Shand in the Sydney Morning Herald as a “rock-soul singer, raconteur, blistering blues guitarist, comedian and songwriter…and very good at them all”, and is most often described by himself as the Mick Jagger of inflammatory bowel disease.
Luke Escombe lives on Sydney’s northern beaches with his wife and son.