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Comedian Review: Josh Blue

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Performance Date: June 29th, 2006, Columbus, Ohio

They say that laughter is nature’s ultimate medicine. They also say that we should not joke about those around us who are handicapped. If you ask comedian Josh Blue about these two statements, he would most likely tell you a slightly different story.

Not familiar with Josh Blue? You may recognize him as the stand out comedian from the hit show Last Comic Standing. Still drawing a blank? Maybe if I told you that he was the guy who appeared on Mind of Mencia, then you would know who I was talking about. Okay, maybe not. But if I said that Josh Blue was the comedian on the show who had cerebral palsy, then a light bulb in your brain may kick on and you may chuckle quietly to yourself.

Yes, it is true; Josh Blue is a comedian who suffers from cerebral palsy. He is a very diverse and unique talent who hails from Denver, Colorado; and I had the very wonderful opportunity to see him perform last night at the Funny Bone right here in Columbus, Ohio. And I have to admit that I was a little nervous when I was told that I was going to be watching a disabled comedian. Talk about a mildly uncomfortable event, right? But then again, I had not yet come in contact with someone as talented as Josh Blue.

Comedian Josh BlueDespite any preconceived notions you may have about someone who is disabled getting up on stage and making fun of himself, we all realize that sometimes there is some humor in the world of being handicapped. Josh’s take is to show all of that humor from the other side of the ball. He takes a wide range of topics, including how it feels to hail a cab with a “crazy right arm,” having the police thinking that he is constantly drunk, and playing soccer in the Paralympics. His brand of comedy, while very unique, is a great testament to his strong will to defy the stereotypes most commonly associated with being disabled.

To the average comedy club patron, his show may not be of much interest, as many people (who are too sensitive) do not enjoy laughter at the expense of those who are handicapped. But Josh does not need the support of the average comedy club patron, as he is building quite a loyal following. His following can be attributed not only to the unique nature of his act, but to his presence on stage.

For a young comedian, his ability to work with a crowd is fantastic. Instead of just laying down a canned act like some other comics, he uses the energy of the crowd to create some unexpected and gut-busting laughs. We often see comedians whose jokes are funny, but I cannot tell you how great it is to see a comedian who is as genuinely hysterical as Mr. Blue.

The only downside to his act is his subject matter, which I am sure not everyone finds funny. Even if you do laugh, there are moments where you can’t help but think, “That is just wrong.” But the fact that Josh is really handicapped does take some of the moral sting off of things. His charisma makes you feel more as if you are laughing with him rather than laughing at him, which makes for an even more entertaining show.

In the end, I cannot say that everyone will enjoy Josh Blue’s brand of comedy, but there is something to be said about his constantly growing fan base. Almost anyone who seeks him out and sees his show will end up laughing incredibly hard. And if nothing else, I know that just about any fan of great comedy can appreciate someone with such amazing stage presence. Unless you have some kind of overly sensitive moral cross to bear, I would highly recommend Josh Blue as a comedian who you should plan to see.

Here are a few upcoming shows for Josh Blue, which can also be found on his website:

  • Comedy Works  Denver, CO July 6
  • Mesa Theater  Grand Junction, CO July 8
  • Cobb's Comedy Club  San Francisco, CA August 3-6
  • Acme Comedy Co.  Minneapolis, MN August 14-15

Final Grade: 4 Stars

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About Neil Miller

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=diana+hartman diana hartman

    I am pleased to tell you this article is being featured in the Culture Focus today, July 3.

    Diana Hartman
    Culture Editor

  • Rebecca Koszalinski

    It would be interesting if all acts had this type of review. Maybe we could talk about offensive language and such… anyway, I am disabled. Josh is not a disabled comedian, he is just a comedian. And we don’t “suffer” from our disabilities. That is old school language. We simply deal with them. Glad that you like Josh, but look at the person first instead of seeing the disability as who he is. We call ourselves “gimps”, that is true, and you as an able bodied person would not be allowed to use that term, but we do laugh at ourselves, if we are emotionally healthy. What else can we do? Let go of the disability issue and just enjoy Josh’s talent.
    Best Regards,
    Rebecca Koszalinski

  • Jessica Hayes

    I suppose critics like you were “uncomfortable” when they first saw the comedic genius Richard Pryor perform his act which blew up every culture stereotype that existed between black and white people. Josh Blue is no different. To suggest that people with disabilities in general aren’t funny is ridiculous! You obviously liked Josh and you acknowledge his talent, so why does the subject matter offend you? He is clearly ok with his disability, you should be too. Bottom line, Josh Blue is a damn funny man! Do you think Richard Pryor’s comedy did anything to alleviate racial tensions in America – I do, and I think Josh Blue could do the same for the stigma that still surrounds people with disabilities. Oh and by the way, stop calling Josh Blue, or anyone with a disability, “handicapped.” That term was deemed offensive in the 70’s. You would never refer to Chris Rock as a “negro” comic, now would you?

  • http://www.joshbluefans.com RMG

    I think Jessica is right on here. Comedians today are always pushing the limits, so why should those with disabilities hold back? Racial issues, politics, and sexuality are often “touchy” subjects but comics use them for material all the time. Josh’s disability is surely just as relevant for him. Check out my site to learn more about Josh Blue and other people with disabilities who are living “Life Without Limits.”

  • cindy

    It seems like you really liked Josh but were unable to commit yourself to fully endorsing him to others. Why is that? I’ve seen his live show as well and my impression was that everyone had a great time. The “average comedy patron” was certainly represented somewhere in the hundreds of people that were standing and applauding at the end. Funny is funny and Josh Blue is funny.

  • Becky K.

    If you ever witness the stand-up of a good comedian, you should be thinking… “This is just wrong.” Comedians are paid to say what others don’t. They are paid to say what everyone thinks but nobody wants to say in public because of the fear of being thought of as politically incorrect. Josh is a comedian that has Palsy, Dave Chapelle is a comedian who is black, Dane Cook is a comedian that is white. Since when do you look at a comedian and say well, “I like Dave Chapelle’s show, but his material is somewhat offenseive… but I guess it’s okay because he is black after-all.” Josh is a good comedian because he is a good comedian, not because it’s “alright” to laugh at his jokes because he is “disabled.” This guy isn’t disabled, he’s able to make people laugh their butts off at life and all the crap that comes along with it. Whether you hate your job, hate other people’s ugly kids, dislike drunk dials from your angry ex, or have a “bad arm,” Josh is a relateable comedian with a talent that far surpasses the guilt one might feel for laughing at someone who dares to make fun of themselves. He exemplifies what it is to be a great comic, with Palsy or without.

  • truth machine

    Anyone who thinks the author of this review was uncomfortable with Josh Blue or found his material offensive or didn’t commit to fully endorsing him isn’t reading carefully. And Josh himself is honest enough to acknowledge the central role his CP plays in his comedy and people’s reaction to him — saying “look at the person first instead of seeing the disability as who he is” is NOT being honest about a comedian who identifies himself first thing as having CP and trades on it in his humor. As for
    “handicapped” … it’s really funny to see people offering oh-so-PC complaints about the term. Everyone, including the responsible governmental agencies, refer to the parking sites with the blue wheelchair signs as “handicapped parking”, and anyone who complains about such usage is an appropriate butt of a PC joke or ten.

  • john ezzell

    Josh is so refreshing after listening to so many other comics who feel that being they must be leud and use profanity to be funny. The performances that I have had pleasure of watching thus far have been very funny without being bleeped. Josh is on the road to stardom…. hope someone is planning a sitcom for him.

  • whispytears

    I have to agree 100% with what Truth Machine said. All of those people ahead of Truth Machine don’t know what the heck they are talking about. Josh is one heck of an awesome comic, and an awesome person. Those other people did not read the review carefully at all. And the word “handicapped” is not a 70’s term, it’s used all the time, so where in the world have you people been hiding all these years?? I was smashed by an armored truck – I have learned to make fun of my disabilities…it’s either that, or get depressed and cry my eyes out or smash my fists into things. You tell me which is better? Should I be happy or suicidal?! I applaud Josh with one heck of a standing ovation!! He is well deserving of it all!!

  • Rob

    Josh gets mad props for having the cajones to stand up in front of a crowd and entertain them.

    He falls into the category of “niche comedian” in my opinion though – he can’t deliver a routine without referencing his disability which severely limits him as a comedian I think.

    I also have to rail against the majority and say that I don’t find his observations funny. They’re spot-on accurate, but they don’t make me laugh. Granted I have an odd sense of humor, and perhaps the fact I have CP as well and live daily with most of things he presents in his routines prejuices my opinion.

    Good for him though that he can make a go of it.

  • me

    i have to say i agree with rob who has cp. and guess what. i have cp too. every single joke has to do with his cp. that gets old. really quick. ellen was funny, until every single joke was about her being a lesbian. same deal.