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.
Despite 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