Josh Blue
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Josh Blue

Denver, Colorado, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE | AFTRA

Denver, Colorado, United States | INDIE | AFTRA
Established on Jan, 2014
Solo Comedy




"BLUE has a Clue or Two..."

By Ed Will

Denver comedian Josh Blue talked excitedly by telephone from Philadelphia during a stop on his theater tour with big-time joke slinger Carlos Mencia.

But Blue wasn't excited about opening Mencia's shows in front of nearly 3,000 fans.

No, he was psyched about an eight-day show of his art at Denver's Abend Gallery. The exhibit, his first, doesn't even open until April 7.

"The thing I'm really excited about now is the art gallery," said Blue, who puts his humor on display Wednesday at the Comedy Works. "It's weird. I've always had this dream of doing an art gallery thing, and it was just finally, 'All right, let's do it.' "

Blue differs from most artists, and not just because he is realistic about his work.

"I know I'm not going to draw a straight line," said Blue, who has cerebral palsy, a disorder of the central nervous system. "And that actually plays into it quite well, because everyone says my artwork looks like it is all in motion. And that is just because there is so much energy going into every brush stroke or pen stroke."

Not only is Blue an artist and an emerging national comedian, he also plays for the U.S. Paralympics soccer team. (Yes, he's literally a stand-up comic, but he doesn't drive.)

"I like to be good at what I do," said Blue, 27. "It's frustrating when I'm not. But if I get an idea in my head, you better not try to stop me, because that is just going to push me harder."

The idea to do stand-up popped into his head when he was a sophomore at Evergreen State College, the Olympia, Wash., school that also produced "Simpsons" creator Matt Groening. He studied theater, creative writing and visual arts, including wood sculpture, painting and drawing.

Blue's first comedic gig came at a weekly open-mic night at the campus housing center.

"It was one of those things where I went on after someone singing love songs," Blue said. "Then, the person after me was doing love poems. ... It was horrible. I was very, very bad.

"I should take that back. I was bad by my standards now."

But his debut had a large cool quotient, too. The first night he performed, 20-25 people watched. The next week some 75 people showed up.

He basked in success for two more outings. Then the inevitable happened. "I didn't know at the time that that happens to everyone, so I stopped for a year and a half," Blue said.

In his senior year, Blue had to create a production for a theater class. He decided to do stand-up and have actors on stage acting out his bits. Well-received, the show rekindled Blue's interest in comedy.

"At Evergreen you can create your own major and your own classes," he said. "So I actually studied stand-up comedy. Which was basically me renting videos from Blockbuster and drinking beer and getting high. But it worked out. Here I am now."

Blue's self-designed curriculum required him to try to perform once a week. He did open-mic nights at a club in Tacoma, Wash. Then he ended up with a weekly show at a coffeehouse.

"Every Wednesday night I would do a whole hour of comedy," he said. "I can't even do an hour now. I don't even know what the hell I was talking about. It was brutal. I see videos of that stuff; it hurts me to my soul."

After graduation, Blue moved to Denver, where he began his second self-imposed exile from comedy. He spent his first summer here working at an Easter Seals camp. When the camp closed, he found a job in Denver working with developmentally disabled adults. "I wasn't doing the comedy thing at all for six months," he said. "And it was just eating at my soul."

He eventually started showing up at open-mic nights around the city, entering and winning talent contests at bars.

"There would be like weekly contests with $25 prizes or whatever, but I would win every one," he said. "What I did was, I just saved all my money from my other job. Then I was, 'All right, I'm going to go pursue this now.' And I haven't had a day job since."

That was in 2001.

He started doing open-mic at the Comedy Works and quickly came to the attention of club owner Wende Curtis.

"When he was working our new talent program there started to be a buzz about him," she said. "He just had it. He had stage presence from the beginning. He has always been real confident on stage. And he also kind of knew the anatomy of a joke early on."

Blue worked his way up the club circuit, headlining shows beginning in 2004.

Curtis offered one other clue about Blue: "Josh is a babe magnet. It's really incredible to watch the women around him."

And that is almost exciting as being invited to perform before show-business big shots next month at the HBO and U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen.

Staff writer Ed Will can be reached at 303-820-1694 or - The Denver Post

"Comedian Josh Blue's Big Homecoming"

By John Wenzel
Denver, CO

As any comedian will tell you, every late-night TV appearance and media mention represents thousands of hours of toil, often playing to small, hostile crowds in dank bars and strip-mall clubs.

Sitcom deals? National tours? Right. Most working comedians are lucky to get steady gigs, let alone acclaim.

Still, every once in a while the talent and crowd-appeal align to skyrocket one comedian past the rest, capturing imaginations by subverting and stretching them like taffy.

"It's funny what funny is, because everyone's style is so different," said Denver-based comedian Josh Blue. "But if you don't put forth the effort, you're not going to get anything back."

As someone barely in the minor leagues a few years ago, Blue appreciates how it feels to be at the top of his game. Literally.

The winner of last year's "Last Comic Standing" on NBC is also a globe-trotting soccer player and successful visual artist. His homecoming shows at Red Rocks on Monday and the Paramount Theatre on July 13 are the culmination of years of work, but the last two have seen his star rise exponentially.

Thanks to his "Last Comic" win, which saw Blue soundly trounce 11 other contestants, he's one of the country's hottest young comics, gathering widespread accolades and regularly selling out shows.

"My goal was always to sell out theaters," Blue admitted. "When it happens you never expect it to be like it is, but you know it feels right."

There's one thing people immediately notice about the 28-year-old Blue, and that is his cerebral palsy. It causes his right arm to curl unnaturally and his speech to slightly slur. Much of his act revolves around his disability, and he immediately uses it to disarm audiences.

"I had a crazy day today, man," he said on one "Last Comic" episode. "I went to hail a taxi and I caught a pigeon. (pause) I didn't even know I had it until I was in the cab. I was like, 'Oh no, I'm turning into a magician.' (pause) I hate magicians!"

Blue began using comedy as a child in order defuse awkwardness. Born in the west-central African republic of Cameroon and raised in St. Paul, Minn., he endured his share of ridicule. Other kids would mock him, but he'd serve it right back.

The idea to try stand-up popped into his head as a sophomore at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., a school that also birthed "Simpsons" creator Matt Groening and comic-strip artist Lynda Barry. Blue was studying theater, creative writing and visual arts but one night decided to try an open-mic event at the campus housing center.

Although he began drawing exponentially more people (25 one week, 75 the next), he walked away from stand-up until a senior-year theater project rekindled his interest.

That lasted another few months as he played local coffeehouses and clubs, but he quit again when he graduated and moved to Denver, working as an Easter Seals counselor and with developmentally disabled adults.

Lighting the fuse

After six months Blue felt a burning need to return to stand-up. It was slow at first - winning $25 here and there at comedy competitions, opening for touring comedians.

"It's a hard road to hoe, doing one-nighters," he said. "I remember doing VFWs in Madison, Wisconsin. Those were pretty rough shows. Those guys don't laugh at (expletive). I'm like, 'I've got cerebral palsy,' and they're like, 'Yeah? My leg's blown off."'

Eventually Blue took a stab at open-mic nights at Comedy Works - the best possible thing he could have done. Comedy Works owner Wende Curtis, a nationally respected player on the scene, took a liking to Blue. A buzz developed about his confident stage presence and self- deprecating jokes.

"Josh walked into my office in 2003 with a videotape and said, 'I just wanted to make sure you're aware of who I am,"' said Mike Raftery, director of operations for Comedy Works Entertainment. "He only had 20 minutes of material, but I kept a close eye on him until he'd developed to the point where he could do a whole set."

Raftery booked Blue at shows around the state, including corporate events and colleges, where he regularly killed. In 2004, Blue started headlining Comedy Works. That same year he earned $10,000 at the Las Vegas Comedy Festival as Grand Prize Winner of the Royal Flush Comedy Competition.

The next year he earned rave reviews and more credibility on the college-tour circuit. In 2006 he toured 3,000-seat clubs with Carlos Mencia, host of Comedy Central's wildly popular "Mind of Mencia." He also made appearances on that show, giving him a national TV profile. He played the prestigious U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, one of the few Denver comics ever to make it there.

Then "Last Comic Standing" happened.

Capturing audiences
Blue riveted audiences on the fourth season of the NBC reality series, usually garnering standing ovations after each brief set. The show also portrayed his personal li - Denver Post - Summer 2007

"We All Have Something That Holds Us Back"

By Cinthia Ritchie

We laughed, oh, how we laughed, more than 100 of us sitting together in that dim room, leaning forward and holding our bellies, laughing. Because it was too funny, the idea of a man stumbling before us, arm jerking wildly, hair flying, his expression that of a slightly crazed Jesus.

It was Friday night and we were gathered together at UAA's campus den watching comedian Josh Blue do his cerebral palsy jokes. They were funny, not because having cerebral palsy is funny, but because we all recognized ourselves in his struggles. We recognized the hidden, vulnerable parts of ourselves, the scary parts, the almost unbearable knowledge that our bodies are puny and weak and no matter what we do or how strong we think we are, our hearts pump dumbly inside our soft chests.

We laughed because it was funny, it was hilarious to listen to someone speak so freely and easily about his challenges and humiliations. We knew exactly what he meant. We all had wanted something and not gotten it, we all had felt embarrassed and ashamed in front of others. We all worried about what others thought, and we all knew how superficial and silly this was.

I laughed the hardest, laughed until I slipped out of my chair and ended up on the floor. I laughed until I was lying flat, so weak I could barely breathe. Tears streaming down my face, belly aching, because I knew exactly what he meant, I knew how our bodies can betray us, and how awful and demeaning and funny that can be.

I laughed because, you see, I also have a disability.

People who know me know this: I talk funny. Most of them don't know exactly why, and they're too polite to ask. Instead, they wrinkle their foreheads, squint their eyes. Often they step backwards, as if what I have might be catchy. I doubt they do this on purpose, and to make up for this slight, I often step back as well as if to say: Yeah, OK, I catch your drift.

Or maybe they step back as a form of self-protection. Because I have spasmodic dysphonia, a rare neurological vocal cord disorder, my speech often comes out hard and forced. I have to dig inside my vocal cords, find an even place and pounce out each letter.

"Na-ice to ma-et you," I might say when I first meet someone. I have a tendency to add extra syllables, and use a lot of a-letter sounds in order to free those fickle words from my throat. This isn't a pretty process, and I've seen my face in the mirror as I've struggled to speak, seen the grimaces and jerks, the small sprinkles of spit that sometimes let loose.

Thank god for laughter. Not just regular laughter, but the heated, prickly laughter of the forbidden, the unmentionable, that kind of gut-splitting laughter that bridges uncomfortable moments into something a bit more tolerable. Because things often get sticky. Once, when I called my sister after a taxi refused to pick me up because they thought I was drunk, she listened to my self-pitied tears for a few moments and then sighed.

"So, what's the big deal? You got home, didn't you?"

"Ba-ba-ba-but," I sputtered.

Then she told me something remarkable, something I've always remembered, this sister of mine who regularly attended church, who was brave enough to believe in God.

"Maybe that taxi would have gotten into an accident," she said. "Maybe you would have been killed. Maybe what you think is humiliation is really a moment of grace."

I didn't believe her until a few month later, when I was buzzing merrily down the highway doing 85 mph and was pulled over by a cop. He heard my stumbling speech and immediately ordered a breathalizer test. When it came up clean, I showed him my official Spasmodic Dysphonia Association membership card and he became so flustered and apologetic that he forget to give me a ticket. He even offered me half of his Milky Way bar. Leaning against the bumper of that cop's car eating that melted candy bar, I thought, "moment of grace." And suddenly it all made sense. Having a disability isn't necessarily a bad thing or a good thing. Like the sun and the cop's voice as he told me about his family, it just is.

This isn't really about me and my sad little voice or Josh Blue and his cerebral palsy. It's about everyone, all of us, and how we all have something that holds us back, some sore spot, something in our head or hearts that says we can't, that we shouldn't, that if we do, we'll make fools of ourselves. We are all disabled in one sense or another, by bad marriages or bad childhoods, dull jobs or even duller lives. We are crippled by doubt and insecurity, by expectations and weight of our own desires.

I remember years ago, a friend wouldn't go to our employee Christmas party because she had gained so much weight. I didn't go to that party either. I was too afraid of having to talk to people I didn't know, too afraid of those first few uncomfortable moments when people realized that yes, something was definitely strange with my voice.

Now I wonder: What - Anchorage Daily News - Spring 2006

"Comedian Josh Blue speaks out"

By Ryan McAskill

Josh Blue is one of the fastest rising stars in the world of stand-up comedy. He was the winner of the fourth season of NBC's "Last Comic Standing," has a comedy album "Josh Blue: Good Josh Bad Arm" and a DVD "7 More Days in the Tank" on shelves. He has had the kind of year that most comedians dream of - and he has cerebral palsy.

Blue was diagnosed at age one with the neurological disorder, which affects body movement and muscle coordination. Instead of letting it slow him down, he uses it as the basis for most of his material. He will be performing Friday Oct. 5, at 8 p.m. at the Calvin Theater in Northampton.

In a phone conversation Tuesday, Blue spoke about his comedy, his college experience, dealing with cerebral palsy, being on the Paralympics soccer team and being an artist.

Ryan McAskill:How did you get started with stand-up comedy?

Josh Blue: In college, I did an open mic night. It was funny because everyone was singing songs and doing love poems and I got up there and started jumping around and making a fool of myself and the audience liked it.

RM: What made you get up on stage?

JB: My friends always said I was funny and quick on my feet, and I'm sure there was some alcohol involved.

RM: How did "Last Comic Standing" come about?

JB: In comedy circles everyone knew about it and when and where the auditions were. My manager told me to do it. It was actually the second time I auditioned that I got it. I had auditioned before in Chicago.

RM: You auditioned twice during season four?

JB: No, that was season three. They really didn't give me the time of day and I only did 30 seconds of material. I didn't want to do the next auditions because I was so discouraged from the first time but my manager talked me into going.

RM: How do you describe your comedy style?

JB: Self-deprecating. My college friend called it "reverse teasing." It's like making fun of myself, but in reality I am making fun of you. I just tell stories from my life.

RM: Who are your personal favorite comedians?

JB: Personal favorites? I like Chris Rock, Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Ellen DeGeneres. Mitch Hedberg is probably my favorite. I also like guys like John Cleese from Monty Python and basically anyone one is trying something different. I'm also a fan of the artist [Salvador] Dali.

RM: Speaking of artists, you also sell paintings and sculptures. Were you always interested in art?

JB: I loved to draw as a kid and took some art classes in college. College is where I found my stride. If I don't do something creative during the day, I don't feel good that day, so I need to paint or draw or carve. I get the same feeling doing comedy.

RM: On top of all of this, you're also on the U.S. Paralympics soccer team?

JB: Yeah. I love to play soccer. I'll be going to Brazil in November for the world championship and a chance to qualify for [the Summer Olympics in] Beijing in '08.

RM: Where do you find the time to do all this?

JB:I have no idea.

RM: What was your teammates' reaction to you being on "Last Comic Standing"?

JB:They knew I was a comedian and I have done shows for them before at a couple soccer games. They were very supportive.

RM: You have mentioned college a couple of times. Do you have any advice for college students?

JB:Enjoy it. College is where you learn to live and interact with other people. Go to as many parties as you can.

RM: Obviously a lot of your act is about you having cerebral palsy. What has it been like to become a spokesperson for the disability?

JB: It's weird because if I don't talk about it people are like "does he know he has that?" I just love to make people laugh. It's really a cool feeling to know that I'm inspiring people. I get e-mails that say, "My brother has cerebral palsy and because of you he wants to paint," or "I have cerebral palsy and you inspired me." It really is a cool feeling.

RM: Did you know a few years ago that you were going to be a nationally-known comedian?

JB: Honestly, yes I did. I'm not a religious person, but I know the reason I was put on this planet. I know I have a gift and I love to use it. I knew even before I got on ["Last Comic Standing"] that I was going to be this big.

RM: Do you have any future projects?

JB: I just filmed my first movie role as a car rental guy. It's small, but you [have to] start somewhere. I also have a new album coming out but it's a music album. My friend has a band that does funny songs and I'm singing in the band. The songs are basically about a guy with cerebral palsy trying to make a music CD and jokes about him trying to sing.

- The Daily Collegian - Fall 2007

"Blue Irreverent Comedy"

Blue's irreverent comedy shakes up lunch-time crowd
At EvCC there has never been a more radical and comically tear inducing performer than what the students and staff experienced in Josh Blue’s performance Tuesday, Feb. 28, in the MPR.
Anyone who missed it heard about it, and anyone who saw it had sore laughter muscles afterwards.
Josh Blue is a rising star in the comic world. He was born with cerebral palsy and it is obvious that he uses this as a motivator and turns it into a positive factor. He incorporates his disability into his performances.
Blue is also a member of the U.S. paralympic soccer team, and he loves to poke fun at this as well. He got into standup comedy because since a young age was always told he was funny. It seemed like a natural thing to do.
During his routine he used very vulgar language to create a unique atmosphere for his jokes and to help get his points across. The bits he told mainly focused on his past experiences. Politics and religion jokes were put into the mix as well.
The crowd played a big role in most of Josh’s jokes. The result was roaring laughter for a full hour. A few memorable jokes included his palsy punch, his idea of joshing around, and his crazy guy on bus joke; he being the crazy one.
Josh Blue’s performance was some sick stuff that left all watchers balling with laughter and clapping with excitement. He will be appearing on The Mind Of Mencia on Comedy Central, so be watching for that. I cannot wait to see him again, soon, for another outstanding show.

By Mark Lamb - Staff Writer/Photo by Kelly Read - The Clipper (Everett Community College)

"This Comic is a Winner in Many Ways"

By Cathalena E. Burch

Josh Blue has become somewhat of a local celebrity in Denver, where he settled a few years ago.
"This is kind of my town," says the former champ of "Last Comic Standing." But he remembers being a newcomer and getting awkward looks from people as he strolled downtown.
Because he has cerebral palsy, his right arm curls, he has a lopsided gait and his speech is slightly slurred.
One time when he was strolling in downtown Denver, a woman approached him and said she was glad he was allowed out in the community.
"It's such a weird mind tease. Half the people are going, 'Hey, you're Josh Blue!' The other half are going, 'Hey, look at this homeless guy.'
"I ask them for change either way," he said.
He's not kidding.
"I used to open for some pretty big names in Denver. There would be lines waiting to get in and I would walk through the line and ask everybody for change," he said. "People would give it to me, and I would go up on stage and you could hear the whole audience go, 'Ahhhh! That's the guy who got our money.'"
During a phone interview last week, Blue was driving along a mountain road heading to his castlelike property outside Denver. His day included plans to cut down a tree to use for a support beam in the adjacent carriage house, where he, his newborn son Simon and his fiance, Yuko Kubato, will live.
The castle has four apartments, all rented out.
"I'm the slumlord," Blue said.
The Minnesota native, who brings his stand-up act to the Rialto Theatre on Saturday, took the top honors on NBC's "Last Comic Standing" in 2006. He won over viewers and judges alike with his self-deprecating potshots about cerebral palsy. In the finale, he set the audience in spasms when he said he throws "palsy punches" in fights.
"They don't know where the punch is coming from, and neither do I," he said.
Blue's post-"Last Comic" career includes near-constant touring, a DVD and a CD. He's also appeared in two movies, including a bit role in the thriller "The Root of All Evil"; his character is killed off in brutal fashion, he says. It's due out in the fall.
Is panhandling his fallback plan?
"It's not a fallback. I'm livin' it. Why wait?"
And he says to give generously if you see him panhandling on East Congress Street on Saturday.
Your generosity might make up for the shortfall of his win on "Last Comic Standing," which brought him a potential development deal with NBC that went nowhere.
"And the cash prize was $50,000," he said. "After taxes, it was only $8. I bought new gym socks."
These days, he's also buying diapers.
"I've always wanted to be a dad my whole life," the 29-year-old said.
He named the child, born March 10, Simon.
"I've always, ever since I was a kid, thought that was a cute name and always thought I would name my son that," he said.
But Blue is not so wrapped up in the euphoria of new fatherhood that he fails to see the writing on the wall.
One day, this wee little being in his arms could very well disappoint him.
"I try not to have any expectations of being a father, just sort of provide the best I can for him," Blue explained days after Simon's grand debut. "Make sure he's not hungry, cold or dirty, you know. He'll figure it out from there.
"I know whatever you expect, they usually go the opposite way. I'm open to that, too. You can't expect anything because they're going to bite you in the ass in the end." - AZ Night Buzz - Spring 2008

"Local Comedian Uses Disability for Laughs"

(CBS4) DENVER A local comedian has turned his disability into the driving force behind his routines. Josh Blue makes fun of the fact that he has cerebral palsy.

Blue has built a following at Denver's Comedy Works and is getting national attention after winning the $10,000 grand prize at the 2004 Las Vegas Comedy Festival.

Blue has also appeared on Comedy Central's "Mind of Mencia" and competed at the 5th annual Boston Comedy Festival.

He started as an amateur comedian while a student in Olympia, Wash.

"It's just something I realized pretty early," Blue said. "People are going to be staring at me my whole life, I might as well get paid for it and be entertaining."

Blue is also a start on the U.S. Paralympics Soccer Team.


"St. Paul-born Comedian"

Josh Blue has cerebral palsy, but when he does stand-up shows, he figures everyone in the room has a disability.

“We all have our own things we fear or that hold us back from whatever is ‘normal.’ It can be anything from cerebral palsy to spina bifida to being afraid of butterflies — whatever your hang-up is,” says Blue, a St. Paul native who won TV’s “Last Comic Standing” in 2006 and returns to his hometown for a show Sunday. “Really, the more ‘normal’ you are, the more disabled or awkward I find you.”

The Joke Joint Comedy Club gig is also a homecoming for the 1997 Como Park Senior High School graduate, who now lives in Denver. That means his kids — he has a son, 9, and a daughter, 7 — get to hang out with their grandma and grandpa (Jacqueline and Walter Blue), doing “family things.”

But it can get awkward when Blue’s show gets, well, blue.

“If you drop too many f-bombs in front of your mom, it’s weird, yeah, but she gets used to it. I got over worrying about how they’ll feel about it,” says Blue, 38, who says friends in the audience can be a bigger issue. “They definitely go out of their way to get my goat, but it doesn’t often work.”

Years of experience — Blue has been doing stand-up since college — have sharpened his ability to deal with the unexpected, even more so since “Last Comic Standing” boosted the comedian’s profile. Calling from London, where he performed and caught a Tom Petty show at a music festival, Blue says he averages about 250 shows a year.

“I’m still doing what I love: making people laugh. But (the TV show) definitely opened some doors for me,” says Blue, adding that increased fame has made it easier to establish a rapport with audiences. “Living with a disability, I have a little less explaining to do because people know what to expect.”

Blue’s cerebral palsy affects his speech and his movement, which some could see as a challenge in a career that depends on clarity and timing. But Blue thinks there are ways cerebral palsy actually has helped him.

“If I didn’t have cerebral palsy, I would just be a goofy white guy,” says Blue. “I don’t know that I would have needed to prove myself in that way. (Cerebral palsy) definitely gave me a little push. I haven’t really looked too much into the psychological side of it, but people say laughter is a great way to defuse a situation and I think that’s true. When audiences are laughing, they learn something about me, even without knowing it.”

Off-stage, Blue considers it an important part of his mission to advocate for people with disabilities, but cerebral palsy is not the focus of his stand-up set.

“The show is pretty much ‘anything goes.’ I don’t ever write anything down, so it’s always a fresh look at my perspective. I’m sure I’ll talk about being in London, about coming back home,” Blue says. “I’m expecting a bunch of high school, even elementary school, friends, so I might talk some trash about Minnesota.” - Pioneer Press -2017

"Josh Blue’s Dream come true is a new edibles line for the Denver comic"

See video in link for interview - The Cannabist Show - 2017

"You’ve seen this comedian on TV. Now you can go see him in person."

Josh Blue performs about 200 stand-up comedy shows a year all over the United States.

How does he deal with the traveling? “Weed,” he said matter-of-factly in a recent phone interview.

That sounds like a joke, but it isn’t. Josh uses medical marijuana to help with spasms and muscle stiffness caused by his cerebral palsy.

Of course, the 38-year-old still manages to find humor in pot.

“I’m from Denver, Colorado, and I know people are excited we legalized weed,” he told a crowd in 2014. “But I wanted you guys to know I’ve been treating it like it was legal for years.”

Whatever Josh is doing seems to be working.

He has kept busy with his career since winning NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” reality show contest in 2006. He performs mostly at comedy clubs but also has appeared on many TV specials and talk shows.

Josh will take the stage for four shows on Aug. 25 and Aug. 26 at Hey Guys Comedy Club in Fairview Heights. Tickets are $20.

“Perhaps best known as the comedian who puts the cerebral in cerebral palsy, Josh Blue centers much of his self-deprecating act around his disability,” his bio reads.

Audiences seem to appreciate his honesty and openness, and the humor helps break down stereotypes about people with disabilities.

Josh talks about competing on the U.S. Paralympic Soccer Team in 2004 in Athens, Greece, recounting some of the comical moments behind the scenes.

He jokes that he tried to compete in the 2012 summer Olympics in London but got cut for “doping.”

“It wasn’t performance enhancing,” he insists. “I thought I should have gotten a medal for being able to play in that condition.”

Josh grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota. His mother is a librarian, and his father is a retired professor who speaks 13 languages. He has two sisters and a brother.

Josh started doing stand-up while earning a creative writing degree at The Evergreen State College in Washington. He became known for his quick wit and impecable timing.

“I actually studied it in college,” he said in an interview. “I got credit for it. I went to a liberal arts school, where you could create your own courses and major. The last half of my senior year, I studied stand-up.”

Josh then moved to Denver with a friend “on a whim” and lived 10 minutes away from the renowned Comedy Works, where he performed and won his first contest.

Eventually, Josh decided it just made sense to work cerebral palsy into his act. It wasn’t like people weren’t noticing that he was different.

“I truly believe everybody has a disability,” Josh said. “It can be a physical disability or it can go all the way to a fear of butterflies.

“I think people find it refreshing that you can confront it.”

Josh was traveling on the college comedy circuit when he first auditioned for “Last Comic Standing” in Chicago and got rejected. He made the cut the next year in Los Angeles.

Josh thinks he won not because he had the best act but because viewers found him to be funny behind the scenes.

“I felt the support of the nation,” he said this week. “I could feel the energy. I’d be out, and people would say, ‘Hey, I’m voting for you. You’re going to win.’”

Soon after the contest, Josh became the first comedian invited to do stand-up on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in 2006.

The sudden notoriety catapulted his career.

“I went from doing 40 or 50 shows to 250 shows a year,” he said. “Obviously, financially, it changed things. But it allowed me to do more of what I love.”

Josh starred in “Comedy Central Presents: Josh Blue” in 2009 and a Showtime special called “Sticky Change” in 2012. He appeared on “Ron Whites Comedy Salute to the Troops” on CMT in 2013 and 2014.

Josh has two children, Simon, 9, and Seika, 7, who live with him half time. They provide “endless material” for his stand-up routine.

Josh loves to visit City Museum when he comes to St. Louis, partly because of his interest in art. He’s a painter and sculptor in his free time.

“There’s no straight lines, that’s for sure,” he said. - Belleville News-Democrat - 2017

"Five questions with comedian Josh Blue"

"Last Comic Standing" winner Josh Blue is known for defying stereotypes while poking fun at his cerebral palsy on stage and TV.

The 38-year-old comedian from Denver is bringing his self-deprecating act to Off the Hook Comedy Club in North Naples on Nov. 10 and 11.

The Minnesota native got his start as a comedian in the college circuit. His knack for comedy and his improvisational style earned him the top prize in NBC's reality show "Last Comic Standing" in 2006.

More than 10 years later and Blue is still very much in demand, performing more than 200 shows across the country each year.

Blue has appeared on "Comedy Central Presents: Josh Blue" and the Showtime special "Sticky Change," now available on Hulu.

He's taken his act to the HBO-Aspen Comedy Festival, Comedy Central’s South Beach Comedy Festival and The Comedy Festival in Las Vegas.

Comedy isn't the only thing Blue is good at. What some people may not know is Blue was a member of the U.S. Paralympic National Soccer team for eight years, competing in Athens during the 2004 Summer Paralympics.

Most recently he partnered with Mountain High Suckers to launch his own line of infused edibles called 'Josh Blue's Dream'. He uses cannabis to help treat his cerebral palsy symptoms.

Ahead of his Naples performance, Blue shared what it's like touring the country, finding a work-life balance and his decision on making cerebral palsy a big part of his act.

Q: How did winning NBC's "Last Comic Standing" change your life?

I went from being just a touring comic to being a successful touring comic doing over 200 shows a year. I've been doing that ever since I won the show in 2006. It put my face on the map and let me shine.

Q: Why did you decide to make cerebral palsy part of your act?

There's no denying it, so I have to address it on stage. If I don't mention it, in a little while the audience is like, 'Does he know he has that?' What I've come to find is when I'm brutally honest about it and comfortable, a lot of people will be comfortable, and that takes the stigma away from it.

Q: You've gone from Paralympics soccer player to comedian. How did you make that switch?

I was doing both of them at the same time. I was on the team when I won "Last Comic Standing." For a while there before my two kids, and after my kids were born, I was balancing home life, tour life and traveling the world playing soccer. I will say once I retired from soccer, it took the pressure off some things in my personal life. But I definitely miss playing and traveling the world with other soccer players and using my body for good instead of evil.

Q: What can audiences expect from your stand-up performance in November?

It's very personal stuff from my life and experiences and reflections on being a comic and being a dad. The crazy thing about my material is it's very spontaneous. I have jokes that I plan to say, but when I'm going to say them and how onstage is flexible.

Q: What can fans expect from you next?

I just got done filming a show in Los Angeles called "High Cuisine," coming out Nov. 20 on the Go90 app. It's a cooking show where there's two chefs compete and the kicker is I get them high. We filmed all 12 episodes already. I'm always striving towards the next thing in this business. - Naples Daily News - 2017

"Comedian Josh Blue talks comedy, living with cerebral palsy"

The Last Comic Standing on NBC’s fourth season reality comedy show, Cameroon-born Josh Blue will be bringing his hilarity to Southwest Florida on Friday, Nov. 10 and Saturday, Nov. 11. Appearing exclusively at “Off the Hook Comedy Club” in Naples, the multi-talented comedian shares his unique, self-belittling, off-beat banter regarding his own experiences with Cerebral Palsy.

A neurological disorder occurring as a result of malformation or injury within the brain, Cerebral Palsy results in the impairment or complete loss of motor function. Cerebral Palsy is currently incurable and those afflicted will struggle with the symptoms for their entire life.

With a replete understanding of how uncomfortable the general public is regarding neurological and anatomical disorders, Josh dissolves barriers and evokes laughter regarding his personal experiences with Cerebral Palsy.

Politically correct? Not so much. Uproarious? Oh, yes.

Josh has appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Comedy Central, Live with Regis and Kelly…he’s performed on all of the major networks, has appeared in films and has won numerous comedy contests. Blue has appeared, multiple times, on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation,” “The Mancow Show” and has had his successes featured in the New York Times, People Magazine, and many other publications and periodicals.

A member of the 2004 United States Paralympic Soccer Team that competed in Athens, Greece, Blue played Forward. Of the 88 total medals won by the United States during the 2004 Paralympic Games, you can thank Josh Blue and his teammates for NONE OF THEM! LOL!!

Josh was kind enough to wake early in the morning to chat with us regarding his career, his upcoming visit to Southwest Florida and a whole bunch of other stuff. As likeable and friendly as one can be, Blue is the dude that you want living next door…the perfect beer-companion.

Gary Levine: OK, Josh…let’s start at the beginning. You were born in Cameroon. I’ve never interviewed anyone born in West Africa. I guess when your family came to the states, you first resided in St. Paul. And I believe, as is often the case with young comedians, you began performing at open mic events. Can you tell us at what age you came to the United States and, I guess this is a two-part question, but what prompted you to take a shot at open mic?

Josh Blue: “I was really young when we moved back to Minnesota…back to the states. I was probably like one, so I don’t remember Cameroon really. But when I was 15, I lived in Senegal for a whole year, so, I definitely remember Africa. You know, part of my time in Africa actually was what prompted me to start doing stand-up. Just seeing other parts of the world and realizing that just because I’m disabled doesn’t mean that I don’t have a bunch of other great [expletive] going on!”

We laughed…

“Like fooooood! And water! I didn’t start doing open mics until college, which was pretty young in the grand scheme of things. I did open mic on my campus. It was for like music and poetry. And I went up there…I was like ‘What’s up? I got Palsy!'”

Describing the sound that emanated from my nose would be difficult. I’m grateful that only sound came out.

Gary Levine: Your material is a blend of observational comedy, blue-humor and issues related to Cerebral Palsy…and it’s freaking hilarious. Would you tell us how you believe that jokes about this disability function to make people recognize that their preconceived notions about the disorder are inaccurate? And, have you ever been approached by others, living with CP, and what types of reactions have you received from them?

Josh Blue: “Well, you know, as far as reactions from others, it’s been 98.99% positive, with people very happy that I’m out there giving disability a new way for people to look at it. I think there’s such a low expectation of disability that when anyone that’s disabled does anything, it blows people’s minds. When you’re actually really good at something, I think it takes it to another level…because people misunderstood what that disability is.”

And Josh goes far beyond “really good.” In addition to his blossoming comedy career, Blue is a talented artist, public speaker and a father of two.

“Occasionally, I’ll get a little push-back…here and there. But, usually, what it is is people that are ignorant. Any push-back that I’ve gotten is like (as Josh reverts to a nasal, dorky voice) ‘You know, I have a friend in a wheelchair and I don’t appreciate what you’re saying.’ I’m like…’Ask your friend in the wheelchair what they think…’cause I’m pretty sure they would agree with what I’m saying here!’

Gary Levine: While we’re on the subject of Cerebral Palsy…and I really don’t want this to dominate our conversation because we need to talk about your amazing work and your ingenuity and how much we enjoy listening to you…but I do want to chat briefly about the breakthroughs using stem cells in treating the disorder. What have you heard? What do you think we can expect over the next couple of decades?

Josh Blue: “Well, I mean as far as stem cells stuff, I think that’s great for a lot of people. There aren’t a lot of people that can really benefit from that type of thing. You know, I’ve had people ask me before if I could fix it, would I. I would not. This is what I’ve known my whole life and I would feel like I was abandoning my people. And, let’s say the amount of Cerebral Palsy that I have…sure it’s an inconvenience for some things…but it’s the right amount. I have the right amount of Cerebral Palsy…if that makes sense. It’s not too much, it’s not unnoticeable. As far as stage goes, I have the exact right amount where it’s bearable.”

The statement sort of caught me off-guard, a bit…yet was thoroughly understood.

“You have the ability to pick change up off of the floor,” I remarked as this is one of Blue’s favorite activities.

“Yes,” Josh quipped. “I still have the dexterity to pick those nickels up!”

We laughed.

Gary Levine: You’re a man of many talents. I read online that you’re an artist…you competed with the United States Soccer team in the Paralympics in Athens, Greece in 2004…done films…and, of course, have an incredibly successful comedy career. You won the 2006 season of “Last Comic Standing,” you’ve appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “Live with Regis and Kelly,” “Comedy Central,” “Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” and on have appeared on all the major networks. What haven’t you done, to date, that remains on the Josh Blue bucket list?

Josh Blue: “I’d really like to do my own sitcom. I’d really like to have a show based on my life. I just feel like there is a lot I can…I have a show that I’m working on, but it’s an arduous process to write anything, as I’m sure you know…let alone a hit TV show. I feel like I’m never going to be satisfied in this career or this life. I’ll never stop trying to add to that list of things. But, I do art and acting and poetry and music and all that [expletive]! But, I really feel that if I had my own show, that would be pretty major on the old bucket list! I also want to do “The Tonight Show.” I haven’t done that.”

What about writing a book? Have you thought about writing a book?” I inquired.

“You know what? It’s funny that you should ask that. I am about, I’d say, 20 pages away from finishing my book, finally.”

Gary Levine: Last question, Josh. I was reading an article about you in the Denver Post and, incorporated in the title was the sentence “At first, you don’t know whether to laugh with him or at him.” In your case, how do those differ, and, in a perfect world, what do you want the audience to leave with?

Josh Blue: “I mean, the ultimate things that I want you to leave with are a sore gut and sore jaw from laughing. You know…and I think it’s been happening in my career…I want you to leave with a different perspective on disability. I don’t want to hammer you over the head with this concept, but I just want you to laugh so hard, throughout the whole show, that maybe the next day you go ‘Wow, that dude was so funny and he came from a place of difficulty…and he just did it.’ You know, I never want people…how should I say it? I want to do motivational speaking, but I think it’s such a cheesy, [expletive] form. I hate that motivational ya-ya [expletive]. But, I also feel like you can do it in a non-cheesy way. So, I want to get to that point where I am comfortable talking about it more directly.”

Josh paused.

“Again, jokes are jokes. You can joke about it…I find jokes to be very educational. I think that humor is one of the last places where you can speak the truth and everybody can hear it…if that makes sense.”

In a world strewn with tension and fear, hatred and disrespect, Josh Blue is a calming and peaceful breeze. His comedic persona, while both gut-busting and self-deprecating, emits a plea for friendship and compassion and consideration.

“It feels good to make people laugh. When you’re laughing, you’re not thinking about your [expletive] life!”

Southwest Florida is extremely fortunate in that Josh Blue will be appearing for two nights at the Off the Hook Comedy Club located at 2500 Vanderbilt Beach Road in Naples. For tickets, please click here.

For those wishing to learn more about Cerebral Palsy, or who wish to offer assistance, please visit the United Cerebral Palsy of Southwest Florida website. - Lee Herald - 2017

"Comedy Preview: Josh Blue at The Funny Bone"

Like much of the country, I became acquainted with Josh Blue as his humble, disarming humor propelled him into the national spotlight as winner of season four of NBC’s Last Comic Standing. His affability and winsome wit made him easy to root for, and he would eventually best an impressive list of comedians who auditioned for the show that year, including now-veterans Doug Benson, Tig Notaro, and Gabriel Iglesias.

Similar to many stand-ups who have appeared on the series, Blue had been a working comic for several years before he arrived on set as a contestant. He first began appearing at open mic nights while studying at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington in the early 2000s before making his way through the club circuit. While his prime-time stint certainly afforded him an advantageous platform from which he could build his career, he insists the growth he’s achieved since has been the most transformative.

“Just overall as a comedian, I’m, like, a thousand times better than I was on Last Comic Standing. I’ve done hundreds and hundreds of shows since then, and I’ve just grown as a voice. Obviously, the disability thing is a big part of my persona, and it was what I talked about a lot in the beginning. But now that I’m established I don’t have to explain as much, and I can just go into the humor of things and it doesn’t have to be disability-related stuff. But it all still comes from the perspective of a disabled person.”

Blue was born with cerebral palsy, which absolutely gives his stand-up routine unique physicality and, often, a level of unpredictability to which he responds with expert comedic timing. His willingness to self-deprecate has made difficult topics like disability easier to broach with audiences and gives him the capacity to allow them to laugh at subjects they might otherwise consider off-limits – even if it means taking the crowd for a little bit of a ride in the process.

“I’m eager to throw myself under the bus for your entertainment, you know? (laughs) That also gives me some leeway to say certain things. I like the idea of making people think I’m going one way with a certain topic, and then just making it ridiculous. The old bait-and-switch! I do ’em all day. If you guys haven’t caught on by the end of my set, man – shit!”

Cameroon-born and Minnesota-raised Blue has appeared as a regular guest star on Comedy Central’s Mind of Mencia, and his story has been featured on Fox, ESPN, CBS, ABC, and MSNBC. He was the first comedian to perform stand-up on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and he was also the first comic to debut a stand-up special on the big screen when 7 More Days in the Tank was shown in theatres across the country. Blue is a repeat guest on such nationally syndicated radio programs as NPR’s Talk of the Nation and The Mancow Show, and has been featured in numerous print publications including People Magazine and The New York Times. He has also performed at the prestigious HBO-Aspen Comedy Festival, Comedy Central’s South Beach Comedy Festival, and The Comedy Festival in Las Vegas.

Blue was also a member of the US Paralympic soccer team, and competed alongside his teammates in the 2004 games in Athens.

Lately, Blue has continued to sell out comedy clubs across the country, and he serves as co-host of the groundbreaking new unscripted digital series High Cuisine on Verizon’s go90 mobile network – a cooking competition that focuses on plant-based recipes with a twist: the chefs enter their kitchens high on cannabis before they prepare their dishes.

This weekend, Blue will perform a special five-show engagement at Columbus Funny Bone at Easton Town Center, beginning with a 7:45 p.m. show on Friday, and concluding with a 7:00 p.m. show on Sunday. At press time, the 7:45 p.m. show on Friday and 7:00 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. shows on Saturday are sold out.

I had a chance to watch a few episodes of High Cuisine this week, and they were rather entertaining. You’ve long been a cannabis advocate, especially since you use it for medicinal purposes to manage the symptoms of your cerebral palsy, but I’m curious how they pitched it to you?

“They actually came to me and said that I was the first person they thought of to do the show, and they were just, like, ‘we hope he smokes weed!’ They didn’t even know that. And I’m, like, ‘well, you just happened to get a goddamned professional!’ Basically, I get two chefs high as hell and they’re then challenged to cook something in 45 minutes.”

And following the plant theme of the show, the food has to be vegan as well?

“Yeah, that really throws a wrench in there for those guys!”

Are you currently involved in any of the show’s writing or production?

“None of that at this point, but I definitely can see there being more seasons of that – and I would love to get more involved, you know?”

In your latest special, Delete, you talk about disability and how it’s often seen as inspirational. And I really loved how you framed that because I just finished teaching a course at Ohio State multicultural identity, and two of our classes were focused on ability. There was a lot of discussion among my students about how society views people with disabilities – and how completely different it is to see someone as inspiring versus having respect for them and being inclusive of them.

“Well, thanks. You know, it’s true – we’re such an underrepresented minority group. We need a voice, and the best way to give a voice to that is by saying the fucking truth.”

I also read an interview you did with Psychology Today in which you said “it’s the only minority group that you can join at any time.” And we talked about that in class as well – that, even if it’s temporary, an illness or an injury can drastically alter anyone’s ability. That’s a concept most people don’t think about on a daily basis.

“And that’s a brutally honest way to educate right there. When I say that on stage, I can see people’s faces actually putting those pieces together, like, ‘oh my God! I’ve never thought of it like that before!’ And I think it’s time. People are ready.”

You’re an incredibly prolific comedian, so it was a bit mind-blowing when I recently heard you say that you don’t write any of your material down. So how do you create and then retain what you develop in your act?

“There’s definitely a pretty intense process to it. A lot of times, stuff comes from off stage just in conversation. Like, I’ll be talking to a friend about some topic, and then I’ll say something funny and think ‘oh, I could make that into a joke form or story form on stage.’ Then I hope I remember to say it again the next night. And that’s the thing – I feel like if you don’t write it down, you can’t fuck it up. But you can forget it! (laughs) So the key is every night that I go on, I say that story again and it doesn’t necessarily have to be in the same place as the night before.

Where that then gets tricky is I have a lot of call-backs in my show, so I have to do certain jokes before I do other jokes. But it’s not necessarily set in stone where any of that’s going to go. And I feel like by doing that, it creates this element of being in the moment and everyone in the room is there with this thing that’s genuinely happening there.”

You’re a dad of two. What have your kids said or done recently that’s given you comedic pause?

“Last week, I had run around frantically buying them Christmas gifts – going to this store, and then driving across town and going to this store. And it had been a long morning of that. Then, they both come home from school and say ‘hey, Dad? What do you do anyway? What do you do all day – just sit around and watch TV?’ And I was, like, ‘you little shits! You have no idea what I just did all morning for you – and now you’re busting my balls?! What do you do, anyway?!’ You little bastards! Yeesh!”

I guess that’s a pretty typical kid perspective.

“I guess I can still return those gifts, man!”

It’s been a almost twenty years since you first started as a stand-up. Is it all that different in 2018 than it was when you got into the business?

“I feel like the thing about stand-up is that it’s always evolving – it doesn’t sit still, right? It’s always evolving and there’s always a new way to be funny. There’s always a new thing on the news to talk about. With the current state of the world, I’m afraid of what there’s going to be to talk about to be honest with you, man. I’m afraid what comics are going to have to do to make this shit funny. I mean, something’s gotta give, right? It feels like this whole worlds is…with ‘Rocket Man’ where it’s, like, ‘my button’s bigger than your button!’ Oh my God. I just wish that George Carlin and Bill Hicks were still alive to tell us what to do. We definitely need it. And to get a big cache of food and water ready!”

Bouncing off that thought, are there things you’ve decided you won’t riff about – either because you’re not comfortable doing it, or perhaps you think another comedian has already covered it sufficiently?

“I’m not necessarily afraid of any topic, but some topics can be overplayed. But on the other side of it…politics is a great example. You’re going to instantly divide your room. I remember a time where you could say a joke and everyone in the room would laugh regardless of whether they were on the side of that or not. I mean, maybe not everyone, but a greater amount. (laughs) But then if you look at things like sexual misconduct – I’m sure there are jokes that could be made that are funny about that, but I don’t feel like it’s my place to talk about that.

It’s one of those things where every topic you touch on will affect somebody. Every topic can be potentially hurtful to someone. So my thing is trying to find a way to say those things where I’m the fool or I’m not making fun of them, if you know what I’m saying? Everyone is disabled in their own way, so I try to be conscious of the words that I say.

You also paint and sculpt when you’re not on stage. How do you find the time and creative energy to pour yourself into other kinds of art when you’re a touring comedian?

“Well, it’s funny right now – as we speak, I’m in my yard shoveling leaves and junk into my new burn barrel that I got for Christmas, and I’m standing next to a new sculpture I’ve been working on, which is a giant log I’ve carved up and burned. But where do I get the energy? I probably only put two percent of my energy into my stand-up, and I say that if I actually tried at this, I might be really good.

As far as carving and sculpting, it calls to me – almost like being thirsty and needing a drink. It’s, like, ‘I’ve gotta paint something! I’ve gotta draw something! I wanna make something with my hands and I want people to see what’s possible!’ I don’t know, it’s weird to be doing art to show people something, but it’s kind of real. I’ve had people comment on my art or other things and say ‘well, I could do that!’ Well, the difference is I’ve already done it! You say you could, but here it is. And that’s what I love about art – when people look at this big African that I’ve carved, and then look at me and go ‘wait…you made that?! How is that possible?!'”

Josh Blue will be at the Columbus Funny Bone, 145 Easton Town Center, on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Tickets are still available for shows on Friday and Sunday as of press time. More information about Josh, including his latest stand-up special, “Delete,” can be found on his official website. - Columbus Underground - 2018

"Uber-talented Comedian with Cerebral Palsy"

See link for podcast interview - The Art of Excellence - 2018

"Josh Blue (Comedian, Artist)"

See link for podcast interview - Behind the Scene - 2018


Good Josh, Bad Arm (2006) - CD
7 More Days in the Tank (2006) - DVD
Sticky Change (2012) - CD/DVD



Following his groundbreaking win on NBC's Last Comic Standing in the summer of 2006, Josh Blue has risen through the ranks from promising up-and-coming young comic to well-established and sought-after headliner at venues throughout the country.  Josh made his debut on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in the summer of 2018 followed by an appearance at the prestigious Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal on the William H. Macy Gala.  The year ended with him recording his fifth one-hour comedy special at his home club, Comedy Works in Denver, CO.  He continues to spread laughter and break down stereotypes of those with disabilities one sarcastic and though-provoking joke at a time.