A "stint on Facts of Life" worked out pretty well for George Clooney.
Oh you take that back!! The Facts of Life was excellent! Jo, Natalie, Tootie, Blaire, Ms. Garrett! You take the good you take the bad... :whistle
I need a Josh avatar.
Well, that's just a case of us having a different set of opinions on what we find funny. Which is A-OK with me.Quote:
Originally Posted by I'm so over me
Speaking of funny, I do think Josh has the potential to win this, as he seems funnier to me than a large percentage of the cast. I'm more impressed with him offstage than on at this point, but it's hard to judge someone's act when you're only seeing a minute here and a minute there.
I think Josh is utterly adorable. I do hope they show more of his act. Sad to say but my mom and i used to play crotch ball. Hahahahaha. Living in a single family household growing up gets boring. You have to spice it up.
Josh is my fav I hope he can win, not because of his disabilities but because he is funny:laugh
Denver comedian makes ’em laugh on NBC series
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: A guy with a mop of unruly, dishwater blond hair and a shaggy beard walks into a comedy club. He slurs his words. He wrestles with a right arm that seems to have a mind of its own. And the audience laughs. With him.
Well, it’s no joke. The same guy — whose grandmother worried that he’d never support himself — expects his comedy career to make him a millionaire in less than three years.
It may sound like a lofty aspiration for a once shy kid with cerebral palsy, but comedian Josh Blue has never lived his life in terms of limitations.
"When I first started, I said I wanted to be headlining clubs when I’m 27 and here I am," says Blue, who sold out five shows at the Comedy Works when he headlined there a few weeks ago. "I don’t write these goals down, but I just always have them in the back of my head and most times, I achieve them."
Don’t let Blue’s easygoing manner and laid-back wardrobe of shorts and T-shirts (which he often dons onstage) fool you. He’s a driven guy.
After failing to make the cut last year, Blue landed a spot on NBC’s Last Comic Standing this season. And he’s more than holding his own. Thanks to talent and charisma, Blue has become one of the reality show’s five finalists who’ll vie — American Idol style — for viewer votes.
"I think he’s the funniest guy on the show," says Mind of Mencia star Carlos Mencia, who’s taken Blue on tour and featured the comedian on his Comedy Central show. "Just from a decibel level of comedy — if you were to take a laugh-o-meter and measure it, when he’s on, I’d bet any money that he gets the best reaction of everybody."
Exposure from the show has boosted demand for Blue, who now boasts a full calendar of club dates, including stops at such well-known venues as Cobb’s Comedy Club in San Francisco.
And somehow in that busy schedule, Blue — who claims onstage that his nickname is the human vibrator — still finds time to play for the U.S. Paralympic Soccer Team, carve intricate, African-inspired masks out of wood and occasionally strum on the slide guitar with the local band Zebra Junction.
"He’s a moving force," says friend and fellow comedian Chuck Roy. "I’m sure when he was a kid people told him he couldn’t do anything. But this is a kid who can do everything."
To be fair, Blue can credit his parents for his uninhibited nature.
"We treated him like everyone else," says Blue’s mother, Jacqui Blue. "There were never any assumptions about what he couldn’t do. There were some physical limitations, but we didn’t dwell on those."
Born to be witty
Josh Blue was born in the central African nation of Cameroon. His father, Walt, who normally worked as a French professor in St. Paul, Minn., was teaching English in the mostly rural country when Blue entered the world via cesarean section, in the fall of 1978.
"My husband is fond of saying that standard operating-room instruments included a fly swatter," laughs Jacqui Blue. "The mission hospital was the best around and the staff was really good, but there weren’t things like running water and meal service."
Shortly after his birth, Blue was flown by Medevac to the United States because he was having seizures. Though Jacqui Blue sensed something was wrong, doctors assured her that her son was fine. So, she ignored the signals when Blue didn’t reach development milestones as quickly as her older kids.
"By the time we found out there was something wrong with him, it was too late, because we knew there was nothing wrong with him," she says matter-of-factly.
Jacqui Blue says her son has the athetoid form of cerebral palsy, which — according to the March of Dimes — makes controlled movements difficult and results in either very loose or very tight muscle tone.
When he was 4 years old, a physical therapist examined all of Blue’s muscles separately and confessed to his parents that he "looked much better than he should."
"I think it was sheer willpower," says Jacqui Blue of her youngest child’s ability to push his body into performing tasks it shouldn’t have been equipped to handle.
The little boy attacked life with the same vigor as his friends and siblings. He rode bikes, ran fast and attended traditional schools.
And he learned how to deal with the gawkers quickly.
"From an early age I found I was quick-witted," says Blue. "I could make people stare at me for the right reason."
But Blue says he often felt a little overshadowed at home, where his intellectual clan would often engage in as many as four different conversations at the dinner table — often in a foreign language.
"In my family, I was the quiet one. They would just blow over me," contends Blue, who has one older brother and two older sisters. "Onstage, it’s my time to shine."
A comic education
Blue caught the comedy bug at Washington’s Evergreen State College, a liberal arts school surrounded by 2,000 acres of forest — a good fit for a guy who says he’s "just as comfortable running around half-naked in the woods as he is on stage."
Blue performed stand-up for the first time as a sophomore in front of 30 people in the dorms.
"I was scared s---less," he recalls. "But I went up and did about 10 riffs and the whole room was drawn in."
When Blue came back the next week, 70 people were waiting for him to perform. He was on a roll, but when his fourth outing didn’t go as well as planned, Blue quit stand-up for a year. In the interim, he found adventure as an intern for the Dakar Zoo in Senegal, West Africa.
A theater class eventually brought him back into the fold (he did stand-up as a transition in between the scenes of a play he directed), and by the time he was a senior, he was doing stand-up every week at an open-mic night at a local coffee shop for class credit.
"I remember the place would be packed and the emcee would say, ‘Now Josh is going to do an hour of stand-up,’" says Blue. "I didn’t know what I was talking about, I can barely do an hour now."
Initially, Blue showed up in pimp suits and native African garb and filled the time by telling stories about his disability and his adventures in Africa. Before he graduated, however, Blue was wearing his own clothes and telling jokes like a traditional stand-up.
He moved to Colorado in summer 2001, taking a job a friend’s father had arranged at an Easter Seals camp in Empire.
"I was in a cabin with 15 10-year-olds with Down syndrome and ADD, so you had to sleep with them because they would get up and wander off," says Blue.
When the camp ended, Blue took a job as a caregiver for developmentally disabled adults. It was a worthy cause, but Blue’s heart belonged to comedy.
Before long, Blue was hitting the open-mic nights at the Mercury Cafe.
"When he went up the first time, no one wanted to laugh at him," remembers friend and singer Melissa Ivey, who also got her start at the Merc. "They were scared to laugh at this guy with cerebral palsy."
But Blue’s material quickly put the audience at ease.
His self-deprecating humor eventually found its way to the Comedy Works, where he started performing at the club’s new-talent nights.
You gotta believe!
In 2002, Blue took a leap of faith and quit his day job.
"We told him we’d help support him for six months and all we ever did was pay his medical insurance," says Jacqui Blue.
Blue admits that he scraped by in the beginning.
"I know how to live simply," he acknowledges. "I’ve eaten a lot of ramen."
A trip to Blue’s house reveals a humble abode, low on extravagance. The blue and white stucco house he rents with his roommate and girlfriend is located not far from the Denver City Jail.
The stove doesn’t work. The television looks like it shouldn’t. And the thrift store-style furniture might be older than the residents.
But no mistake: Blue may not have a fancy flat-screen TV or a sleek sofa, but he could certainly afford such luxuries.
His career began to take off after he won the Bass Ale New Talent Contest in 2004. That same year, he earned the $10,000 Grand Prize in the Las Vegas Comedy Festival’s Royal Flush Comedy Competition.
"Josh has that confidence," says comedian John "Hippieman" Novosad. "And once you convince yourself that you’ve got something, there’s almost no stopping you."
That attitude is what drew Mencia to Blue.
"When you hear someone has a disability, you think, it’s going to be diatribe of woe is me, feel bad for me. But that’s not what he does and you’re blown away by it," says Mencia, who plans to take Blue back on tour if he doesn’t win Last Comic Standing.
Blue often turns his frustrating experiences into comedy fodder.
Three summers ago, the comic crashed his bike and separated his shoulder. He was in a rush to meet a friend of a friend and guilty of having too much caffeine ("which makes me more twitchy," he admits) when the front wheel of his bike hit a divot in the road and jackknifed.
Denver’s mobile drunk tank was the first to arrive on the scene, assuming that Blue — because of the slightly slurred speech — was intoxicated.
"I had to convince them I wasn’t drunk because they couldn’t conceive of a guy with cerebral palsy riding a bike," explains Blue.
The incident now serves as one of Blue’s funniest bits.
"They pulled up in front of me and I was like, ‘Uh Oh, wait a minute fellas, I’m not drunk, I have cerebral palsy,’ " says Blue in his act. "And they said, that’s a pretty big word for a drunk."
Blue’s willingness to share his experiences on stage, could have far-reaching impacts, say other disabled comics.
"The more exposure any big comic with a disability gets will open more doors for the rest of us and help change people’s attitudes," says comedian Chris Fonseca, who also has cerebral palsy and has performed on The Late Show With David Letterman and Baywatch.
While Blue might be shining brightly right now on the small screen, he worries that television will make his material grow stale more quickly.
"Every joke I do on TV is dead," complains Blue. "I’ve worked eight years to get to this point. Now, I have to get cranking on some new stuff."
Not that Blue isn’t enjoying the moment. On a recent hot summer afternoon, Blue talked about his desire to buy a home in Denver’s Washington Park.
When reminded how expensive the neighborhood is, Blue smirked and said, "I know. But I think I can make it work."
Grandma would be proud.
I thought his act was very good last night. He is a natural and just cracks me up.
Josh Blue is my favorite contestant!:up
He's hilarious!!! So funny...I love his jokes!!!:yay