This episode of Comic to Comic starts in reverse order. I was sitting down at The Punchline with Josh Blue at the end of the night after his amazing set. Josh obviously was struggling with what the hell my rabbi’s attire was about as we loosened up and had a drink or two. He stuttered a Facacta L’chaim. This fantastic sentiment took me by surprise which is very hard to do because Josh takes a long time to get any words out.
I asked Josh if he thinks one appearance can make or break your comedy career. He thinks it’s a combination of many appearances that build a steady foundation in modern comedy. The Last Comic Standing winner started in a college town at student center where he had to move the pool tables to perform. His career has been built on mixing that college crowd from his beginning with the broader fan base he derived from national television fame and the title of Last Comic Standing. Every comic has their own path to follow. What works for one may or may not be the recipe for others. He accepts being labeled as a handicapped performer and feels his act is much more than just that label. He is very likeable on stage and addresses topics that touch all of our lives. Josh knows that he can’t get a way from the stereotypes, and if he can be both recognized by his disability and touch lives and educate about living with cerebal palsy, then he has succeeded in comedy!
The show was great. Fellow Stereohype Angela Miller was the host. She recently broke her hip and came on stage on crutches. Angela sat through her performance, and I think the fact that she was at crowd eye level made her set very identifiable. Her facial expressions and mannerisms define her genius approach to comedy. The feature for the evening was Manny Oliveira. I have seen him a lot on television and his down home comedy style did not disappoint A heckler was interrupting one of his bits and his retort was simple: “Lady, lady go with it for the sake of the freakin’ joke!” He described a ride on Buford Highway like being on a trip from Hong Kong to Hell. Angela brought out the star of the evening, Josh Blue. He came out with, “This make-a-wish is kickin’ my ass.” A couple was in the front row making out and Josh paused to see if they wanted us to wait while they went outside and got it on. I was impressed by his unique subtle way of dealing with hecklers and cell phones. The meter of his rhythm is slow and sets a relaxed tone. I couldn’t believe his set was 40 minutes and I hadn’t looked at my watch once. He opened the floor to questions and made the crowd feel like they were part of the show. Josh Blue will be at The Punchline all weekend doing shows Friday and Saturday night. There are still a few tickets left so get them at Punchline.com now!
Josh was born in Cameroon, West Africa and is now American making him an honest to goodness “African American.” I always inquire about what other comics associate with Atlanta and where they go every visit. Josh Blue gave the strangest and most interesting response I have gotten so far. He goes within a radius of whatever hotel he is at and tries to find at least 9 species of animals and critters. What a fantastic and nerdy hobby! Josh says he still gets nervous at every performance and thinks that is what drives him. He praises The Punchline and is adamant on the piece of advice he gave me about traveling and gaining a fanbase in every town. He says the waitstaff in the comedy clubs are the best gauge on success with the audience. Comics need to recognize that comedy club staff know what is funny and what is not. Be kind to the waitresses and barstaff because, they will save your ass when you are in trouble and fill the seats by word of mouth as well. He is married to a lovely Asian lady and made a crack of how people ask him if he has an Asian fetish. Josh says, “I guess I do now,” but the real question is what the hell kind of fetish does his wife have?
Josh likes to share the stage with all kinds of comedy acts. As long as they kill during their set, he feels it brings greatness to what he does. He always wants the crowd to walk away happy and people know the caliber of funny that he brings as a headliner. I want to add that Josh Blue was the easiest interview I have done as Comic to Comic with The Backstage Beat. His easy going but driven attitude makes this comic feel like the road ahead is bright. Making your own path is the only way to succeed and for longevity. You can find Josh Blue at The Punchline tonight and tomorrow. You can follow him anytime (just not too close!) on Twitter at @joshbluecomedy www.joshblue.com and find him on Facebook and at your local physical therapist’s office.