Comedian Josh Blue still at home in Colorado
Josh Blue is coming to the Aggie Theatre on Friday, Jan. 11. And that’s exactly where he wants to be.
Blue is known as “the comedian who puts cerebral in cerebral palsy,” although his humor now reaches far beyond disability jokes. He has been headlining shows with his self-deprecating and improvisational wit since winning the “Last Comic Standing” reality TV competition in 2006.
Blue wants to take his award-winning comedy and his message about disability to the next level. But for now he’s happy being Colorado’s biggest comedian, and he’s always ready to perform in a theater.
“I would much rather play a large venue,” Blue said in a phone interview from his Denver home.
Blue also works in a range of venues as a “non-motivational speaker.”
“I’m not here to motivate you,” he said. “I’m here to tell you my story and tell you to grab life by the balls and not let go until you’re dead.”
The comic said his job is not to tell his audiences, “You can do it!”
“I really don’t think you can do it. Prove me wrong,” he said.
Blue also is on a crusade to limit use of “the I-word” about disability.
“We don’t want to be seen as inspirational,” Blue said. “We’re not here to inspire you. I always want to tell people, ‘I’m uninspired by you and there’s nothing wrong with you. You ain’t done shit. Why are you looking at my crippled ass?’”
Blue likes performing in theaters, but he said his second home in Denver is Comedy Works, a downtown club that has hosted nearly every working comedian since opening in 1981.
“Comedy Works is the pinnacle of where comedy should be played at,” Blue said.
He goes there to watch other comedians and to perform.
“When he went on stage, the other comics would shut up and listen, which is actually pretty rare,” said comic Kelly MacLean on her ‘Tao of Comedy” podcast.
Off the cuff
That’s partly because he constantly tries new, raw material. Blue’s cerebral palsy prevents him from writing or typing, so he can’t draft his material on paper.
“I just go up there and puke it out,” he said.
He said it makes for stronger comedy.
“If you don’t write it down, you can’t fuck it up,” Blue said. And he’s always “puking” out new material about the regular chaos and awkward situations in his life.
“I don’t know why this stuff happens to me but it constantly does,” Blue said. “I’m very fortunate in that I’m able to roll with it and see the humor in it.”
Even when Blue, a single father of two, has a rare date night with his girlfriend, they typically end up at Comedy Works. He tried to get away last fall by renting an Airbnb and going out on a date in Fort Collins. But walking downtown, he ran into a group of comics. Kyle Kinane asked him to perform an opening set at the Aggie, and he obliged, leading to yet another night on the comedy circuit.
“It’s very nice to be in demand and have other people want me to play in their shows,” Blue said.
A bigger stage
Still, Blue has been frustrated by a lack of bigger opportunities after 13 years of headlining comedy clubs.
“Unfortunately, I am the palsy comic,” Blue said. “I have moved away from all palsy jokes, but I’m kind of stuck where that’s how the industry sees me. For all the successes I’ve had in this business, I’ve had more people pass on me because they think I’m a one-trick pony.”
He said producers aren’t ready to showcase a person with cerebral palsy.
“We’ve pretty much destroyed taboo in this country, but for some reason, a disabled person having a voice is kind of taboo,” he said.
Blue’s dream is to have a variety show that mixes stand-up and sketch, blurring reality and fiction.
Until then, he has no excuse to move to the entertainment hubs of Los Angeles or New York, and that suits him well. He moved to Colorado on a whim after college and never left.
“Once I got here, I saw how beautiful it was,” Blue said. “It’s my speed. It’s got a really good vibe going here.”
He also appreciates the climate — and recreational opportunities.
“You can’t fuck with the weather,” he said. “I grew up in Minnesota, so anywhere that’s not negative 40 is pretty nice. I built my life here. I love it here. And the legal weed doesn’t hurt.”
He is the face of Mountain High Suckers, which sells Josh Blue’s Dream THC- and CBD-infused lollipops in a variety of flavors.
Blue has also been working on a memoir for more than a decade, but he hopes to publish the book this year. He writes by dictating over the phone to a typist, but he finally completed the first draft.
“I definitely have the manuscript done and I’m going through and combing it out. My process is very nontraditional,” he said.
The same could be said of his comedy and his career.