Cerebral Palsy is a subject for amusement
Recently, Josh Blue found himself in a familiar setting – an airport in Illinois – as he talked about the impact Cerebral Palsy has had on his life. He had just finished a five-night stand at a comedy club in Peoria.
Josh is most recognizable to Americans as the winner of the reality competition show “Last Comic Standing,” but his success in the industry is more about the disappointment and success he experiences between his live performances and television appearances. It is often said that men in the funny industry have to work hard to be successful, and Josh knows firsthand what it takes.
“A lifestyle dedicated to chasing my passion and captivating the audience every evening, and earning a round of applause is a remarkable way to live one’s life. I wouldn’t want it any differently.”
“Even during my upbringing, I recognized that my condition is relatively insignificant compared to the global scale. I have always had the privilege of having food on my table and a roof over my head, which many others lack. In the grand scheme of things, my Cerebral Palsy is a minor concern for most of the world.”
It’s an exhilarating pace, but for 34-year-old Paul, a native of St. Paul, Minn., Who was diagnosed with spastic Cerebral Palsy as an infant, the use of his arms is limited and it’s a neck-breaking pace.
Josh expressed, “However, the response I receive within a minute or two is unrelated to Cerebral Palsy.” “Regarding my condition of having Cerebral Palsy, I am aware in a practical sense that I cannot disregard it when I go on stage. It is an amazing means of earning a livelihood, but it can be challenging due to the extended periods of time I spend away from home.”
He, who has Cerebral Palsy, focuses on it, demonstrating that it affects more than just Josh’s life.
He stated, “My Cerebral Palsy is a tiny problem for the majority of the world. I’ve had the privilege of having nourishment on my table and a roof over my head throughout my entire life, and many individuals lack these basic necessities. Even during my childhood, I understood that comparatively my condition is an insignificant matter in relation to the rest of the globe.”
Each comic possesses a grave aspect.
He experiences difficulty with his fine motor skills and has trouble with spasticity; he describes his overall condition as moderate to mild. He suspects that the genesis of his Cerebral Palsy was due to the fact that when he was born in Cameroon, state-of-the-art medical facilities were not available. Josh was born in West Africa, specifically in Cameroon, where Walter was a professor of language.
Josh mentioned that his parents and his sisters did not grant him any preferential treatment due to his condition, which was diagnosed as Cerebral Palsy when he was approximately one year old.
He expressed, “It wasn’t a significant matter. I intend to approach tasks in a slightly distinct manner from others. It’s a reality – I possess certain unique requirements, and my parents handled my impairment as an ordinary occurrence.”
In 2004, in Athens, Greece, Josh participated in the U.S. Paralympics Men’s Soccer Team, despite having Cerebral Palsy – a detail he would always recall as he was removed from his children’s soccer team, who took part in specialized education courses until the fourth grade, which was significant.
“I was given permission to attend practice, however,” he mentioned.
After experiencing some initial difficulties, Josh started to gain a fan base after refining his performance in Olympia during the evenings of open mic sessions filled with smoke. He obtained a degree in liberal arts from Evergreen State University in Olympia, Wash., Where his dry and clever sense of humor served as both a coping mechanism and a means to establish rapport with his fellow students, a practice that originated in high school and continued throughout his college years.
He stated, “I was dedicated to performing and composing throughout my time in college. I was motivated to pursue it by my companions, and I simply persevered.”
He pursued his dream of a life in the limelight as an overall performance, working on his improvisational skills and timing for several years, resulting in a little spastic routine.
He said, “I believe that the stand-up show will leave people with a different understanding of disability, especially those who come to see it. It can be a powerful force to break down pre-conceived notions and barriers about disability, as well as economic status, race, and religion.”
Out there, strolling for motivation and sharing with someone where you’ll encounter different scenarios and run into them, you’ll find inspiration.
“What if I told them that I was on my way to the liquor store?” Josh jokes. “How inspirational would that be?”.
Noise and commotion
After working a handful of years in the college circuit and comedy club, Josh’s career received a major boost when he won the Grand Jury Prize of $10,000 at the Las Vegas Comedy Festival. His self-deprecating brand of humor has resonated with fans, as evident from his response on the show “Last Comic Standing” when he won in 2006.
MSNBC and ABC News programs have featured reports on Fox and CBS, and he has also performed his routine on “Live with Kelly and Regis,” “The Ellen Show,” and “The Carlos Mencia Show,” starring fellow comedian Carlos Mencia. His character, notably known as Mencia’s Mind, has made recurring appearances on Comedy Central’s show, leading to a flurry of television appearances.
“The latest presentation by Josh, titled ‘Sticky Change,’ was followed by the well-received show ‘Josh: Presents: Comedy Central Blue’ on the network in the year 2009. This TV cable show has also been a friend of Josh’s.”
“Days Seven” was later edited into a 30-minute show and format, receiving praise. It was recorded in Josh’s home-base, the Gothic Theater in Denver, Colo., And featured nationwide in theaters. This was Drunk Tank’s biggest success in 2009, but there were more successful days when “Days More Seven” was aired.
“Seven” is a 60-minute film version available on Amazon, which works as Josh’s portrayal of people facing disabilities and tackles some of the perceived issues.
Today, Josh performs five shows per week, traveling from city to city. This week, after completing a five-show engagement in Seattle, he is jetting from Washington to Illinois, specifically to Peoria. This is part of his toughest schedule, as his wife Yuko is away in Denver taking care of their 2-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son.
“It’s rough on a family when you’re working at this level,” he said. “But you can be a good husband and father.”.
He is also a director, writer, and performer who plans to branch out into film. He is currently writing his autobiography, tentatively titled “The Palsy Punch,” in which he shares his journey with cerebral palsy. In the near term, Josh plans to continue touring colleges and clubs, referring to it as “putting cerebral palsy on call.”
He said that it is not necessary to apply political correctness or to accept other people’s opinions. Comedy would not be a suitable career option for him.
“I believe that’s the reason why I possess a sense of humor. I am not inherently humorous, I am merely attempting to conform,” he stated in a preliminary video for the show “Last Comic Standing.” “As a person with a disability, I do discover that I must consistently demonstrate my abilities.”
He suggested, “regardless of what it may be, you ought to pursue it, if you desire to take action.” “It is unrelated to a disability, individuals often come up with numerous excuses for lacking ambition. It is due to my own laziness, not because of my Cerebral Palsy. If I fail to achieve my desired goals.”
He said that in comedy, the fact that life has its ups and downs is an essential truth, no matter how funny men may be faced with all the ups and downs of their physical condition.
He expressed, “I would not prefer any alternative.” “A life of pursuing my aspiration and captivating the audience every evening, and receiving a round of applause is not an unfavorable way to lead your life.”