Inside the Improv Green Room: Josh Blue

October4, 2009

This past weekend I had the opportunity to work with Josh Blue again.  I was planned to be the opener/MC for the weekend and Mike Wysocki from WDVE would be the feature act.  Luckily (for me anyway) Mike double-booked himself on Saturday and I was bumped up to his slot, with Tim Dimond filling in for MC duties.

So far, the fall has been a really busy season for me as a comedian.  I’ve had weekends with Bryan Callen, Josh Blue, and have a feature weekend with Orny Adams coming up.  It’s been very rewarding, but a little challenging.  My friends and family try to make it down to at least one show a weekend when I’m down there, so I always try to have at least a few new things for them to hear in my act.  It’s good because it keeps me writing, even though I haven’t found too many new “keeper” jokes.  As an opener/MC you want to be relatable to the audience; that’s why you’ll often see the opening act joke about current events and local happenings.  It makes the cold audience warm up to you a bit.  So this weekend my jokes were about the G-20.

Me: You guys glad the G-20 is finally over with?

Audience: Yeah!

Me: Good, ’cause I’ve got jokes about it that are only going to be funny for about another week.

I’ve found that audiences usually like when comedians acknowledge something little like that.

Thursday was an OK show.  Nothing really groundbreaking to report.  Friday was when it started to get crazy.  The 8′ o’clock show was going pretty normally.  Tim did a really nice job MC’ing and I had an average set.  The audience was good so when Josh finally took the stage I thought it’d be smooth sailing.  Wrong.  Josh had one joke that had some unintended consequences.

Josh Blue: Where are my NASCAR fans?

Scattered Audience Members: Whoo!

Josh Blue: Now get the hell out!

It got a big laugh and applause from all the non-NASCAR fans.  But there was a lady in the front who got up onstage and stood 2 feet from Josh.

Josh: Uh…yes?

Lady:  You said ‘get up’.

Josh: No…I said get out.

As most pros do, Josh was able to handle the situation by making a reference to one of his previous jokes.  Unfortunately, that interaction was all that this woman needed to start jib-jabbing at Josh for the duration of the show.  Never get a NASCAR fan involved in your show.  They have no sense of shame or self-awareness, so they’re not above embarrassing themselves and you in the process.

The same thing happened at the second show.  A lady with a walker apparently thought that Josh’s set was a “Choose Your Own Adventure” novel, because she kept talking directly to him during his the show.  A lot of Josh’s fans are handicapped, but this lady didn’t seem genuinely handicapped.  It seemed like she slipped on some ice on a sidewalk at Wal-Mart 30 years ago and sued the hell out of them.  The walker was just a prop that her attorney told her she had to carry around to convince the jury.  Her credit card got denied when the bill came and she asked Josh if he would ask the audience members for donations.  He politely declined.

Mike Wysocki killed both sets on Saturday.  As he started to wrap up his time at the second show he said, “Alright guys…”

I was all the way in the back, so I started to sprint toward the stage because I thought he was done.  A split second into my run, I realized I was bearing down on some poor lady who was trying to find the bathroom.  She almost fell to the ground.  Turns out Mike was going to do one more joke, so now my herky-jerky behavior looked like a deliberate attempt to make her flinch.  I apologized profusely for scaring her and all I saw was Josh laughing hysterically in the background.  “Boy you really got her!”

Josh does have a very positive mindset about comedy though.  “I don’t really believe in higher callings and destiny and stuff, but I feel like I was put on this Earth to do comedy,” he said to me as we walked over to Rock Bottom.  “I mean, think about it.  Given my situation, I can pretty much get away with saying whatever I want.”

To prove it, he told me a story about how he and his friends were at some huge bar in Denver a few months back.  A bunch of frat dudes were playing Golden Tee at one end of the bar, making all sorts of noise and commotion over the golf arcade game.  Josh started throwing paper coasters in their direction, hitting the alpha male repeatedly.  After about 4 or 5 direct hits to the back of the head, the guy turned around and started storming toward Josh and his friends, pushing his way through the crowd trying to locate his tormentor.  When he found the culprit, a short, scraggly-looking, soccer dude with cerebral palsy, he stopped.

“Was that you flicking coasters at me?” said the guy angrily.

“Yeah!  My name’s Josh.  That’s just how I meet new people.”

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