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Episode 39: Humor as a Mirror: A Conversation with Award-Winning Comedian, Josh Blue

Content Warning: Profanity and Adult Content Comedian Josh Blue sat down with Erik and Jeff at our studio in Golden, CO to discuss his career as a comic who happens to have cerebral palsy. Following his groundbreaking win on NBC’s Last Comic Standing in 2006, Josh Blue has risen through the ranks to become a well-established headliner at venues throughout the world. His story has been featured on Fox, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, and CNN. He was the first comedian to perform stand-up on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, was named Best Winning Reality Show Guest on Live with Regis and Kelly, and made standout appearances on Comics Unleashed.

Recently, Josh crushed his set on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and was honored with a performance at the William H. Macy Gala at the prestigious Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal, Canada. He also just recorded his fifth hour-special at his home club, Comedy Works in Denver, CO. Josh does over 200 shows a year, continuing to spread laughter and break down stereotypes of people with disabilities.

His stand-up routine is in a constant state of evolution and his off-the-cuff improvisational skills guarantee that no two shows are alike.

Josh is a repeat guest on such nationally syndicated radio programs as NPR’s Talk of the Nation, The Mancow Show, and numerous podcasts including Getting Doug with High, and WTF with Mark Maron. He has been featured in numerous print publications including People Magazine and The New York Times. Josh is all over social media with over 1 million views on his YouTube clips and almost one million followers on Facebook.

Critics have said Josh is not a cerebral palsy comic; he’s a comic who happens to have cerebral palsy. However, his closest friends describe him as “a d-bag.”

Keep up with Josh:

Josh Blue at the microphone. Behind the scenes during the podcast recording.

Josh Blue. Behind the scenes during the podcast recording.

(left to right). Erik, Josh, and Jeff at the podcast recording studio.

(left to right). Erik, Josh, and Jeff at the podcast recording studio.

Behind the scenes during the podcast recording (Jeff Evans and Erik Weihenmayer).

Behind the scenes during the podcast recording (Jeff Evans and Erik Weihenmayer).


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Episode Transcript

Jeff Evans: Hey listeners, just a quick note profanity ahead. If you got kids nearby, consider popping in your earbuds or save this episode for later. Thanks.

Josh Blue: I always say this like, "Yeah, yeah, I got palsy, and my body works differently than other people, but I have the exact right brain for this body because I'm able to deal with what I have to deal with. And not just deal with it, but have a laugh about it, and not be pissed off or sad or upset or woe is me bullshit."

Erik Weihenmayer: It's easy to talk about the successes, but what doesn't get talked about enough is the struggle. My name is Erik Weihenmayer. I've gotten the chance to ascend Mount Everest, to climb the tallest mountain in every continent, to kayak the Grand Canyon, and I happen to be blind. It's been a struggle to live what I call a No Barriers life. To define it, to push the parameters of what it means, and part of the equation is diving into the learning process, and trying to illuminate the universal elements that exist along the way.

Erik Weihenmayer: In that unexplored terrain between those dark places we find ourselves in, in the summit exists a map. That map, that way forward, is what we call No Barriers.

Jeff Evans: Following his groundbreaking win on NBC's Last Comic Standing in 2006, Josh Blue has risen through the ranks to become a well-established headliner in venues throughout the world. His story's been featured on Fox, CBS, ABC, MSNBC and CNN. He was the first comedian to perform stand-up on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, was named best winning reality show guest on Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, and made standout appearances on Comics Unleashed.

Jeff Evans: Recently Josh crushed his set on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, and was honored with a performance at The William H. Macy Gala at the prestigious Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal, Canada. He also just recorded his fifth hour special at his home club Comedy Works in Denver, Colorado. Josh does over 200 shows a year, continuing to spread laughter and break down stereotypes of people with disabilities. His stand-up routine is in a constant state of evolution, and his off the cuff improvisational skills guarantee that no two shows are alike.

Jeff Evans: Critics have said, "Josh is not a cerebral palsy comic. He's a comic who happens to have cerebral palsy." However, his closes friends still describe him as a D-bag.

Erik Weihenmayer: You know it's just good to dive into people's stories, but also no barriers, right? Obviously, the barriers people have broken through, and you've obviously broken through amazing barriers and you're crushing it. You never are this, but we don't like to be a motivational poster. I love real stuff and what people have really learned along the way and done.

Josh Blue: That's awesome man.

Jeff Evans: I know that you don't try to be a motivational guy, because I remember the first time I heard you, I was in the crowd at the summit the first year you were there. What year was that?

Erik Weihenmayer: Yeah, you entertained us two years at the No Barriers Summit-

Jeff Evans: The first one was maybe-

Erik Weihenmayer: We were honored that you were there both times man. It was-

Jeff Evans: Was it Park City?

Josh Blue: I was honored too man. It's so fun man.

Jeff Evans: Was it Utah?

Josh Blue: I think I did the Park City and then I did the one... Was it Breckenridge?

Erik Weihenmayer: In Winter Park.

Josh Blue: Oh, winter Park, yeah.

Jeff Evans: Yeah, so I remember Park City, and I remember being in the audience. You were just irreverent as hell, and I was literally sitting in the back, cackling laughing. And then there was a few people who we're like, "Whoa. [crosstalk 00:04:06]."

Erik Weihenmayer: Well, yeah. You're always probably going to have those guys, right? A couple people squirming.

Jeff Evans: Yeah, but at the summit though, you want to make people squirm a little bit.

Josh Blue: Yeah. Well, those are the people that need to hear it the most.

Jeff Evans: That's right.

Josh Blue: If you're not squirming, you're not learning.

Erik Weihenmayer: Well, what I loved-

Jeff Evans: What a bumper sticker.

Erik Weihenmayer: So, just like I'll reveal something, when you came to that first No Barriers, see I always thought you had to express this No Barriers idea with speeches about motivation. And when you came out to the summit there was also this guy named Mark Goffeney who, he had no arms, and he freaking drove his way from California to Colorado. And he took off his shoes and he plugged his amps all in with his feet, and he started rocking out. Remember that guy?

Josh Blue: That dudes badass, yeah.

Erik Weihenmayer: And then you came out-

Jeff Evans: Playing guitar.

Erik Weihenmayer: Playing guitar, but not like-

Josh Blue: Yeah, playing guitar with his feet.

Erik Weihenmayer: Not a little bit, like-

Jeff Evans: Killing it.

Erik Weihenmayer: Not strumming.

Josh Blue: Shredding it bro. Shredding it.

Erik Weihenmayer: Shredding it, right?

Jeff Evans: I remember that guy.

Josh Blue: Yeah.

Erik Weihenmayer: And then you came out, and you lifted everyone. You elevated people, and you did-

Jeff Evans: And you did it in an irreverent way.

Josh Blue: Right.

Erik Weihenmayer: You did it in an irreverent way, but you did it in this way that everyone connected with. Everyone in the audience connected except the few people squirming and learning, I guess.

Jeff Evans: I think they connected too.

Josh Blue: I they connected too. That's the beautiful thing about it. It makes them uncomfortable, but not too far where you can't enjoy the funny side of it.

Erik Weihenmayer: But it was my first... You helped me grow because I said this No Barriers thing, you don't have to express it through speeches. You can do it through music, you can do it through humor, through irreverency. There's a million ways to express this thing. And so, for me that was a huge game changer in the way we run No Barriers now, because the last thing I want to hear is a motivational person. I want to hear the real stuff.

Josh Blue: Well yeah, I just think that motivational shit doesn't work. I mean, you can, "Oh, this is my story and pay attention." Nobody gives a fuck, they really don't. At the moment it's cool, but I swear, I'd much rather... My thing is I always say, "Sure you take a lot from my show, but you almost don't even realize that you're learning anything because you're just laughing the whole time."

Jeff Evans: Do you create humor with a double narrative in the background? Or do you just assume that, that's going to be part of it, that learning process you're talking about? Do you write jokes so that you somehow will subtly influence people?

Josh Blue: Some of them. Some jokes-

Jeff Evans: You do?

Josh Blue: ... with that intention, but ultimately my goal is just being as funny as possible.

Jeff Evans: So, if it happens, it happens?

Josh Blue: Right, but then ultimately I find what makes people laugh the hardest is the realest shit, and the stuff that really jars them to go, "Oh, I do think of that this way, or I do underestimate a disabled person when I see them just because that's what I was taught to do." Meanwhile, I'm going through your pockets and trying to fuck your girlfriend.

Erik Weihenmayer: Exactly. So, the way you do comedy is really... The many times I've heard you it's amazing because you're just talking about your life and funny shit that happens along the way.

Josh Blue: Right. Well, a lot of it is just based in reality of just all the random shit that's happened to me day-to-day. I just go outside and it writes itself. And then finding the way to bring that to stage and make it accessible to everyone in a way that they can relate to in their own personal story.

Jeff Evans: In a succinct way too, right?

Josh Blue: Right. In as few words as possible. A joke is just a story with all the fat taken out of it. Zero fat, and my jokes, that's my ultimate goal is just like set it up, knock it down. Here comes another one.

Erik Weihenmayer: How'd you figure out that blend, you know what I mean? Because I remember hearing this blind comic one time, and all he did was blind jokes, but they were gimmicky blind jokes like, "Good to see you out there." It felt so goofy, and then-

Jeff Evans: You use that same one all the time.

Erik Weihenmayer: All right, but I'm goofy, I'm not a comedian.

Josh Blue: Right, he can get away with-

Erik Weihenmayer: Yeah, exactly. But the way you do it is so... You're laughing and it's so authentic, you know what I mean? The stuff you talk about, the way you make people laugh. You nailed the balance.

Josh Blue: Yeah, again, I'm telling you things that I think are funny. I'm telling you my perspective and just my take on it. I always say this like, "Yeah, yeah, I got palsy, and my body works differently than other people, but I have the exact right brain for this body because I'm able to deal with what I have to deal with. And not just deal with it, but have a laugh about it, and not be pissed off or sad or upset or woe is me bullshit."

Jeff Evans: Do you feel like in part that, that came out of you as a way to manage or from a defense mechanism emotionally in any way or no?

Josh Blue: Sure, I've had that question before, and I think it's definitely something that is a logical explanation of why. But I've always been funny, ever since I was a little kid my friends would be pissing their pants, and they'd get in trouble because I made them laugh too hard. This was the gift I had, but then obviously there was evolution to figuring it out. And then as you get older and junior high and you start figuring, "Oh, I can use this to my advantage and I could... "

Josh Blue: And then high school is like I was friends with everybody. There was very few bullies to me because I'd verbally fuck them up in front of everybody, and everyone would laugh at them. And they're like, "I don't want that crippled kid to make fun of me again."

Jeff Evans: Yeah, nobody wanted to joust with you.

Josh Blue: Right, yeah.

Jeff Evans: And let's just say as far as your dude play with the ladies, it worked, right?

Josh Blue: Yeah, that sort of thing there's a lot of angst involved in high school, but that's anybody because nobody wants to be different in high school. I was obviously different, I was making it okay in that way, but to step out and like, "Oh, you're actually dating the dude?" But then I got to college and everything changed. It was like, "Oh yeah, different is good." Definitely had a good time in college.

Jeff Evans: Did all right?

Josh Blue: Yeah, it was fun.

Erik Weihenmayer: When did you decide that you were going to do this professionally?

Josh Blue: Be a player or what?

Erik Weihenmayer: Yeah, exactly.

Josh Blue: Oh, sorry.

Jeff Evans: That's what he was asking.

Josh Blue: No, I actually started studying stand-up in college. I went to a really liberal arts hippie college in Olympia, Washington called Evergreen State College.

Jeff Evans: Evergreen. Yeah, yeah.

Josh Blue: Yeah. So, there you can create your own courses, so I actually studied stand-up my senior year, and pretty cool. I always say this, I'm one of the only people I know that's actually working in the field they've studied in.

Erik Weihenmayer: And did you go out and test it out in the beginning?

Josh Blue: So, basically the idea was I would study all the greats. So, it was a lot of renting Richard Pryor VHS-

Jeff Evans: VHS [crosstalk 00:12:28].

Josh Blue: Getting high and fucking watching it. But it's different when you watch a stand-up not to just laugh, but to pick it apart. Oh, look at how he stood when he delivered that. Look at the timing, look at the silence. Look at the lack of silence. Look at the pausing. To study stand-up that way is definitely an interesting thing. I will say it has really fucked up my ability to watch stand-up now because I can't really just enjoy it. I'm constantly like, "Where are they going with this? What are they doing?"

Josh Blue: So, then I did that, and then part of my curriculum that I said I would do is I'd get a weekly show and start performing. So, basically, I found a band that was playing in a coffee shop every Tuesday.

Jeff Evans: This is very Evergreen.

Josh Blue: Yeah, yeah, and then they had two bands, so they wanted me to do the middle spot between the bands, like a 10-minute while they changed out. And then the first week I went it was packed out. I did my set, and then everybody left for the band that it was their thing. And then that happened again the next week, and then the owner was like, "Everybody's clearly just here to see you, and so you need your own night." So, he gave me the Josh Blue hour every Wednesday, and I don't know, I packed it out every week. And I was doing a new hour every week.

Erik Weihenmayer: Oh my gosh.

Jeff Evans: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Whoa.

Josh Blue: Which is not a thing anyone should possibly try to do. I just didn't know that's not what you did. Finally, someone was like, "You know, I was a comic for a while. You kind of got to say the same jokes again, and do them until they get better." I was like, "Oh, okay."

Erik Weihenmayer: You were doing new material every week.

Josh Blue: Every week, I did eight weeks of that.

Jeff Evans: But that's when you said, "This could be my jam going forward professionally."

Josh Blue: Yeah, it was weird to see a thing... I don't know, I was the... Evergreen doesn't have a big man on campus, but I was the dude that everybody knew. I was the dude with the soccer ball. I went everywhere with a soccer ball, kicking it everywhere, playing with everybody. Social experiments, just waiting on the main square and just juggling the ball, and then people would come, and they'd join the circle and play. Or if somebody's walking by, too much in their head, you kick it to their feet and get them out of it like, "Hey, come play with us."

Josh Blue: To watch people... And then the next day they walk by they'll either come or they'll avoid the whole thing. You're like, "I see you."

Erik Weihenmayer: Was your comedy different back then? If you could hear yourself back then, how would it sound?

Josh Blue: I would gouge my eyes out.

Jeff Evans: Is it recorded? Can you?

Josh Blue: Yeah, there's some VHS of it. It's brutal. I'm sitting at a table, I'm not even standing up, and it was just because I had to fill the time, just a very storyteller style. So, just telling stories about being a camp counselor. I was a counselor for four years in Minnesota at this camp for inner city youth. It was a real primitive camp like no electricity, and then we'd do these three-day canoe trips where I'd be in charge with another person on the river like, "Bye. Hopefully we'll see you at camp."

Josh Blue: But then just all the stories were like these inner-city kids getting... "You want me to get on the boat with that man? I'm not getting on the river with that dude." And just all these stories and adventures there. And then Africa, I was born in Cameroon, and lived in Senegal when I was 15. I went back to Senegal in college through Evergreen, again, another course. I did an internship at a zoo in Dakar, and told a bunch of Africa zoo stories, like the white man zookeeper.

Jeff Evans: Well, that's a little... So, you weren't really doing stand-up then per se, literally or figuratively, but you were just throwing material out and you were like, "This could be better."

Josh Blue: Yeah. Well, obviously yeah. I didn't even know how bad it was, but the thing is people-

Erik Weihenmayer: But that's the beauty of it. If you did know you might have been intimidated.

Josh Blue: Right, I wouldn't have-

Erik Weihenmayer: There's a beauty in just being fresh and new and not knowing everything.

Josh Blue: Right, but the crazy thing is it was still fill up... People came every fucking week, it filled up. So, it wasn't as bad as... Again, it's terrible to watch now, but at the time among your-

Erik Weihenmayer: Part of your evolution.

Josh Blue: Among your peers that are the same age as you, you know what I mean? You're not-

Jeff Evans: You're an artist, right?

Josh Blue: Yeah.

Jeff Evans: You consider yourself an artist, and you do different modalities too other than comedy? Do you do other art?

Josh Blue: Yeah, I do painting, I do-

Jeff Evans: You have that artistic mind.

Josh Blue: Yeah, I do wood carving, like big old totems and African masks.

Jeff Evans: So, as an artist, I think every artist has to take chances, right? And then what happens with you and you write material and you test it out nowadays. I'm not talking early on, but nowadays you write content and you throw it out to a room; can you tell when an audience really is digging humor and whether that's a keeper or whether that's a throwaway as soon as it leaves your mouth?

Josh Blue: Definitely, yeah.

Jeff Evans: Yeah?

Josh Blue: So, I've never written anything down. I just go up and I'm like, "Okay."

Erik Weihenmayer: You said that when you were in front of us last time, and I was like, "He's got to be lying."

Josh Blue: No, I've never written any of this shit down.

Jeff Evans: Hold on a second, so you were creating all that content, all that material week after week and none of it's written down at all?

Josh Blue: No. No.

Jeff Evans: Do you have the ability to pull that out? You could still pull out those jokes from 10 years ago or whatever?

Josh Blue: I'd have to watch my special to get a refresher.

Jeff Evans: But maybe. It sits in there somewhere.

Josh Blue: Yeah, they're somewhere.

Jeff Evans: So, you don't document any of it.

Josh Blue: I'm about to release my fifth hour special this year. I've never written any of it down. So, by that rationale the way I write is I'll have an idea and then I'll just bring it to stage. I mean, I do over 200 shows a year, so most people have to go to work on a new joke at a open mic or something. Whereas, I'm like I'm doing five hours a week of shows. I just put in the new thing in the middle or something, just to see if it works.

Josh Blue: And then if it gets a laugh, there's a couple different, to your question, it comes out, it gets a big laugh. You're like, "Oh yeah, that's a winner." Or it comes out, it kind of gets a laugh, and you're like, "Okay, I'll try it again tomorrow, say it differently." So, I go and say it differently, and then it slowly evolves. In that way, like I did that this weekend with a story about my girlfriend. We were driving somewhere, and my girlfriend's the sweetest person, never mad about anything, but she was pissed for some reason.

Josh Blue: So, she's venting and then we drive by this couple, and they were super beautiful, dressed up so nice. And then she goes, "And they look beautiful, and we look like shit." I was like, "We do? This is what I look like all the time."

Jeff Evans: That's an indictment. Yeah, so-

Josh Blue: So, it worked, but it's not there yet. You can see how that's funny, but I've got to find a way to make it so tight it'll-

Erik Weihenmayer: If you embed it in a bunch of other stuff that you know is perfect, right?

Josh Blue: The key is what I'm finding is with that joke I said, "I do?" And then people felt bad that she was saying that I look bad. Whereas like, "We do," puts it on us. It's a lot of little even words of it-

Jeff Evans: Optics.

Josh Blue: You have to figure out how to make them not feel bad, but see the humor. Make her still look good.

Jeff Evans: Because me as an audience member I want you to talk poorly about yourself more than talk poorly about her. I want to look at her in a positive light.

Josh Blue: Right.

Jeff Evans: I see what you're saying.

Josh Blue: You always want to throw yourself under the bus, as opposed to making someone-

Jeff Evans: You should take notes.

Josh Blue: But if you make fun of yourself enough, then it opens the door to then be able to kick the old man down a flight of stairs if you want to. Whatever, you just pick the... So, by me showing them that I don't take this shit seriously then I can then bring others into it, and I think that's where the education part comes in because all of a sudden I'm pointing it out to you where you're like, "Oh fuck, I am that guy."

Jeff Evans: "Turns out I'm that guy."

Josh Blue: Yeah.

Jeff Evans: Yeah.

Erik Weihenmayer: So, when you were a camp counselor, right? So, these inner-city kids show up and you got CP. I lead these No Barriers trips and I show up and they're like, "You're blind." So, I kind of relate. Did you have to explain yourself? You have to at first get it out of the way. And you said this up on stage, you're like, the reason I make some of these jokes is because the audience is probably wondering, "Does he know?"

Josh Blue: "Does he know he sounds like that?"

Erik Weihenmayer: I think that, I mean, I'm totally hideously messing up your joke, but when these kids show up you have to learn to explain yourself proactively and get it out of the way so that everyone's cool, right?

Josh Blue: Well, what's funny is I went the opposite way and I was like just go make them even more scared.

Jeff Evans: Like what?

Josh Blue: Well, they would all come in get off the bus, and then you go to the circle and you pass the paddle around and introduce yourself, and I'll be like, "My name's Chopsaw." And I'm just like, "I'm in crew B, and I can't wait to meet you." And they're like, "Holy fuck, I don't want to be in crew B, I know that much." And then when they get to you and then you're nice and not that, they're like, "Thank God, he was just fucking around." So, then it leaves the door open to still do that kind of shit where like, "I'm going to listen to this dude because he's obviously a psychopath."

Jeff Evans: He could go either way, any moment so I need to be more attentive.

Josh Blue: But again, it would be three-day canoe trips, two nights. It was back before cellphones, so it'd just be like, "Okay, good luck." I can't even take care of myself, why am I in charge of these kids? We did have a incident where a girl got hypothermia. It was a nice hot day, she fell in the river with her sweat suit on, and then left it on, and then the sun went down, and it just gave her the chills. And she got hypothermia and my fellow camp counselor and I were reading the... It's like, "Chills, losing consciousness, death." And we're like, "Death?" And we're both like, "What the fuck are we going to do?"

Josh Blue: So, I just ran off into the woods, just ran and found a house two miles into the woods. Just had to find somewhere-

Erik Weihenmayer: Someone to help?

Josh Blue: I called a-

Jeff Evans: Oh, I thought you were just running away from situation.

Josh Blue: Oh, yeah-

Jeff Evans: You're like [crosstalk 00:25:07]-

Erik Weihenmayer: "I'm out of here."

Jeff Evans: "This is too much happening, I'm gone."

Josh Blue: "Oh, I'll dig the hole."

Jeff Evans: You went and got a shovel; you came back with a shovel.

Josh Blue: Okay.

Jeff Evans: Perfect.

Josh Blue: Ready, ready.

Jeff Evans: No, but then you realized your camp counselor and the remedy for hypothermia is you've got to get them buck naked. And you're like, "Now what do I do? Because this is very inappropriate. I don't think this was in the sign off."

Josh Blue: Yeah, so it was a girls' week, and my fellow camp counselor was female. So, I was like, "You do that part, I'll run off into the woods."

Jeff Evans: It was good you left. Yeah, you went into the woods. It was probably the best play.

Erik Weihenmayer: I was a camp counselor as well, and one time I left a kid in the McDonald's bathroom.

Josh Blue: Oh, good.

Erik Weihenmayer: We got on the bus, I didn't do the count, and we get back to camp, and I didn't even notice he was gone ever. Somebody told me later like, "Yeah, he found his way back."

Josh Blue: [inaudible 00:26:02].

Jeff Evans: That was your camp counselor stint.

Erik Weihenmayer: That was my last camp counselor leadership opportunity.

Josh Blue: That's hilarious. That's funny. Well, maybe don't have the blind guy doing the count either.

Erik Weihenmayer: And then when I heard you as well, some lady goes to the bathroom, and you were like, "Let's all wait and check it out." Is that stuff ad-libbed, or do you always have somebody leave for the bathroom?

Josh Blue: Oh, the show so you're saying... So, basically somebody during my show got up and left, and I was like, "I'll just wait for you to come back, and then I do." And it's like-

Erik Weihenmayer: And it's like an Andy Kaufman kind of thing. My buddy told me, he was sitting next to me, and he's like, saying your facial expressions, and that's lost on me. But he was trying to describe. He said you got the facial expressions, and the eyes all so funny. Is that just natural?

Josh Blue: I mean, that's one that I've done a bunch, but that is one too that took me a long time to actually wait. I'd get halfway through and be like, "Oh." But now I can-

Jeff Evans: You really wait it out.

Josh Blue: I wait the whole time, and it's like-

Erik Weihenmayer: It's funny.

Josh Blue: You heard, it's like they laugh when you say it, and then waiting. And then everyone's like, "Is he really doing this?" And then-

Jeff Evans: Yeah, yeah. It becomes uncomfortable, but then it becomes funny.

Erik Weihenmayer: It's uncomfortably funny.

Jeff Evans: Yeah.

Josh Blue: Right. And then it just up and down... Although, one time I did that and the woman never came back. Just-

Erik Weihenmayer: I think that might have been our show. The show I saw.

Josh Blue: Oh, was it?

Erik Weihenmayer: Yes, she never came back.

Josh Blue: Oh, yeah. That's-

Jeff Evans: At some point you've just got to break it then.

Josh Blue: Yeah, you've got to, "Well, I guess she died. I don't know."

Jeff Evans: Well, you've got kids, right?

Josh Blue: I do, yeah. Two kids, my son Simon is 11, and Seika is nine.

Jeff Evans: 11 and nine.

Josh Blue: Yup.

Jeff Evans: Do they laugh at you?

Josh Blue: Not necessarily in the right ways, but yes.

Jeff Evans: Erik and I commiserate with our kids, because we feel like out in the regular world, we can make people laugh a little bit and engage them and our kids could give a shit about anything we say or do.

Josh Blue: Right. Well, yeah. No, it's true. Same for me. It's interesting though because I was like comedy radio here in Denver, Comedy 103 or whatever.

Erik Weihenmayer: Yeah, I've heard you on there.

Josh Blue: Yeah, and that's my son's favorite station. So, I was like he gets to hear my material, and he thinks that's funny. It's cool his friends at school like, "I heard your dad on the radio." It's a pretty cool thing to have a radio station dedicated just to comedy. It's like having your song on the radio.

Erik Weihenmayer: Yeah, so your kids are like, "That guy's cool."

Josh Blue: Right.

Erik Weihenmayer: So as a parent I relate to this. I remember wanting to play games with my kids, and I was like, "I can't play catch with my son." I'll try to play soccer, and I remember I wrapped up a soccer ball with a plastic bag, and I was playing soccer with my daughter, so I could hear it crinkling as it rolled. And I just went to kick the ball, and I missed the ball, and I kicked my five-year-old daughter in the knees.

Josh Blue: Nice.

Erik Weihenmayer: And she was like, "Dad." And I just... It's one of those moments where you're like-

Josh Blue: Okay.

Erik Weihenmayer: Yeah like, "Oh man." And I don't know how to turn things into comedy, I was fucking crying almost.

Josh Blue: Right. Yeah, yeah.

Erik Weihenmayer: What's it like, you know what I mean? For your situation as a parent.

Josh Blue: Well, I played on the Paralympic soccer team.

Erik Weihenmayer: Yup.

Jeff Evans: How many goals did you score?

Erik Weihenmayer: He knows the answer already because we read your bio.

Josh Blue: Uh-huh (affirmative).

Erik Weihenmayer: Oh, and in the Olympics, when you were in the finals.

Josh Blue: Oh, in the Olympics.

Jeff Evans: Oh, in the Olympic team, yeah.

Josh Blue: Yeah, yeah. I thought you meant in my career.

Erik Weihenmayer: In your whole career, yeah, yeah. Start with that.

Jeff Evans: In your career you've knocked in a few.

Josh Blue: I think I did 13 [crosstalk 00:30:00].

Jeff Evans: All right, all right. In your career. Sorry, I was going off the Olympics.

Josh Blue: No, the Olympics we didn't score shit.

Jeff Evans: Way to represent.

Josh Blue: Yeah, obviously there are some things I wish I could do with my kids, but for the most part I'm still getting on the trampoline and jumping with them and doing all that stuff. My daughter does ballet, and it's so fucking boring. It's really not entertaining.

Jeff Evans: No. Not to watch, not to do, but she loves it.

Josh Blue: Heck yes.

Erik Weihenmayer: And you show up.

Josh Blue: Yeah, when I-

Erik Weihenmayer: When you're not on the road.

Josh Blue: When I have to, yeah.

Jeff Evans: That's honest.

Josh Blue: Yeah, it's true. I don't give a shit. It's boring. How about some soccer?

Jeff Evans: Or some [BJ Jerry 00:30:53] or some martial arts or something.

Josh Blue: Yeah, my son does Taekwondo, and that's a little more entertaining to watch, but not much. Maybe I'm just a bad parent, I don't know.

Jeff Evans: What if your boy who obviously has shown a propensity for comedy, what if he were to get into the family industry?

Josh Blue: I mean, I don't have anything against that. I honestly think my daughter has much better timing than him, but besides that-

Erik Weihenmayer: Is she thinking about it?

Josh Blue: I think she's thought about it. She's funny, she's just naturally funny. Whereas my boy tries to be funny, she's a natural. And he's funny too, it's just a different level of... There's natural comics, and there's comics that have to work at it.

Jeff Evans: Mm-hmm (affirmative), where would you put you in that?

Josh Blue: Unfortunately, in a natural, which is like I said, there's not too many people that don't write it down. I don't think Chappelle writes anything down, I don't think. But then there's like a George Carlin who wrote everything down meticulously. So, it's like a different way of doing it, but it's-

Erik Weihenmayer: So, back to comedy. You talked a lot about the crazy things, the first time I heard you, all of the times, but the first time I remember it making the biggest impression. All the crazy stuff that happens to you as somebody with a disability. But the way you told the stories were just connecting, and I know you said earlier that you're just trying to be funny, but a byproduct is that I walked out of that room not only having laughed, but I felt elevated. I felt like this guy's talking to me. So, is that just a byproduct?

Josh Blue: I feel like it is a byproduct, I mean, again, there's certain jokes I'll think about, "Okay, how does this affect the overall education of the world?" I don't ever want to put anything out there that's going to have a disabled community step backward. I'm only trying to push forward this narrative of like, "Wow, I never thought of it that way, and now I do." So, I feel like it is a byproduct of it though because I'm not... Like I said, I don't write this down. I always said, "If I ever wrote this down, I might be really good at this. If I gave shit maybe I'd be better." But I get standing ovations, and it's like-

Jeff Evans: Yeah, don't change what's not busted.

Josh Blue: Right, that's what I'm saying, that's where the joke is. It's like since I'm already doing-

Erik Weihenmayer: Have you ever pissed off a community? As a comedian you're always trying to push the envelope, right? And if you don't write things down, you're trying new things out, have you ever stepped over the line and just totally pissed off a group of blind people?

Josh Blue: Sure. Usually one at a time, but what I've come to find is that if anybody has a problem with what I'm saying, hasn't happened a lot, but when it does it's like, "I have a friend in a wheelchair, and I take offense to what you're saying." And I'm like, "Why don't you ask your friend in the wheelchair how they feel about this, because I'm pretty sure I'm speaking right to them about it."

Josh Blue: I guess, as far as a community that I've consciously tried to not offend is the mentally disabled community. I used to use the word retarded or retard in my show, and I just found that it was upsetting enough to enough people for me to go, "Okay, I shouldn't use that." And again, I would never use it to step us back, but just the word itself was-

Jeff Evans: It had its connotations, yeah?

Josh Blue: Right.

Jeff Evans: Yeah.

Josh Blue: And I do have a joke where I use that word now, but it's in a way that... It's hard to explain it. Did I do it when you-

Erik Weihenmayer: It's a different... I think I've heard it. I feel like I've heard it maybe.

Jeff Evans: I think I might have too, because there was a couple like, "Whoa, all right."

Erik Weihenmayer: But you're kind of addressing it.

Josh Blue: Well, basically I say... Just try to say it.

Jeff Evans: Let's just go ahead and do it.

Erik Weihenmayer: Yeah, just do it. Just go for it.

Jeff Evans: Let's just do it.

Josh Blue: So, I say, "You guys are going to be mad as hell in 10 years when you find out I don't have cerebral palsy." And the crowd's like, "Oh, oh."

Erik Weihenmayer: I remember, yeah.

Josh Blue: And then I was like, "Yeah, that would make national news, right? Josh Blue doesn't have cerebral palsy. There would just be a collective, America collectively go, 'This motherfucker. See, I told you he was too funny to be a tard.'"

Jeff Evans: A tard, yeah.

Josh Blue: And then it gets a laugh, but a groan. And I go, "Oh, don't you dare get mad at me. You said that."

Jeff Evans: Yeah, you said it, I didn't say it.

Erik Weihenmayer: Yeah, you did say that.

Josh Blue: About me, and that's hurtful. So, it's putting it on them as opposed to... And I feel like it's still very abrasive, and very punch in the face, but all of a sudden, you're like, "I am that asshole."

Jeff Evans: Because part of what you're doing is you're disarming and desensitizing and almost putting a mirror up to a certain extent. You're asking people to look at how they perceive disability. Is that accurate?

Josh Blue: Yeah, so my friend Jenny in college actually said this, and it wasn't about my stand-up because I wasn't really doing stand-up. She goes, "What you do is like reverse teasing. Whereas everybody thinks you're making fun of yourself, but really, you're making fun of them." So, it's like that weird... That's right, so disarming I think is because you think I'm making fun of myself, but really I just want you to acknowledge that you're laughing at this because you have that thought already.

Jeff Evans: Perfect. Yeah.

Erik Weihenmayer: So, you're crushing it now, but when you did Last Comic Standing, you were closer to the beginning of your career, you were like... You're still a pioneer, but you've opened a lot of doors for people. But back then it must have been more scary. You were stepping farther out of the box a while back. Were you ever afraid? You'd say, "I don't give a shit." But were you ever afraid, or just like, "Oh man, am I doing the right thing here?"

Josh Blue: No, I think it was always... I mean, there's always going to be questions in any career of what you're doing or why you're doing it or if you should still be doing it. But I feel like it was at such a high velocity and fast pace, just like rocket ship that I was on, I didn't really have any time to think about that sort of thing. Just because last comic was set to be, I think, 10 or 11 episodes. And their ratings were so good they just kept dragging the show on so people would keep watching.

Jeff Evans: And you were along for the ride.

Josh Blue: And I was along for the ride, and it was like rocket ship. Because it was like I was already booked pretty solid before I got on that show, and then all of a sudden, I'm on the show and people are like, "We want him next week." So, I'd be in Long Beach filming, leave for three days, do shows, come back and film the next episode, and then sell out these shows, and then come back. And then it's just like... Honestly, it's been like that since 2006. Obviously, not doing the filming part, but I'm on a plane every four days.

Jeff Evans: So, how often now do you feel the social media or just straight up inquiries of people who say, "Josh, you're my hero bro. I was living a very, very dark life, and thank you for shedding light." I'm sure that happens.

Josh Blue: Yeah, man. So, I respond to everything. I have messages on my Facebook and on Instagram, and I answer all those myself.

Jeff Evans: And that does happen, right?

Josh Blue: Oh yeah, for sure. There's a whole bit about that too where it's just like people will say the most insane things. I mean, I don't know how many times I've had like, "I had a gun to my mouth, and I turned on comedy for one last try, and you made me not do it." And I was like, "Okay. Well, fuck. Thanks for telling me that."

Erik Weihenmayer: That's a lot of pressure.

Josh Blue: Yeah, what am I supposed to do with that? Go be funny. So, I get probably three of those a month, things like that, or like, "My dad was dying of cancer. We watched your stuff together. Thank you for making him laugh." Like, "Ugh, good Christ."

Jeff Evans: That's good shit. That's good shit.

Josh Blue: It's cool, but it's also just another byproduct of this, you know what I mean? I didn't go out there to do that, and it's taken me a long time to embrace that because, again, that's a lot of weight on a pothead's shoulders.

Jeff Evans: But you do dig it now though, right? I mean, you're into it. You know you're changing lives, even though it is a byproduct, I get it, but-

Josh Blue: Yeah. No, I wouldn't say dig it, but I get it and I understand it and I'm able to process it in a way where I don't just delete them.

Erik Weihenmayer: And with CP you probably don't want to get pigeonholed. So, if you come to a No Barriers event where there's a lot of people with different kinds of challenges, do you like that or do you like being in the mainstream? You know what I mean?

Josh Blue: Well, I mean, I don't know-

Erik Weihenmayer: Every disability group under the sun probably wants you to come and connect with their group.

Josh Blue: Sure, and that's the amazing thing is that I've kind of... I won't say become the poster child of, but it's that sort of thing of I'm not just representing palsy, I'm representing all of us. Which is, again, a weird position to be in giving a voice. And again, that's why I always said I don't ever want to put us in a light that makes us look bad, that's why I never say anything.

Jeff Evans: Yeah, you didn't ask for that role.

Josh Blue: Right.

Jeff Evans: You did, right? You just liked comedy. You're a funny dude, you just happened to have palsy. But so, you've been pushed into this role, like it or not.

Josh Blue: Well, and the other hard part is I am kind of pigeonholed, I am... The industry, I'll just be real, if any other able-bodied comic was selling out shows the way I do all over the country, they'd have heat all over them to do something. Whereas, they don't give me the time of day in LA. So, I'll give you an example. I did the Montreal comedy festival.

Erik Weihenmayer: Yeah, that's huge.

Josh Blue: Huge, right? I did that last year, first time in my career. Whereas, anyone else that was doing what I was doing would have been the face of that those years. Like Last Comic, I would have been their shining star. So, they didn't do it forever, then I finally was like put my foot down, and I told my agent, I'm like, "I'll have to move on if you can't get me on this." So, they pulled a bunch of strings, made them do it. I was like, "So, why did this take so long?" I asked them that. And they said, this was their feedback, they said, "We just don't know where he would fit into this festival."

Jeff Evans: What is that code for?

Erik Weihenmayer: Yeah.

Josh Blue: Right, so that's just saying I guess it's basically like they only see me as a disabled comic that talks about disabled topics. Again, I get that a lot, "Oh, he talks too much about palsy." But you'd never say that to a black comic about talking about their life or a woman or a fat person making fat jokes. This is the only thing that for some reason when I mention it, it's too much. Because you saw the show. Well, you didn't see it, but you heard the show.

Erik Weihenmayer: I smelled the show.

Josh Blue: You smelled the show and man musk.

Jeff Evans: Your brand just permeates.

Erik Weihenmayer: The way you fit in, you're a comedian who crushes it.

Josh Blue: Right, and crushes it hard. So, that got my blood boiling, right? So, then I'm at the festival, I'm doing this William H. Macy Gala big old show, and I'm in the middle. William H. Macy comes out and he goes, "This is my favorite comic of the night." Introduces me, I murder that thing. I had that blood boiling rage like, "I'll show you why I'm fucking here, and this is where I fucking fit in."

Jeff Evans: "I belong here."

Josh Blue: Right, and I got a standing ovation on a seven-minute set. And I came off stage, big wigs from the festival comes up, pats me on the head and goes, "You're so courageous." And I about punched an old man in the face. So, to me that was the moment where I was like, "Oh, okay. It's never going to happen for me that way. I'm going to have to go do this again my own way, go around all these fucks and show them this is the viewership that I have." So, it was like that thing got me mad. If I ever need to get amped up, I think about that.

Erik Weihenmayer: You think about getting pat on the head.

Josh Blue: Brraghh. But I was the only one that got a standing ovation on the show. Again, that was his genuine reaction.

Erik Weihenmayer: But that kind of thing, you said, becomes fuel, right? But in a way, it's like angry fuel. Maybe it's not the best fuel, but it is. It works.

Josh Blue: Yeah, murderous level of fuel.

Erik Weihenmayer: I was on this TV show, and it was like blind people who'd done amazing things.

Jeff Evans: Was it just one of you?

Erik Weihenmayer: No, there was seven of us, and one was blind and helped somebody out of a fire. But really, she was like two medics were carrying the person out of the fire and she was running along behind them giving directions or something. And then one lady was a... I don't know, but I hated it. I hated being on there with other blind people who had done extraordinary things. That was my pat on the head. I was just like, "I know I'm being honored right now for being extraordinary, but I hate this." And it's such a catch 22, because I was getting exposure on a TV show, and it was good for my career maybe, I don't know.

Josh Blue: Well, that's the thing is that's their level of acknowledging your success, where in fact they're undermining it. "Look at how... They were able to do something."

Jeff Evans: So, courageous.

Erik Weihenmayer: I was. I was courageous.

Josh Blue: Yeah, you still are buddy.

Jeff Evans: Oh my God. So, you'd mentioned though that because that interaction with that one douchebag, that it told you that you would have to circumvent the system and continue to do it on your own terms.

Josh Blue: Right.

Jeff Evans: What does that mean?

Josh Blue: Well, I can't wait for them. They're never going to come to me and go, "Hey, you're perfect for our thing." I have to go out and create... Okay, let's just say YouTube. I just have to blow up YouTube. So, I built a YouTube channel, I've been putting things on, and it's getting... There's millions of views on some of them. So, it's like that's the way you've got to do it now. Number one just because that's how the world is working, there are so many different like TikTok and Instagram and this and that.

Josh Blue: But I think this YouTube thing is my new favorite way because, one, you don't need a producer, you don't need anything. You just do your own shit, put it on there, and if people like it they like it. And it's growing 100 people a day right now, subscribers, which is pretty monstrous. But again, until I have a million followers on that, that's when you start making money for sure.

Jeff Evans: You monetize it, but also you-

Erik Weihenmayer: But you have a ton of subscribers.

Jeff Evans: You also write your own ticket after that too, right? You have a lot more control.

Josh Blue: Right, right. Well, and then I can go, "Fuck you Montreal. I guess I don't need you."

Jeff Evans: "Here's your courageous."

Josh Blue: Yeah, exactly. I'll start my own festival.

Erik Weihenmayer: But it's a complex subtle formula too. As a blind climber I got attention because I'm blind guy. And so, you're talking about your life, you're working it, you know what I mean? It's funny stuff that happens to you, but there's a fine line. It's like a subtlety that you're constantly probably walking, right?

Josh Blue: Right. I mean, that's the thing about it though. Everything I talk about comes from the perspective of a guy with cerebral palsy.

Erik Weihenmayer: Yeah, that's your life.

Josh Blue: That's what I know.

Erik Weihenmayer: Yeah, and anybody would do that. Any comic would... That's what you do, right? You take shit in your life and you work it.

Josh Blue: Right, and you talk about what you know. So, let's just face it. Why is it not okay to talk about palsy, right? So, I think about, there's not too much taboo shit left in the world. A lot of stuff has been conquered. Disability is still one of those ones where people are so uncomfortable, so awkward, just don't even know what to do with it. They don't know how to talk to you. I mean, I'm sure you had that.

Erik Weihenmayer: Yeah.

Josh Blue: "Can you hear me?" I'm fucking blind man, I can hear you, right? It's still just so... People are still just so uneducated about that they're afraid to even have it in their peripheral vision. I will say I've seen a lot more disabled people on TV over the last few years, try to incorporate wheelchairs and all that.

Jeff Evans: So, okay. So, then here's a life balance question. Erik and I are both on the road a fair bit too, but as I've gotten older, I don't like to be on the road that much, but you make your living on the road. So, how do you strike that personal balance between knowing that you've got to do four shows a week, but do you really have to, or do you want to be with your kids or what does that look like for you?

Josh Blue: I do feel the call of wanting to leave the biggest stain on the planet as possible.

Jeff Evans: What does that mean?

Josh Blue: Artwork, leave just like, "What was that?" "That was Josh Blue. He made these African masks, these paintings. He has nine albums." And then I feel like that side of it, it's like I do feel the pressure of educating the world. I feel I have this gift of being funny and able to deliver a message that people need to hear, and who am I to not do it if that makes sense.

Erik Weihenmayer: Yeah, it makes total sense.

Josh Blue: But trying not to kill myself too because it's a lot of work.

Jeff Evans: It's a lot of sitting in airplanes and hotel beds and shitty bar food.

Josh Blue: All that, yeah.

Erik Weihenmayer: And so, you said the world's changing, probably some for the good. You see more folks with disabilities out there doing everything, right?

Josh Blue: Yup.

Erik Weihenmayer: Have you ever taken another comic under your wing and mentored them, or maybe... I don't know, I'm no expert at all, but you see this guy on America's Got Talent. He's got some kind of disability and he's a comic. Do you take a guy like that under your wing and do anything?

Josh Blue: Yeah, I have about six or seven comics that I will take on the road with me. People that I love to work with. You probably saw the guy John Novosad.

Erik Weihenmayer: I love that guy.

Josh Blue: Yeah, yeah. He's my mentor, but he opens for me. He's been in the game way longer than I have.

Erik Weihenmayer: [Allie 00:53:40] said he looks like a homeless dude.

Josh Blue: Yeah, he looks really homeless.

Jeff Evans: But he's genuinely funny.

Erik Weihenmayer: Oh, he's so funny.

Josh Blue: He's just so funny, and he's the most consistent I know, or just like, "Okay, he's on. Let's go see him do his thing." Because you're like, "Goddamnit, that's [inaudible 00:53:57]." But then I have a bunch of young comics that I bring with me that I always... If you're funny and we get along, I want to give you the opportunity to help you further your career. So, I've been bringing this dude named Vishnu Vaka, and he's just been a delight on the road, and he's doing great. From doing that he started getting rebooked, and all this stuff. I am not one to watch your act too much. I just can't watch comedy.

Jeff Evans: Too critical of it, right?

Josh Blue: Right, right. But I'll watch five minutes at a time, and then I'll just give him, if I hear something... Again, the analyzing thing, "Have you thought of it this way?" It's really fun for me to help them develop their acts too, where you're like it's really cool. I take people that will take the chance too because a lot of people you're like, "Oh, you should change it." But like, "No, I'm not changing that."

Erik Weihenmayer: So, have you seen that, where somebody does change it to what you're thinking and it works?

Josh Blue: Yeah, it kills, and you're like, "Yeah, that's awesome." And then I've had it where they tried it and they do it [inaudible 00:55:20], and I'm the only one in the background laughing.

Jeff Evans: Because in your mind that shit's funny. Do you still get nervous at all, ever?

Josh Blue: Yeah, it just depends on the show. It depends on the circumstances.

Jeff Evans: Do you like that? A little edgy-

Erik Weihenmayer: Like if you know a lot of people in the audience does that make you more nervous?

Josh Blue: Yeah, that does make me nervous. I was honestly more nervous for No Barriers than a normal show that I would do because I'm speaking for you guys in a way, and I want to make sure that it was how you felt, you know what I mean? So, that to me is one of those ones I get a little like, "Okay, hopefully don't start a riot here." But yeah, The Tonight Show was definitely one of those ones where like, "Okay, dude."

Erik Weihenmayer: Yeah, this is it.

Jeff Evans: Don't fuck it up.

Josh Blue: Don't fuck this one up.

Erik Weihenmayer: And what's your plans for the future? What's your dreams for the future? Just more, just make that stain bigger?

Josh Blue: Yeah, I just want to keep doing that. I would like to slow down on the touring side of things. That doesn't mean not get out and do it, but go back to doing theaters as opposed to five shows in a week at a club where I could just do one big theater, which would be nice. Every show to me is like a chess match because I'm not writing it down, so it's pretty fluid. You can make moves anytime, anywhere, anything, and it's like I'm good enough at what I do where I can just be fucking around beating... You're still laughing, but it's not like I'm going to play the most polished game of chess you've ever seen.

Jeff Evans: Aah, it may be a little rough around the edges.

Josh Blue: Right, but I think that's where I do a lot of more writing too, in those moments where it is rough, and they present me with something, my retort is good enough to say again the next day.

Erik Weihenmayer: So, you've got to be on. You can't just be going out of your head.

Josh Blue: Right.

Erik Weihenmayer: It forces you to be in the chess game. Last question from me, which is... And this is a little bit esoteric, so forgive me if you're just like, "I have no idea." So, you just had a little bit of experience with our No Barriers community, but you're kind of a No Barriers dude. And so, what's your definition of No Barriers? What's your definition of a No Barriers life, of the way you want to live? What you want out of life.

Josh Blue: Sure man, I just don't want to be told that I can't do something. That's my thing, right? I love, I've always loved showing off, I guess is one way to say it, but sporting wise. When I was kid, we used to play street football, and my friends would pick me first, and then all the other kids were like, "Why are you picking the crippled guy first?" And then five touchdowns later like, "Fuck, we can't cover that kid."

Josh Blue: So, that's always been my thing. I want to show these able-bodied fucks they ain't shit. No, I'm just kidding.

Jeff Evans: No, you're not kidding. No, you're not kidding. Give me a break. You're not kidding at all.

Erik Weihenmayer: Of course not, of course it's not like that.

Josh Blue: But I do that in everything I do. Sports was really fun just because when you look at the way I move you're like there's no way that guy is going to be faster than me. And then when I juke the shit out of you, you're just like, "What just happened?" That's a new perspective that they have.

Erik Weihenmayer: That applies to the stage too, right? You get up there and you're like, "Oh boy, people are a little nervous or something," right? And you're like, "I'm going to juke you. I'm going to show you how I crush you."

Josh Blue: Right, and that is across the board. I love to do that to people, and not in a mean way. I just want you to think about your perspective that you just had, and all of a sudden, you're like, "Wait a minute, I didn't judge this right."

Jeff Evans: Mm-hmm (affirmative). That's perfect news. That's a good way to put a bow on that. You're pretty amazing man, you're fighting the good fight. I know you know it probably, but keep doing it.

Josh Blue: Fuck those barriers man.

Jeff Evans: Yeah, that's the new tagline.

Josh Blue: Right on.

Jeff Evans: You're the man. Thanks Josh, for making time for us today. You're a busy dude man, so we appreciate it.

Erik Weihenmayer: Yeah, you're so busy, so it's cool that you're all the way out here in Golden, right?

Josh Blue: Beautiful Golden.

Jeff Evans: Thank you Josh.

Erik Weihenmayer: Thanks man.

Josh Blue: For sure.

Erik Weihenmayer: All right.

Jeff Evans: Erik, you and I, it's very clear when you're around a professional comedian how unfunny that you and I really are.

Erik Weihenmayer: Oh yeah. Yeah. Oh yeah.

Jeff Evans: We just try to... That's the thing, Josh is authentically funny, in his bones. He's just purely funny, and you and I are really not that funny.

Erik Weihenmayer: No. No, so I don't even try. That's not my-

Jeff Evans: Yeah, you do.

Erik Weihenmayer: No.

Jeff Evans: You do.

Erik Weihenmayer: It's shock and awe. I just sit and appreciate.

Jeff Evans: Yeah, a true artist.

Erik Weihenmayer: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. No, I mean Josh is so cool because he has broken through barriers, and I think it's this thing that people struggle with, especially anybody with any kind of challenge, like what kind of life do I want to live? How much do I own this thing and work it and use it as my advantage, but yet not cheapen it? And so-

Josh Blue: You guys know that I'm still here, right?

Jeff Evans: No, you're not here.

Erik Weihenmayer: No, you're not here dude.

Jeff Evans: You're not here.

Josh Blue: I can hear everything you're saying right now.

Jeff Evans: You're breaking the third mirror bro, by doing this.

Josh Blue: Okay, sorry. I just wanted-

Jeff Evans: As a matter of fact, shut the fuck up over there.

Josh Blue: Okay, I'm sorry.

Jeff Evans: [crosstalk 01:01:31] back there.

Josh Blue: This feels fucking awkward.

Erik Weihenmayer: Our producer's supposed to shove cotton in your ears.

Jeff Evans: I thought you were deaf too Josh, Jesus Christ.

Josh Blue: Carry on you two non-funny motherfuckers.

Jeff Evans: All right.

Erik Weihenmayer: So, that's my takeaway. Just how to live authentically, how to crush it, how to own it. I take people squirm and get uncomfortable with themselves. It's nice to see folks who own it in a hilarious way and connect and make people feel better through humor. And when Josh came to the No Barriers Summit, I tell you I walked out laughing so hard I was crying. But because I was connecting, you know what I mean? It's a huge talent to be able to do that. You walk away laughing, but you're uplifted.

Jeff Evans: Yeah, he seems to... Josh you seem-

Erik Weihenmayer: He's still looking at us. Josh, quit looking at us.

Josh Blue: Sorry guys, I just... Can I-

Jeff Evans: Don't you have a stand-up-

Josh Blue: Can I leave?

Jeff Evans: ... you need to go do.

Josh Blue: Can I go?

Jeff Evans: Can I say my piece first?

Erik Weihenmayer: Yeah, say your piece.

Jeff Evans: Yes, thank you.

Erik Weihenmayer: He'll just look at you uncomfortably.

Jeff Evans: That's okay.

Erik Weihenmayer: Turn away.

Jeff Evans: I'm feeling so vulnerable. I think Josh has done a good job at flipping the mirror. You've done that to a certain extent, but he's done it with different tools. He's way more clever than you and a lot of people that have the ability and the platform to be able to turn the mirror and have people look at themselves. And I was very insightful where he mentioned that he's making this self-deprecating humor, but he's even got some bits in stand-up, in his routine that in a not so subtle way says, "I'm making fun of myself, but I'm making fun of you and how you look at me."

Jeff Evans: And I think that, that's pretty badass, right? That says something about the narrative that's out in the world today, and I commend him for crusading that and doing it in a funny way. With still sophisticated and intellectual. Was that happy, you good with that?

Josh Blue: I tuned you out-

Jeff Evans: You weren't listening to me, perfect. For once you weren't listening to me. Okay, good.

Erik Weihenmayer: And humor's at the top of it all.

Jeff Evans: It is.

Erik Weihenmayer: You know what I mean? Because he's not trying to be motivational or trying to... He's out there making the world laugh with his life, and I like that. I want to do that. I like to do that, make people feel comfortable and turn that mirror.

Jeff Evans: Turn the mirror.

Erik Weihenmayer: All right, thanks everyone. No barriers.

Jeff Evans: See you next time.

Josh Blue: You're welcome.

Jeff Evans: Thanks to all of you for listening to our podcast. We know that you have a lot of choices about how you can spend your time, and so we appreciate you spending it with us. If you enjoy this podcast, we encourage you to subscribe to it, share it, and give us a review. Show notes can be found at nobarrierspodcast.com. Special thanks to The Dan Ryan Band for our intro song, which is called guidance.

Jeff Evans: The production team behind this podcast includes producers Didrik Johnck and Pauline Shaffer. Sound design, editing and mixing by Tyler Kottman graphics by Sam Davis and marketing support by Megan Lee and Karly Sandsmark Thanks to all you amazing people for the great work you do.

No Barriers

No Barriers

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