Comedians often meet up with people they know in cities where they perform, but it’s doubtful that many of them have national soccer team captains waiting to welcome them.
When stand-up comic Josh Blue arrives in Raleigh on Thursday to begin a run of shows at Goodnight’s Comedy Club, he might get to kick the ball around again with Josh McKinney, a Raleigh resident and longtime US Paralympic Team captain who scored 81 goals in 124 games before retiring in 2014.
Blue, who has cerebral palsy, was a forward on the US team in the 2004 Athens Paralympics and his love of the game, which began in Cameroon — where Blue was born — has not waned much as the years have passed.
During a Wednesday afternoon phone interview, Blue said he looks forward to trips to North Carolina not only because he gets to perform at Goodnights, but also for the opportunity to reconnect with McKinney and reminisce about their Paralympic glory days.
Blue, who performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, and I also discussed the US men’s team not qualifying for the World Cup, his life in Denver with his two kids, winning Season 4 of “Last Comic Standing” and more.
Enjoy the interview, follow Blue on Twitter and don’t forget The Best Tweet I Can Find in Five Minutes at the end.
Tony Castleberry: Were you shocked by the US soccer team’s loss Monday?
Josh Blue: You’re telling me the news about them not qualifying so, I am shocked.
TC: [laughs] I’m delivering this shocking news to you then.
JB: I am shocked, but not surprised.
TC: I wasn’t that surprised either. Why do you think that is?
JB: US Soccer has never got any love or respect in the rest of the world. Sometimes when you’re treated a certain way, you’re almost expected to fulfill that role. It’s hard not to. We’ve got most of the rest of the world against us.
TC: Do you have a home club in Denver, a place where you can work out new material?
JB: Yeah, my home club is called The Comedy Works. It’s my favorite club in the country and that’s not just because I’m from there, but it’s actually one of the top three clubs in the country. I feel very fortunate that early in my career they took me under their wing and let me blossom.
TC: It’s great to not only have that early in your career, but I imagine it’s still important to have a place like that even if you’re an experienced comedian, isn’t it?
JB: It’s really grounding to go home and all the wait staff love me there and all the comics. It’s like family, you know?
To tell the truth, I do over 200 shows a year so I don’t really go to open mics to practice because I’m doing up to six shows a week. I’m practicing every show really, but it’s fun to go back. If there’s something really new, I’ll work on it there, but for the most part, I’m practicing every night.
TC: Did your joke-writing naturally gravitate toward your kids after you became a dad?
JB: Yeah, I mean, they’re just such an easy target. [interviewer laughs] They provide me with lots of material every day. I’ve got two kids and one good arm. You do the math on that one.
TC: [laughs] Hilarity is built into that, isn’t it?
JB: Yeah, for sure.
TC: Do you think you’re the best Cameroon-born comedian?
JB: Oh, hands down or…hand down.
TC: [laughs] Are there any others that you know of?
JB: I don’t know of any other Cameroonian stand-up comics with cerebral palsy. That’s for sure.
TC: You’ve got the market cornered on that one, don’t you, Josh?
JB: Yeah, I’ve got it nailed down pretty good.
TC: Do you keep in touch with any of the comics from your season of “Last Comic Standing”?
JB: I just saw two of them last week in LA — Chris Porter and Kristin Key. I talk to Chris pretty regularly. Everybody on that season was really cool and we still are amicable. Me and Chris are planning a trip to hang out soon.
TC: So you don’t just constantly throw the fact that you won in their faces? You’re not on that kind of power trip?
JB: No, I still do. [interviewer laughs] It’s in good fun. I can’t even believe that’s 11 years ago. If they can’t get over the fact that I’m better than them, then that’s fine.
Here it is, The Best Tweet I Can Find in Five Minutes:
Once again I want to thank the good folks at Delta Sky magazine for putting me in their celebrity quotes section: pic.twitter.com/LergNHprjz
— Henry Phillips (@Henlips) October 12, 2017