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Cerebral comedy 

Denver native Josh Blue rides the 'Last Comic Standing' gravy train into town

click to enlarge Josh Blue contemplates whether he should pay for a - ferry, wait for low tide or ask his family to ford the river.
  • Josh Blue contemplates whether he should pay for a ferry, wait for low tide or ask his family to ford the river.

Admittedly, I'm skeptical heading into my interview with comedian Josh Blue. Sure, he won NBC's latest "Last Comic Standing" competition, but I figured it was like being the best boxer on "The Contender." It means nothing in the real world. The right editing could make my coffee mug seem funny.

About three minutes after I get Blue on the phone, I'm convinced that he is, at least, a good guy. He speaks honestly and earnestly. He answers questions carefully and kindly.

Is he funny? I'm still not sure. But if I were writing a nice, heartwarming profile about his struggle with cerebral palsy, I'd be set.

He tells me how his disability has been an obstacle for him in his life and his career. He tells me about his time on the U.S. Paralympic soccer team. He tells me about the art he does on the side just as a release from the on-the-go lifestyle of comedy.

He tells me how busy he's been since "Last Comic Standing" ended, and how it's been such a huge boost to his career. He tells me about how much fun he had shooting his Bravo special, 7 More Days in the Tank!, at the Gothic Theatre in Denver, the city he calls home. He tells me he's in talks to develop a sitcom with NBC.

Like I said, all good quotes.

But this is a piece about his comedy show. A little humor would be nice, right? So far, there's not a particularly funny line in the bunch.

I ask him about his influences his MySpace page lists Richard Pryor, Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle. I tell him that I noticed they're all black.

"I'm just looking forward to being the next big black comedian," he says.

There's the zinger! Blue's the farthest thing from black (although he was born in Cameroon in West Africa): He's gangly, goofy-looking and, well, pretty pale. His hair is long and uncombed. His beard is scraggly. He looks like he eats granola four times a day.

I ask him if he cares to further explain.

"They just don't give a fuck," Blue says of his idols. "They're in your face and they're direct. That's what makes me different."

He starts talking about how open he is about his CP. Even before appearing on "Last Comic Standing," Blue had appeared on Carlos Mencia's Comedy Central show, "Mind of Mencia," where he would make fun of others by pointing out how superior he was to them, despite the neurological disorder that affects his muscle movement.

It's a tactic he learned as he crafted his act at open mic nights while at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash.

"It sunk in before I left college," Blue says. "I realized I have to talk about it. I can't not talk about it. I couldn't have people ask if he realizes he has cerebral palsy."

It's a routine that has hit a chord with fans. Since viewers voted him "Last Comic Standing," Blue has been playing to sold-out crowds across the country. And his schedule is booked solid through June.

Chances to go home have been few and far between. Sleeping in his own bed is part of why he's excited to perform in Colorado Springs. Another part: Last year when he performed in the Springs, it was to open for Carlos Mencia. This time, he's the headliner.

Now I'm starting to see why.

pete@csindy.com

Josh Blue

Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave.

Saturday, Jan. 13, 8 p.m.

Tickets: $26.50 to $29.50; visit ticketswest.com.

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