Monday, May 27, 2013

Josh Blue's "Sticky Change"

One might be tempted to think that Josh Blue, a physically disabled African-American (technically) who always looks homeless, would have a lot to complain about. And you might have a point. Blue doesn’t see it that way and proudly declares that even though life gave him lemonade... he drank it.

Most of Blue’s material on the new album Sticky Change deals with cerebral palsy, but how could it not? It’s not a crutch, though, used as an excuse for a series of hacky jokes about people with CP. Blue throws some jibes in his own direction and is the first to encourage laughing at one’s self, but his bits aren’t poking fun of him or his condition (something beef and barley can’t fix). Instead, he wisely focuses on his encounters with other people and believe me, he’s had some doozies.

Blue loves watching people respond to his appearance and when others assume his physical limitations also mean he’s mentally challenged, he’s more than happy to oblige. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of getting to board a plane before those in first class and when people in the park see an Asian baby in the stroller he’s pushing instead of a bucket of doorknobs (he and his Japanese wife have two kids), I wish I could see the look on their faces.

When Blue encounters another guy with cerebral palsy at the Mall of America, you might think things would go a little smoother. If only Blue were that fortunate. He’s a magnet for jacked-up circumstances and has learned that if you’re going to wander the same mall as someone else with an identical affliction, make sure you’re the one walking in front.

Living with Blue means you need to have a sense of humor and not only does he enjoy giving his wife a hard time (claiming he “got” her online), he also proudly states she is the most important thing in his life. His son has clearly inherited his Blue humor and there’s nothing quite like seeing him do an impression of his son doing an impression of him. 

I enjoyed the entire CD and especially liked the second half. Blue shares the best way to stop a gangster from feeling so tough (It’s hard to look hard when you’re opening a Popsicle wrapper) and he has a clever bit on becoming President that takes an unexpected - and very clever - left turn. The project ends with a simple request for a straw on an airplane and tailspins into an amazing tale; the humor heightened by Blue’s timing and storytelling style. 

Simultaneously cutting and inspiring, this is a project that embodies the sentiment of the classic Monty Python song, “Always Look On The Bright Side of Life.” But please, whatever you do, hand your change to Blue. Don’t throw it.

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