Who Dis?

1. Josh Loevy - "The Improv Nirvana"

January 10, 2020 Liz Komos, Josh Loevy
1. Josh Loevy - "The Improv Nirvana"
Who Dis?
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Who Dis?
1. Josh Loevy - "The Improv Nirvana"
Jan 10, 2020
Liz Komos, Josh Loevy

For our inaugural episode, we welcome Josh Loevy to the show. Josh is a legally blind lawyer, improviser, and stand up comedian here in Chicago, IL. Over the course of the episode, we discuss his journey from improvisation to stand up, how his blindness affects his art, and the people who inspire him.

The Who Dis? Podcast is a show featuring performers from the disability, chronic illness, and mental health communities. 

You can follow Josh on Twitter at @jloevy

This episode was hosted by Liz Komos and produced by Jack Mathews. You can find more information on the Who Dis? Podcast or the Who Dis? Live Show at www.whodisshow.com on the web, on Instagram or Facebook at @WhoDisShow, or on Twitter at @TheWhoDisShow. If you want to talk about the show, feel free to use the hashtag #WhoDis.

This episode was recorded at the iO Theatre. The iO Theatre is home to Chicago’s best improv comedy with shows 7 nights a week. They offer classes in improv, writing, and more! Visit ioimprov.com for a full schedule. 

Show Notes Transcript

For our inaugural episode, we welcome Josh Loevy to the show. Josh is a legally blind lawyer, improviser, and stand up comedian here in Chicago, IL. Over the course of the episode, we discuss his journey from improvisation to stand up, how his blindness affects his art, and the people who inspire him.

The Who Dis? Podcast is a show featuring performers from the disability, chronic illness, and mental health communities. 

You can follow Josh on Twitter at @jloevy

This episode was hosted by Liz Komos and produced by Jack Mathews. You can find more information on the Who Dis? Podcast or the Who Dis? Live Show at www.whodisshow.com on the web, on Instagram or Facebook at @WhoDisShow, or on Twitter at @TheWhoDisShow. If you want to talk about the show, feel free to use the hashtag #WhoDis.

This episode was recorded at the iO Theatre. The iO Theatre is home to Chicago’s best improv comedy with shows 7 nights a week. They offer classes in improv, writing, and more! Visit ioimprov.com for a full schedule. 

Liz:   0:06
Welcome to the Who Dis? show podcast I'm Liz Komos. This show features conversations with performers from the mental health, chronic illness and disability. Communities. We're digging into who they are and how their health intersects with their art.  

Liz:   0:19
Today's guest is Josh Loevy, a lawyer and comedian here in Chicago, Illinois, who has also performed on the Who Dis? Live show. The Who Dis? Live show is a variety show here in Chicago, featuring many of the performers that you'll hear on this podcast. It seeks to empower performers to feature themselves as artists first and closes with the talk back. And it was those conversations that were the inspiration for this show.  Liz: Hey, Josh!  

Josh:   0:43
Hey Liz, very excited to be here.Liz: Josh, I'm so happy to have you as my first guest. I love improvising with you, and I am a big fan of your standup. What compelled you to get into comedy?Josh: I am sort of a newcomer to stand up and to improv, actually. So basically I started here at the iO Theater two years ago, a sort of, uh, keep my New Year's resolution to myself. I heard some improv podcasts and, like this is pretty funny. I'd like to try that. And it was one of those things where I said it and I'm like, I'll never actually do this And I did, though for whatever reason, that that time I did, I said, All right, I said, I'll sign up for a class and I just kind of fell in love with comedy doing improv And so I said, All right, I've already done this, so I might as well try stand up as well, and so I started doing that shortly after and have not looked back since.Liz: Wow, I guess I didn't realize knowing you that you had done improv first. I always thought you were first a stand up comedian, and then you tried improv after.Josh: No, I I started out doing improv, and it's funny because I'd always kind of entertained the idea of doing stand up when I was younger. Like I think a lot of people do. And I never did do it. But I never considered the idea of doing improv until basically, the weeks before I started doing it; it never even crossed my mind.Liz: That's so fascinating. Are you normally in New Year's resolution person? So this was just a whim, if I'm gonna make a New Year's resolution this year and it just so happens to be to try comedy,Josh: Right? It was either that or, like, stop drinking Diet Coke and still drinking a lot of diet.

Liz:   2:08
Well, you have a fresca here in the room today? So...

Josh:   2:11
That was my plan. I'm like, All right, I'm gonna cut down on Diet Coke. But I think this has absolutely all the same bad chemicals in it. Yeah, it's killing me just with a different flavor.

Liz:   2:19
Who Dis? his is all a show about promoting comedians and artists who have chronic illness, mental health concerns or disabilities. Do you want to talk to us a little bit about what your abilities are? And and I wonder too how you handle that first day of class scenario, or the first time you go to a new open mic because I know that that's something that deters a lot of people. The fear of what people are going to do or say when you enter the room the first time.

Josh:   2:44
Yeah, absolutely. So I am blind. I lost my sight 22 years ago, roughly and I'm 31 now, so I was eight and nine. It was like a month before my ninth birthday. You know, it's never been something that obviously I can't really hide from it. I use a cane, and so that's a pretty obvious. Ah, pretty dead ringer. So it's never really been something I at least haven't since high school. Really tried to conceal. And, you know, any time I launch into something new, that's always the first consideration I have to think about for me is  logistically. How am I going to do this? How am I gonna find my way around? How am I going to navigate around if they're handouts or you know, anything like that... So before I actually signed up for classes here, I e mailed just the form on the Io website. I just said I'm blind. I'd like to try comedy. I think I put a joke in there. Some kind, I don't remember.  

Liz:   3:35
Oh, you definitely did

Josh:   3:36
And so and I just said, you know, have you ever had a blind student before? And you know, is this something is this workable? And I got an email right away from Charna

Liz:   3:45
And Charna Halpern famously owns the iOChicago theater that she started with Del Close.

Josh:   3:52
Yes. And so And I knew that much history enough to be like, Oh, okay. When I got the e mail from her she  said, "we've never had a blind student, But you seem funny. So come and give it a try." And I will have that put on my tombstone. Probably. Yeah,   I have to be honest. It was such I had no idea what to expect. I just hadn't because I'd never done improv before really performing of any kind other than radio. I I just had no idea what to expect. And I cannot speak more highly of the process with all of the teachers I had it iO and at the other theaters I have been to  as well, and my my classmates, it's never been an issue. I mean, there's been some exercises, some things that we've we've done some talking about in advance, because maybe there's a nonverbal element which, for me, is sort of challenging. Yeah, imagine, probably, You know, we would discuss those things and they dare you comfortable doing this? Here's how I think we can adapt it for you. And so I was again really fortunate that the whole process went really smoothly because I think they're especially early on there's always potential that if my disability were to trip me up, it could turn it from a really positive experience to a really negative experience. Really fast. Now, were that to happen? Now that I've got some grounding in it, it wouldn't be as big a deal. But it was so important at those early early stages that that I had a good experience and I did had a great experience. The people I worked with in classes were fantastic.  

Liz:   5:13
(Clears throat)

Josh:   5:13
All of the people, especially Liz. Especially, Liz,

Liz:   5:19
Now who's the braggert. 

Josh:   5:19
Although we didn't I don't think we performed a lot.  

Liz:   5:22
We really didn't. I think we had a couple scenes together in class, but and maybe one or two of our grad shows, but not a lot. And they were trying to balance out having disabled folks on stage, all at once. 

Josh:   5:34
Exactly. Honestly, it's sort of on you because when I step out - when you step outI have no idea. But when I step out, you were making a conscious decision.

Liz:   5:43
(groans) I always wondered if people could hear that clicking of my crutch. If that's a clue that, like, I'm I'm moving, I'm moving about. If it's enough or if I should put bells on it  

Josh:   5:55
No, I I I could hear it, but let's say I just went to a show that I had no idea you were in, you know? I wouldn't have any. I don't know that it would really register with me or I would put it together.

Liz:   6:05
No, uh uh.

Josh:   6:05
Ya know, once we started performing together, actually, it was sort of helpful for me. I could track you on the stage a little bit like that. So ..

Liz:   6:12
I like that

Josh:   6:12
Everyone should have a crutch

Liz:   6:13
Right? Everyone should have something. I like that. Just like little like kitty cat bells on their ankles or something like that.  

Liz:   6:20
I think that's so great. And I'm so glad that you had such a great experience. And I love what you said about it. Having to begin that way - that your experience starting off in a supportive environment and having positive experiences laid the groundwork for you to have a foundation that if something were to come up later, you would feel strong in your abilities and your ability to communicate what you need, uh, or that something needs to be modified or changed.

Josh:   6:47
No, I mean it's especially because when it's such an unfamiliar environment, you know that that's the thing when you're figuring everything out, if you have that net sort of negative experience early on, especially in something that's completely of your own free will like doing improv like you don't need to do improv. And so it's something that if I'd had a bad experience early on, I could have said, Okay, yeah, I'll try pottery or, you know, whatever whatever it is. And I didn't have that.

Liz:   7:16
How do you feel about... I know when I walk into a room and I realize that I am the only visibly disabled performer in the in the space I have to fight the tendency to try harder or to be more or effervescent or more approachable or more pleasant or something like that. Is that, do you, does that resonate with you, or are you lucky enough to just to just be like, "Here I am, this is me." 

Josh:   7:41
Uh, I don't know that it is necessarily either of those. I can promise you I'm not self confident enough to walk into a place and say, "Here I am."

Liz:   7:46
(imitates Josh) "Here I am, I'm Josh."

Josh:   7:47
Take on my terms, Yeah, I mean, I don't have that, but, you know, it's very different from improv and standup because when I do improv, I don't go out with my cane, so it's not immediately available or immediately obvious what my disability is. If I have a disability, people might just think I'm really bad at eye contact. But with standup I take it head on because a good portion of my act is about being a Blind guy and the way people are around me. So in that sense, I feel a lot more ownership of it because it's my you know, it's my comedy weapon in that sense. That my, ya know, that's my shtick. But in improv I think my goal is for me is to do everything I can to minimize that. I want it to be a separate thing. I don't want people... If people are looking at me thinking, "Hmm does he have a disability," then I'm not doing my job because they're out of the world and you know good performances is taking them where you want them to go, right? So, you know, in standup. I want them to go to the Blind Place. With improv. I want them to go to whatever weird place it is that were going that night.

Liz:   8:55
Yeah, I think that's so interesting. And one of the things that I love about improv is that even all of the abled people in the world that are doing improv you get to step on stage and be anything, you get to play any character that you want, and so disabled or not, you get to go out there and even though sometimes I find it mildly offensive, I'll get offstage and someone will come up to me after a show and go. "You know what? After the first few minutes, I didn't even see your cane anymore," and I never know what to say. But then I think, Okay, I'm doing a good job acting that people are not noticing. This thing that I have that I'm carrying around with me just happens to be that every single character I do also uses a crutch.

Josh:   9:36
Right? It's so funny that brings back a memory for me when I was younger, it was something I don't think I dealt with for a long time. But friends used to say to me, "Oh my God, we forget you can't see. We have fun with you and we forget you can't see." Ya know, at the time, I'm like, "Yeah, that's awesome." Later on, I sit and I think that's a weird thing to say. Like, How long were they thinking about it beforehand? So it's... 

Liz:   9:58
Yes, and also is it mildly dismissive my identity.

Josh:   10:02
Right, and so it's it's a weird, it's a weird balance that you want to strike because you don't want it to define you. You don't want it to be something people are thinking about, but then when they tell you I forgot about it, it reminds you that they were at some point thinking about

Liz:   10:13
Sure. Yeah,

Josh:   10:14
Josh: But you know, I've never played a blind character on stage either. So I mean,

Liz:   10:18
Right, but all of your characters, right? I mean, wouldn't you say that  No, you don't think so

Josh:   10:22
No, I don't think so. 

Josh:   10:23
I think I definitely tried to fake it as much as I possibly can, you know, because I don't want to limit myself in that way. Um, and more importantly for me, I don't want to limit my scene partner in that way, because if they have to always be playing with the blind scene partner - blind in the world - you know, that kind of limits them. So I want to be as fun to play with as I can be by keeping my options open.

Liz:   10:50
Yeah, I think that's interesting because I always think about it as all of my characters use a crutch because I use a crutch, and I wear those characters is a veil. They're a veil over me. And so I use one, but I never really I never play it up. Except recently, for the first time ever, I called it out in a show. This is like a kind of a sexual scene, and we're talking about gimp masks and someone kept talking about a gimp and they're like "gimp do this, gimp do that" and finally, in the scene, I just go, "Are you talking about me?" I never called it out like that, but there was something really cool and liberating in incorporating my personal truth in that character's truth. At the same time. I mean, I guess it breaks the fourth wall a little bit, which is, you know, the invisible shield in between the stage and the audience. But it also felt really empowering and was a fun moment to to put my truth into that character in a way I had never had before cause I always tried to dismiss it.

Josh:   11:49
Right. Well, it's the difference between you wielding it and it being this thing you can't control. Yeah,

Liz:   11:55
Yeah, I did have another moment once, too. I was on stage and I was trying to do a sit up to get up. You know, I was laying down and I was like, I'm gonna do a sit up in my core gave out and I, like, rolled onto my back like a big old role polly. And it was such a funny moment. And it was a real moment of like -This character has a very weak core. And so does Elizabeth Komos, the performer.  

Josh:   12:22
You're more ambitious to me. I would know better than to try to do a sit-up.

Liz:   12:25
I lose myself. I don't know. That's I guess that's a question. Sometimes they talk improv that there's a theory that there's people who play from their heart, and there's people that play from their head, and people who have a kind of this X factor thing ... and then also people who lose themselves in the magic of improv and then people who are very much in the like directorial portion of it. And I can get so lost in the magic of improv that I completely forget that I'm on stage with other people and I'm trying to do a show with them, which is an amateur thing to admit to. But I just end up having so much fun that I lose myself in the magic of what we get to create.

Josh:   13:04
I think it's the opposite. I'm not trying to blow smoke here, but I don't think it's an immature thing. I mean, I think that's kind of the point, right when you when you're out of your own head and you're it's sort of, you know, second nature. That's sort of the the Improv nirvana. Oh my God, i hate that.

Liz:   13:21
I love that. That's what this episode is gonna be called. The improv nirvana of disability and art.     

Liz:   13:31
Speaking about that, to me improv and comedy, especially thinking of standup and being on stage improvising is all about trying, failing, working on timing, trying again, failing again, fine tuning, and practicing. What is your personal relationship with comedy and failure?

Josh:   13:50
I am somebody who does not take failure well. I don't I don't deal well with that. And so I worked really hard to try to minimize that. But that's definitely something I've had to kind of embrace because, you know. So in my day job, I'm in attorney, and so failure has really, real consequences for other people. Whereas you tell a bad joke. And so what?  

Josh:   14:14
So it's sort of, you know, maintaining that perspective, that the point to the work is making something better. There's no such thing as a joke that comes out as a final product that you're just able to say, OK, this is done on to the next thing. It's always going to be built on and worked, and so that took me a little time. I think to recognize that you have to work stuff and get it to a point where it's really, really good. You're not coming up with lines, you know that you can just... you know, nobody sits down and just writes a tight five. Right? It just doesn't happen. Yeah, and so even your best material is capable of being improved.  

Josh:   14:51
The earliest stuff I wrote that I still do, I still change every time. So it's looking at it as failure is an opportunity to get better, which is something that I don't think I ever you know. You hear that kind of stuff all the time, But I don't think I ever really internalized that until I started doing comedy and saw directly what the results of that were. You know, I could see OK, this joke didn't didn't land as well in this setting. But I added added this to it. Now it gets more of a response. So it's seeing that in real time or over the course of a couple performances. Whereas is in my day job, you don't turn in something flawed. You can't. You could do a flawed joke. You can't turn it in a flawed brief.

Josh:   15:31
So it's trying to kind of reconcile those two things at the same time. I work for a firm here in town that does civil rights law. So we do plaintiff constitutional rights lawsuits. So when people been wrongfully convicted of a crime, we do a lot of wrongful death cases or constitutional violations of inmates. And then I also specialize in ADA law, or ADA work ("That's sort of redundant to call it that.") I do disability law. So that's that's kind of my practice area that I've been developing its new to the firm, and I'm sort of building it up. But the firm has a long standing history of doing civil rights work, so it's really fascinating and important stuff. It's also could be really, really dark, which is one of the reasons I think I wanted to get into comedy.

Liz:   16:21
Yeah, to lighten up a little bit.  

Liz:   16:23
You do a lot of work then for for other people. And I would say even that you being on stage, you're playing into the visibility and representation of people like yourself and like us in this community, what do you do that's just for you? That isn't about disability empowerment, or  

Josh:   16:42
I think you're giving me too much credit   

Liz:   16:44
I don't think so at all. 

Josh:   16:44
I think you are. 

Liz:   0:00
I don't think so at all. Don't fight, don't fight with me Josh.  

Josh:   16:48
I'll tell you. I mean, you know, when I started doing comedy, it was purely selfish. It was because I wanted a hobby that was active and engaging and something that wasn't just sitting on my couch watching sports. I'm an obsessive sports fan, and I love it, but it's really a passive hobby. So I wanted something that was that was really engaging. And so I started doing comedy kind of for that reason, you know, I had no idea what it was gonna turn into. I still don't have any idea what it what it is or what it's gonna turn into. It came from a kind of a selfish place of wanting to scratch this itch of creating something and putting it out there getting that instant feedback from people. And it really wasn't until the first Who DIs? show that I started thinking about it in terms of disability visibility, because I'm so new to the theater, the performing space that I I guess I wasn't ever thinking of limited opportunities for our disabled performers. You know what was on my radar screen was, you know, my profession of opportunities for disabled attorneys, or college students, or even high school students, whatever it was in my life. And so until I was really ensconced in the performing community, which I guess I am now.

Liz:   18:03
You're in it. You're swimming it.

Josh:   18:03
I know it's it's still it's still taking some getting used to. Uh, you know, So I don't I don't think it was until kind of recently that I thought of myself in the in. That way,

Liz:   18:14
Well cool. I'm glad that the show could be that for you if you want that. When I first decided to put the show together. I had some responses from people saying, I feel little trepidatious, is that a word, trepidatious?

Josh:   18:26
Josh: Trepidation

Liz:   18:26
Liz: trepidation, trepidation, trepidation. Sounds like the eighties like it's totally tubular.  

Josh:   18:31
Just for the record, I wasn't gonna correct it.

Liz:   18:33
Liz: I wish you did. I'm fine. You can correct me. I am okay with failure, failure and I have a great relationship.

Josh:   18:38
Josh: We have a rule in my house that I let my life go twice with an incorrect, and then before I correct it. On the third time I say, "this is clearly gonna be something we're gonna be rolling out. So I will.

Liz:   18:50
Well, our rule Josh is 1st.  1. One try, you let me know, uh, trepidation about doing the show in terms of stepping into the arena of performance and saying I'm a performer with a disability or I'm a performer with mental health condition or I am a performer with a chronic illness and sort of wearing that patch on your sleeve even though those performers are still performing with inclusive groups and integrated groups and all of that, I found it interesting to hear that feedback. Because I am such a disability flag flier. Yeah, my whole life of like I am Elizabeth, I and I have a disability, and I say it all the time, and it's very much a part of my identity. But I know that for others that can be hard to identify or want to be in a public's space in that identity where it's completely focused around that.

Josh:   19:40
And I wonder if part of it is that you and I don't have a choice. Yeah, it's either own it or be owned by it, right? Because we both visibly present as people with disabilities. So not doing that, not taking ownership of that really wasn't a consideration. I mean, I remember there was a time in my life where, you know, I would refuse to use a cane, and I would run into things because of course that's what would happen. And I had to consciously make that decision that, "Okay, this is what I have to do and and, you know, I can't fake it anymore." And so you know that I started using the cane and then things moved on from there. But once once you go across that bridge, that's it. People know when they see me walking the cane, they know that that I have a disability for good or for bad. You know, it's not something that, at least since I was very young, I felt particularly able to hide from.

Liz:   20:29
Yeah, I know. I had a moment. I was 17. I had gone abroad for the summer and also done this student council convention, and I ended up having a problem with my legs. And I used a wheelchair for the first maybe five or six months of my, I think I was my senior year of high school, junior year of hs, something like that and I was driving a Ford Mustang convertible at the time   

Josh:   20:56

Liz:   20:56
it was forest green. Ah, and it was, like in honor, a nod to my grandmother's convertible that she drove in the sixties. So I remember I was leaving school and I put my wheelchair in the car and it was a beautiful day and I normally would put it in the back seat and leave the top up. And I thought, I'm gonna I'm gonna take the top down. I'm gonna put the top down on this car and I'm gonna drive through this town with this wheelchair sitting in the back seat and the wheels were spinning from the wind and I remember a carful of gentlemen pulled up and it were like cat calling, which is horrible. But it definitely made me feel good. And I think that was the first moment that I went like, regardless of this chair that everyone could see, like I'm still I I can celebrate myself like I remember that moment being like I have a visible aid that I use And I can still celebrate who I am and enjoy. And for me, I used to put the top up on that car so people wouldn't see the chair in the back. And it was I think that was the literal unveiling of me accepting my disability and then wanting to show the world that this is this is who I am. All in all.

Josh:   22:07
Yeah. I mean, I think you'd probably find that a lot of people who you know, weren't weren't didn't have two from birth use some sort of aid had a similar experience today. Yeah, because it's It's like at some point, you have to make the choice for yourself. People can put it in your hand all the time. I mean, I had, you know, my parents. I had mobility instructors, I had TAs, I had a whole and a team of thousands basically trying to get needed to do these things. But until I made the conscious decision that Okay, I'm gonna do this. It wasn't happening. Yeah, I had to accept it and be ready to deal with what that meant.

Liz:   22:42
Yeah, it's one of those things. It evolves. I think, at a different rate in a different time for everybody. And I know for me being on stage only amps up my and I don't want to say pride in the worst sense, but pride of like, here I am in the world performing and people pay money to see me act like a fool. But they're also watching someone with a disability and hopefully forgetting about the fact that I have a disability and just enjoying my comedy for the comedy. Yeah, and it feels like such a I don't want to say an FU, but it feels a little bit like an F U to the people who judge me when I come out on stage and they see that crutch and they wonder what my comedy is gonna be or what I'm gonna be like.

Josh:   23:28
Yeah, it's like that first Who Dis? show, I'll probably always think about what kind of a fond memory, because I mean just me in a packed house and the crowd was so great and there was so much energy. It was just this amazing fun atmosphere, and I remember leaving there kind of on a high sorted because I do the same type of material wherever I go. But here is a forum where I got to kind of do it and really put it front and center and say, I'm doing you know, this material about my disability in this space with other people who could probably relate to it way better than an average audience.  

Liz:   24:05
Did you, in that show, use any of the first jokes that you've ever written? And what what are those?

Josh:   24:11
What is the first joke I ever wrote? Ah, yes, I did, actually. I did do the first joke I ever wrote in that. In that show, I talked about how we have a poodle mix in our house. We have a little dog named Gilfy. Who's a kavapoo. He's very cute. And in case you had any lasting doubts that we're middle class and white and you know we do this fun thing at home where we'll talk to each other through the dog, you know? So I'll say to my wife, you know, Gilfy will say to my wife, "Oh Mom, I'm hungry," and she'll go pour food in the bowl or "oh, Dad, I need to go outside."So let him out or "Oh, Mom,you know, really put out any more."

Josh:   24:59
So that was the first joke I ever wrote.  

Liz:   25:01
(laughs and snorts) it gets me every time.

Josh:   25:01
And I I did do that in that show.

Liz:   25:06
I know, I remember,

Josh:   25:08
But yeah, I mean, it's it's funny, because now I've kind of hit a point where I have about a 15 minute set that I do, and I'm working on building a little more balance because I want to show that I have range. I feel good. Like I feel like I've got the blind material., and I will always have that. But I want to show the versatility of having other stuff.

Liz:   25:30
Also you because I think that we're these multi faceted people, right? You're Josh and you have a disability. But you're also Josh, who works in disability law and Civil Rights law. And you're also Josh is a husband. And you're Josh, who's ah, you know, all of the other roles that we play in our life. So what are those? What are those roles?

Josh:   25:48
If I get up there and do 15 minutes of I'm blind and hear the crazy things that happen to me. It could be funny and it's really good, but people are gonna walk away from there, and 99% of the time they're gonna think that was really funny. But I don't relate to that. Sure, so you know, part you're trying to two way thing. You're trying to surprise people and entertain them. But part of the comedy is they have to recognize stuff that they deal with you and in what you're saying. And so that's why I work on, you know, talking a lot about what it's like to be married or talking a lot about what it's like to have, ah, crazy family who, you know, crazy in a good way. I know they will listen to this and I will get questions about that, but you know, it's it's it's trying to find. And that helps, too, because if they if if audience members recognize themselves in my experience, then it makes the experience of being a blind person more relatable to and then they're not looking at is this alien? Ah, thing they're looking at is just like you said, a facet of me. 

Liz:   26:42
That's what I think I love about putting up this show is that's what it does, hopefully, is create relatability between the performers and the audience. Ah, and also show the differences as well. But to make a connection between what we all experience and what the audience is experiencing,

Josh:   26:58
I've been lucky enough. I've done all the Who Dis? shows so far. You know, I think I would say I'm in the minority of people whose act is based so heavily on my disability.

Liz:   27:08
Yes, I would agree.

Josh:   27:09
Most people have an act that's completely separate from that, and their disability is just incidental. Yeah, which is awesome. I mean that that's, I think, a lot of the point, right? Yeah, it's taking people on their merits as opposed to this one little thing about them. So it's you get this cool experience of knowing that there's this unifying thing about everybody performing. But everyone is so varied and what they dio

Liz:   27:32
Yeah, what advice do you have for new comedians? Whether they have a disability or not. Ah, and how did you learn that nugget of advice?

Josh:   27:42
Okay, so I think a few things. One, you just have to do it. I mean, it's so easy to sit, and I was guilty of this for 29 almost 30 years of just sitting and thinking, huh? Ideally, I could probably do that like this would be a fun thing to do. But until the first time you get on stage and you actually do it, it's just that it's just idle thought. So that's the first thing I would say is, "get up there and do it." Because it takes repetition. It's not like writing a wedding toast, because I think I definitely had that impression that you write this thing and then you go out there and you do it. And it's not that holistic. It's like you'll maybe take a piece of something you do for four minutes at an open mic, then maybe you take one sentence out of that or maybe use none of it because it was terrible.  

Josh:   28:25
I think it's a couple things. It's doing it. But it's also recognizing that everything you do is a part of the process and not just expecting things to be wholesale and done. It's building the sort of jigsaw of material, and, you know, one thing I never used to do is I'd have all these these thoughts go through my head and everyone will tell you this to be like the first thing that people tell you is to keep a notebook or to keep an app or something on your phone that you can write down little notes in. And I always kind of scoffed at that because I have a freak memory, and I don't have to worry about that. Having now taking that and doing that, it's like, I'll go back to my notebook. I'll be like, Hey, all right, this this really clever guy snuck in here and stuff and so I guess that would be another piece of the night. So that's sort of a scattered little platter of advice.

Liz:   29:09
I like it. I like it. And then the last question I have is which comedian, if you could take anyone out for food, who would you take out? What would you eat and why?  

Josh:   29:17
Okay, and they have to talk to me, right?

Liz:   29:19
They have to talk to you, there to have a conversation about life comedy. Whatever you want... about your dog, I don't know.

Josh:   29:25
I'm always down to talk about my dog. Uh, I think for me it's Jerry Seinfeld. It's gotta be Jerry Seinfeld, because that was I think especially, I think, for a lot of people of our generation was some of their first exposure to stand up. At least it was for me. The first stand up show I ever saw is my grand parents took me to see Jerry Seinfeld when I was, like 12 and it was this amazing cool thing. And he actually did a joke about blind people in that set, which is really kind of cool for me.

Liz:   29:52
Was that an offensive joke?

Josh:   29:53
No, I think, he said. I think he said something like, "If you're dating a blind person, you better have something to say." I always liked that. I always get kind of tense when people do blind jokes, because I'm like that's mine. Get out of my territory like that's our stuff.  

Liz:   30:09
I like that you feel ownership. I feel tense because I'm just sitting there going, please don't be offensive. Please don't be offensive.

Josh:   30:17
Listen, if somebody who is sighted does a blind joke and they get laughs, they're stealing from me.

Josh:   30:24
So, it would definitely definitely be Jerry Seinfeld. And where would I want to go? To heat It have to be somewhere that didn't require a lot of like hands. Because you don't You want to listen, right? I don't want to be like working, you know? So I don't want to be like manufacturing a fajita.

Liz:   30:40
As as Josh was saying that he was moving his hands and I imagined pasta, pasta tossing.

Josh:   30:47
Well listen, I don't be tossing a pizza and I don't want to be scooping pasta in my mouth. So, I would say probably Chinese. First of all, natural jumping off point. We can talk about the Chinese restaurant episode. Also, food is pre - cut into chunks. Not like, you know, you're just able to kind of shovel - and now I am pantomime, doing some really great object work. 

Liz:   31:05
You are. You are right. And I was thinking chopstick, but the way that you have your hand, it looks like you're using a spoon

Josh:   31:11
I am using a spoon, or spork, because you could just see this kind of shovel the food. I mean, let's face it, I'm not wherever I'm Jerry Seinfeld. I'm not there for the food. I'm there, too listen to his process, and I just I just find him so fascinating because he doesn't do obvious things. His punch lines aren't obvious there. There's no, you know, a lot of comedy is formulaic, or at least starts out that way with him, it's harder to spot the formula. Yeah, um, I would like to steal all of that knowledge from him and also tell him that that blind joke is mine.

Liz:   31:44
Perfect. You'll be like I am co opting it. I belongs to me now, and you just need to sign it over.

Josh:   31:49
Just signed it over it all. And then I can tell people Jerry Seinfeld writes for me.

Liz:   31:52
Sign it over, and I'll pay for the tip on this bill.  

Liz:   31:57
I love hanging out with you. I'm so glad that you wanted to be our first guest on the podcast. Hopefully, someday I'll be your agent and manager.

Josh:   32:07
I told, can I say I told Liz last week that I'm just sort of trying to sidle my way into her, managing me without you even knowing it. And, you know, it's funny because that night you're like, Oh ha ha! And that night you tried to get me booked for some stuff. So it'sworking.  

Liz:   32:23
It is working. I know. I don't know. It's just something I have, what I want to create opportunities for people. And I'm just a huge fan of yours and a big believer in you and what you're doing. And I admire you so much. I'm so grateful that you were here. I want to thank you. I also want to think Jack Matthews, who is here to produce this for us. So thank you. Jack snaps into the microphone for that because I wanted to do this podcast and I knew I needed help. And Jack offered to help. I think that's it.  

Liz:   32:49
All right.  

Josh:   32:50
Thank you so much. This is really fun.  

Liz:   32:52
I was so honored to have Josh on the podcast today. I believe he's going to do great things in comedy. If you want to follow him, you can do so on Twitter at JLoevy. That's J L o E v y or on Instagram it, Josh Loevy.

Liz:   33:06
We'll catch you next time.

Jack:   33:08
The Who Dis? show is hosted by Liz Komos and produced by me, Jack Matthews. If you'd like to support the Who Dis? show you can tell a friend or leave a five star rating or review on apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. When using social media, feel free to use the hashtag #whodis for more information on the Who Dis? show, including upcoming live shows. We're on Facebook. Twitter @whodisshow, on Instagram at @WhoDisShow or on the Web at www.whodisshow.com. That's W H O D I S S H O W dot com.This episode was recorded at the iO Theater. The iO Theater is home to Chicago's best improv comedy with shows seven nights a week. They offer classes and improv writing and more. Visit iOimprov.com for a full schedule.