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He Didn't Choose Comedy, Comedy Chose Him: Recovery Comedian Josh Harris
Recovery Comedians, Comics Anonymous, Recovery Comedy, Recovery Comic, Clean and Sober Comedy
Josh Harris Sober Comedian

Exploding onto the comedy scene, young Atlanta comedian Josh Harris has experienced a meteoric rise over the last few years. Hailed by Creative Loafing Magazine for “combining frat boy silliness with a trap star mentality,” his high energy performances and one of a kind material made him a top two finisher in the “Atlanta’s Funniest Person” competition by Dave FM in 2008. A year later he was a finalist on TV One’s Who’s Got Jokes. Receiving a standing ovation after only three short minutes, he was the only Caucasian in the show’s four year history to make it past the first round. Riding the tide of these monumental achievements, NBC recently flew him to LA to compete in the finals of the nationwide talent search Stand Up for Diversity, which showcased the country’s ten freshest comedians at The Comedy Store. His comedic brilliance is topped only by his likeability as he gains audience adoration the second he hits the stage. Josh also writes and performs sketch comedy with Sketchworks, Atlanta’s premiere sketch comedy troupe. The future is bright for this 26-year-old as he sprints to the finish line of superstardom.


Recovery Comedy:  What were you like as a kid? 


Josh Harris:  I was hyper and a ton of trouble. As long as I can remember I was always getting tossed out of class for acting like a clown, throwing paper airplanes, and making fart noises. I thought I was being funny but it really pissed of my instructor at DUI School.


Recovery Comedy:  What made you decide to become a stand-up comedian and how long have you been performing? 


Josh Harris:  I have always wanted to make people laugh as long as I can remember, however due to my early party habits I was reluctant to pursue my stand up dream. That all changed when my dad took me to a comedy club at the ripe age of 21. He knew the headlining comic and told him that I was interested in hitting the stage before we got there. Upon arriving at the club I pulled my father aside and sternly instructed him to go backstage and tell the main act that I wasn't interested in performing, especially in front of a sold out crowd of over 200 people. As advised my father went backstage and returned to our table stating that everything had been taken care of. I began to rest easy until halfway into the show I heard a terrifying phrase "We have a special guest in the audience tonight, a young aspiring comedian named Josh Harris wants to give stand-up a shot, what do you say folks do you want to see Josh?" The crowd roared, the beautiful woman at the table beside me said "you have to do it!" I had no choice. I took the stage and said the  joke I had rehearsed in private....it got a laugh, then I tried another bit, another laugh! This cycle continued until I got off stage 5 minutes later a new man. Perhaps I have a Messiah complex but I like to believe I didn't choose comedy, comedy chose me. 


Recovery Comedy:  Were you performing stand-up comedy before you got into recovery? 


Josh Harris:  Yes but with little consistency or success. Almost every time something good started to happen for me I would disappear on a bender and wouldn't show my face in the clubs for months. It wasn't until I sobered up that I made a habit of writing and performing. Once I chose to stop using, connect with a power greater than myself, and accept a simple set of spiritual principles my career began to take off. I'm blessed to say that I haven't had a drink or drug since 07/31/08 and that has been the foundation of my success.


Recovery Comedy:  Does your comedy have a message and if so what is it? 


Josh Harris:  I don't know if my act has a running theme, however I know my main purpose is to uplift people and make them laugh. I pride myself on being clean on and off stage. This means I don't rely on blue humor or ridiculing others to elicit laughter. I believe this transmits a sense of lightness and jubilance that resonates with the audience long after they leave my show. And that's my main goal to make sure people leave happier that they were when they entered and have a newfound a lightness of spirit. 


Recovery Comedy:  Who are your comedy idols? 


Josh Harris:  So many but just to name a few Jim Gaffigan, Dane Cook, Brian Regan, Steve Martin, and Jim Carrey.


Recovery Comedy:  Where does your inspiration for material come from? 


Josh Harris:  I can get inspired by anything, from a conversation, to a past life experience, or even a stupid commercial. I think the main point is when I'm inspired I feel a childish voice in my gut go "AHA!" That means it's time to pull out the pen and pad. 


Recovery Comedy:  What is your joke writing process?


Josh Harris:  Whenever I have something that inspires me I take it to the computer/pad and dump as many ideas as I can around the topic. I'll also talk my jokes out to myself to make sure it's coming from my voice and not sounding too literary. Occasionally I'll bring my ideas to other comedians for input. I then sift through the rubble, find what I believe are the comedic gems and bring them to the stage.


Recovery Comedy:  Can you tell us about your one person show? 


Josh Harris:  What I love about my show is that it's very multi-dimensional. I tell jokes that are fantastical and very story based with big comedic payoffs as well as perform musical comedy with my keyboard. I like to think of it as an experience more than a comedy show.


Recovery Comedy:  Is your family supportive of your comedy career? 


Josh Harris:  Yes! Believe it or not my parents are the MOST supportive fans I have. My dad is a regular attendee, sitting front row and camera in hand. He's like the crazy little league dad except for 20 years later. My mom is a regular at my shows too and very loving and supportive. 


Recovery Comedy:  Is comedy part of your healing process? 


Josh Harris:  I wouldn't go so far to say comedy is like therapy for me but as my mind, body, and spirit get better in recovery so does my comedy. I truly think the two are intertwined and in a way my comedy is a measuring stick for how far I've come in sobriety.


Recovery Comedy:  What was your worst experience performing comedy? 


Josh Harris:  I've had a few, but one that stands out is when I was doing stand-up in a very dangerous part of Atlanta. A man in the crowd started to boo me and I tried to disarm him with a multitude of insults. Bad idea! He charged the stage, got about a foot in front of me, cursed me out, and dared me to say something to his face. Immediately after he finished verbally lam-basting me the crowd gave him an applause break. I asked the audience if I should retaliate and they implored me not to. I politely thanked them and walked offstage. 


Recovery Comedy:  What was your best experience performing comedy? 


Josh Harris:  I've had a lot of great experiences but one that will always stand out is when I got a standing ovation while filming the TV show Who's Got Jokes in Las Vegas. I was probably nine months sober and the amount of excitement was overwhelming. 


Recovery Comedy:  What is your favorite joke?


Josh Harris:  I can't write out the whole thing because it clocks in at around 5-6 minutes but it's a newer bit about how the History Channel couldn't get ratings because everybody knew the ending to their programs so they had to switch things up by broadcasting hypothetical "what if" shows, answering absurd questions like "could 6 Navy Seals, Chuck Norris, and the Harlem Globetrotters defeat the entire Confederate Army?" Which is the dumbest thing I've ever heard of....nobody beats the Globetrotters.


Recovery Comedy:  What is your comedy dream? 


Josh Harris:  To one day sell out giant arenas.


To find out more information about Josh Harris or to book him for your next Recovery Convention just click here!

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