As a slapstick comedian with cerebral palsy who makes use of a wheelchair, Joe Eurell might need the toughest occupation in the case of being an individual with a incapacity. But in the case of telling jokes, he sees his distinctive traits as a technique to elevate himself above the gang.
“I don’t want people to feel bad for me because I’m in a wheelchair, because if I wasn’t in a wheelchair I’d be stealing cars,” he joked. “And I know that because I stole this wheelchair.”
Eurell lobs playfully self-aware strains like this in fast succession in his act, pushing by way of the moments when his voice cracks to ship jokes with the cadence of a seasoned comedian. While recapping his historical past at a espresso store on a current afternoon in Huntington Beach, he makes such wisecracks in common intervals.
“I was born in Cocoa Beach, Fla. When I was 10, my birth family put me in foster care and I was adopted by a family in Huntington Beach when I was 12. My mom adopted 60 kids with her nonprofit. Kind of a hoarding problem.”
While sharpening his abilities in stand-up comedy, Eurell managed to finish a grasp’s diploma at Cal State Long Beach.
“It gave me some context for a world outside of being a s—-talking roaster,” he mentioned. “It was rad; I could ride the city bus directly to and from school. It sounds corny, but being able to ride the bus and look at the ocean on the whole ride, I actually think it improved my grades. It was really relaxing.”
After getting his bachelor’s in political science, Eurell completed his grasp’s in public administration.
“The graduate program was extremely frustrating and I really wanted to quit, but I pushed through,” he mentioned. “My idea was that I could have a public admin job during the day and do comedy at night. I like public administration because poli sci is the theory of policy, and public admin is the application. It’s applicable to something other than just two people having a debate.
“I became a comedian in part because as a kid I remember asking, ‘What am I going to do as a job?’ I would watch ‘Live at Dangerfield’s,’ this series that launched the careers of Kinison, Hicks, all these comics. I thought, those people just talk into a mic. It was a very non-labor-intensive job. I can do that!”
Eurell mentioned he was 26 earlier than he thought himself in a position to have the emotional maturity to strive stand-up. “For a long time I felt like, ‘It’s my disability, and I don’t want other people laughing at it.’ Then I realized I’m taking myself a little too seriously,” he mentioned.
The greatest hurdle to beat was his problem enunciating, one thing that the comedian affectionately refers to as his “cerebral palsy accent.” Though this improved dramatically from years of performing.
“It was free speech therapy that I would never have gone to under any other circumstance,” he mentioned.
Due to the modest stipend Eurell will get from Social Security, he’s required to report any earnings he makes over $65. This is an everyday a part of welfare advantages often called “means testing,” and makes supplementing with common revenue from gigging very troublesome. Last August, Eurell ran a profitable Go Fund Me marketing campaign to boost sufficient cash for a van to journey to gigs in. Unfortunately, the celebration was lower with disappointment. Even although the total quantity of proceeds went straight into the car and regardless of Eurell submitting all the required paperwork to doc the transaction within the required period of time, he was notified 5 months later, in January, that his Social Security stipend could be docked for 3 full months.
“Sometimes I do wonder if it’s worth it,” he mentioned earnestly. This is the one transient window he opens into displaying the wrestle he endures. Its impact is stark in distinction together with his bubbly demeanor and regular stream of jokes that he affords virtually involuntarily as he shares his story.
His grim countenance shortly turns again to one among buoyancy as he recollects the joy of watching the marketing campaign climb towards his goal mark.
“It was incredible. Our goal was $31,000, which was the cost of the van. We raised $33,500. I don’t mean to brag, but I nailed the price because we got exactly what we needed. After the cost of registration and fees, I had $250 left over and I used all of that on gas, so every cent went into the car. We had 456 backers. I emailed every single one of them back individually. I fought the urge to joke with them and put out a mass email that said, ‘My whole goal when I started comedy 10 years ago was to raise enough money to buy a van. Now that my dream is realized, I can finally quit!’”
Eurell has come an impressively good distance since he began virtually 10 years in the past, which he attributes to relentless gigging.
“At one point before the [pandemic], I was averaging three shows a week. April 14th, 2013, was the first mic I ever did. It was at La Cave in Newport Beach. Then I started doing Anchor Bar in Costa Mesa every week for almost five years. The regiment of that was huge for me. I would try new stuff constantly. My rule was: If it bombs three times, it’s gone.”
The comedian reported mournfully that the venue he spent a lot time in refining his craft has since closed.
“I miss Anchor Bar a lot, but life marches on. You can’t get too stuck in nostalgia.”
Eurell’s constant gigging garnered the eye of Comedy Central, which supplied him the possibility at a phase on “Roast Battle,” reverse fellow comic Nicole Becannon.
“It was one of the coolest experiences of my life. It was at the Fonda Theatre. The best part for me was they had us do an entrance, so I hired a bagpiper to walk out with me.”
Most not too long ago, Eurell has been working with the Comedy Store in Hollywood to make its stage extra accessible. After a very troublesome time getting on stage throughout a “Roast Battle” final fall, he took to social media to voice his gripe with the administration.
“The owner heard about what happened and they were very open to hearing what I had to say,” Eurell mentioned. “They asked me to write up a list of recommendations. I ended up giving them something a little more detailed than I think they wanted, haha.”
A video on YouTube from Eurell’s episode of “Comedy Central Roast Battle” has almost 1,000 feedback from folks displaying respect for his efficiency. When the dialog turned to the concept he’s possible an inspiration to many strangers, he mentioned it got here organically.
“It’s not something I used to think about, but I have slowly started to realize that there’s more to life than just myself. A big inspiration for me before I ever started was a friend of mine from middle school and high school named Nick Waterhouse, who ended up becoming a very successful musician. I remember feeling like, ‘If somebody that I know could get a song in a Lexus commercial, then I can do anything too,’” he mentioned. “I like the idea that I could be that inspiration for anyone who feels like they can’t do something for whatever reason.”