Joseph Given – Given’ His All in a New Environment

Growing up in a family where music was prevalent, Joseph Given was inclined early on to follow the path into his teenage years.

“Music has always been in my family’s DNA,” he says.

“My Great Grandpa used to call square dances, my Grandma was a fantastic pianist and my mom and dad have always loved singing and playing guitar.  I don’t really remember the first artist that inspired me but my first CD was ‘Big Shiny Tunes 6’; a compilation featuring some of the most popular rock songs from 2001.”

As a youngster, music was key in Joseph’s day to day life.

“I used to sing to myself all the time,” he admits. “It came to the point where I had to teach myself to shut up because I instinctively started singing to myself in class and the other kids would get mad.

With habits like that, my parents and I figured it was probably safe to pursue music. Besides, I was never good at sports. Growing up I was short, skinny and unpopular. When I sang I felt like I was good at something….like if I kept going, I could really achieve something great.”

Joseph Given indeed acquired a spate of acknowledgments, kudos, and high praise over the course of his developing years as his musical journey further took hold.

Fast forward to 2018, and his preferred arena of performance has taken a decidedly different direction.

After pursuing the musical journey through his early teen years, the now 25 year old elder version has embarked on a career path as a stand-up comic, citing the late Mitch Hedberg as an inspiration.

“I found his unconventional one-liners hilarious and his sarcastic, zoned out delivery endearing,” says Given. “I also feel like he was able to take his random thoughts and make them hilarious, which largely inspired me to do the same. I still remember when I first watched his ‘Just for Laughs’ special. I’ve never laughed so hard in my life and can’t think of any other comedian who has influenced me as much as he has.”

With a comedic style he describes as “surreal, sarcastic and incredibly dry”, he suggests it was derived from an “overactive imagination”, which he admits to “sometimes I use that to take mundane topics and turn them into unexpected and often ridiculous jokes.”

And as for where the comedic gene developed?

“To be honest I have no idea where my comedy gene comes from,” he says. “I know my jokes a lot, but most of his (Hedberg’s) jokes are situational. I think my love for comedy comes from the fact that I have that overactive imagination. At first I resented that about myself, but when I grew older I realized I could convert it into a tool for surreal and deeply sarcastic comedy.”

The response, he acknowledges, has been great.

“It’s been amazing. People were coming up to me after the show complementing my delivery and stating that my jokes and style were very funny and quite unique. I’ve received feedback on the relatability of my customer service jokes. People told me that my T-Rex joke was hilariously dramatic/shocking and one of my friends sent me a text in all caps repeating my line ‘[I could] SLAP YOU AND DISINFECT YOU AT THE SAME TIME.’

Comedy is so different from music. As a musician, the job is to play a good set and it is a bonus if people really notice you. As a comedian, your whole job is to make the audience react – it’s a lot harder, but when it goes well I find it a lot more satisfying. My whole experience with stand-up comedy has been overwhelmingly positive, and I can’t wait to do it again.”