Staffer-turned-comedian returns to Washington


A former Capitol Hill staffer-turned-comedian is heading back to Washington to perform in the same city where he began his standup career.

Gregory Joseph first started working in Congress in 1995, interning for then-Rep. Rob Andrews (D-N.J.) before landing a gig as deputy projects director for former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun (D-Ill.). Joseph then hit the campaign trail, serving as a research director and in other roles for statewide Senate and gubernatorial races, including the Democratic campaigns of Harvey Gantt and Ron Kirk, and Arianna Huffington, who ran as an independent for California, as well as Bill Bradley’s 2000 White House bid.

But after his mom passed away four years ago, Joseph decided he wanted to go from political operative to professional wisecracker, telling ITK in a phone interview, “After dealing with the long illness with her, I decided that ... life is too short, do something that you love. And I’ve always been able to make people laugh.”

“Instead of writing press releases and talking points and speeches, I decided to write jokes,” he adds.

He wrote a few one-liners and took a chance one night at a D.C. comedy club, getting up onstage in front of “the three people left in the audience” late at night. But Joseph, 43, quickly became a fixture on the open mic circuit in the nation’s capital before heading to New York for comedy shows.

The New Jersey native says he’s incorporated a lot of his congressional experience into his set: “Being in that environment and seeing the lens firsthand has shaped the comedy. I do political jokes. And they’re not the typical political jokes you’d hear on a late-night TV show. They’re insider, because I was an insider.”

He tells us, “I don’t really have any stories about waiting in the Senate dining room and eating navy bean soup, but I do have a point of view that I think has been aided not just by working on the Hill, but also on campaigns.”

Joseph will make a return visit to D.C. when he performs as part of “The Dirty Hoe Comedy Show.” It’s a female-created and produced comedy program with a slew of comediennes poised to perform, but Joseph says, “They threw a couple of guys into the mix to spice things up.” The show is on July 22 at Chief Ike’s Mambo Room in Washington’s Adams Morgan neighborhood.