Joe Guppy

Almost Live!: Still Alive - Joe Guppy |

Almost Live!: Still Alive - Joe Guppy | AlmostLiveStillAlive.comThe most popular freshwater aquarium fish of them all is the guppy. It is live-bearing – no eggs. It likes flake food, and is generally peaceful. But the guppy is also considered one of the wittiest in the fish kingdom… perhaps second funniest only to the clown fish – and, frankly, the clown fish’s pie-throwing and seltzer-down-the-pants routine is getting a little old.

But a JOE Guppy is quite another matter. Some might guess that a Joe Guppy is a small fish that swims around in a cup of black coffee. But the Guppy that’s the subject of this podcast is something else: a storyteller, improviser, comedy writer, actor, team builder, and teacher.

And, one of the pioneer members of Almost Live!

He is one of the sharpest writers and performers of comedy that I’ve ever known. Yet, he walked away from it for an entirely different direction. We’ll find out why in this episode.

Joe Guppy has done a ton of things in his most unconventional career. One of the most personal episodes is detailed in a remarkable memoir published in 2015, called “My Fluorescent God.” It details the severe psychotic depression that engulfed his life, years before ‘Almost Live!’ And how creativity, humor, writing, and performance became a big part of his road back. We don’t explore that much in this interview – it would be worthy of an entire podcast by itself – but that part of his remarkable story is an astonishing and inspiring read. You can find it on Amazon – “My Fluorescent God” by Joe Guppy.

Joe’s contributions to “Almost Live!” came during the show’s infancy – and he left the show in the late 1980’s. As a result, he is perhaps not as well-remembered a cast member as his wife, Nancy. Yet, you might not know her, if not for Joe. His writings and performances on the show are among my personal favorites. He set a tone and style that you can still see in the show’s best moments – even years after he had departed from it.

Over the course of his life, Joe may not have as many frequent flyer miles as some of the other members of the show, but perhaps no one has traveled as far.

Today, he coaches creative and academic writing, presentation and performance, improvisation, and comedy. Someone once said that “those who cannot do, teach.” But Joe Guppy did – and does – both.

Here he is from his Seattle residence, where he hangs out with Nancy, and where his work and busy home life are only interrupted by nosey people like Pat Cashman.