It started with a one-off show called Joe Knows back when Joe Cox was 16 years old. Now 19, Cox is back on TV, and his newest show, The Flying Circus Club, aired its 81st episode recently on Access Tucson. Cox says his show allows him to exercise his sense of humor and be where he wants to be more than any place in the world—on TV. Watch it on Fridays at 5 p.m. on Comcast 73 and Cox 98, or on Sundays at 4 p.m. on Comcast 72 and Cox 120. You can also watch the channels online at accesstucson.org.
What's your show about?
It's about comedy. But actually, it's not just about comedy. It's about random YouTube videos I find on the Internet. Currently, I'm playing all of the episodes of The Benny Hill Show.
Where did you get the name?
I actually was inspired by Monty Python's Flying Circus. I just took off "Monty Python" and added "club."
So it's in homage to Monty Python?
Well, it started off that way—playing Monty Python clips from YouTube.
Does it take courage to do your own show on public access?
Here's the thing: I don't know if you know this, but before The Flying Circus Club, I had a very short-lived live talk show called Joe Knows, in November 2006. In that first episode, I interviewed my history teacher at Rincon High School, Mr. Kidd. He's from Ireland, and I talked to him about his life and stuff.
How long did that last?
Only one episode. See, I was supposed to have another show with another guest, but my parents thought my show was interfering too much with my schoolwork.
After Joe Knows was scrapped or canned or canceled, I said, "I need to go back to the drawing board." I'd like a new show, but I need a different tack. I was thinking about it, and I said, "Hey, one of my favorite things is Monty Python. Why not do a show about that?" It was a brain spark, about Monty Python.
What do you love most about Monty Python?
I just love that they are irreverent, surreal and sarcastic, which is my brand of humor.
Do the city budget cuts make you worry about the future of public access?
It has worried me, because if anything gets any worse, Access Tucson could be gone forever. I hope that doesn't happen. It's worth keeping.
Just like my son, you have Asperger's syndrome. Do you feel like you're out there representing?
My show is different from other shows on Access Tucson. I think I bring a different type of uniqueness to the table, and that is, in part, because of my own Asperger's syndrome. It's probably not noticeable on my shows, but maybe (it is) to the people I communicate with at Access Tucson.
Do you like the people at Access Tucson?
We clicked instantly. It's a good bond I have with them. ... One of the cool things about Access Tucson is that you can be a guest on someone else's show. I've been on a show called UPDATE!, made by a bunch of kids from Tucson High School, and another show called Hectic Atoms, which is made by these guys who are college students. They've been doing their show since 2000, since they were 16.
What kind of dreams do you have for your future?
In terms of my show, I'm hoping to get a national talk show. I don't know if it will happen. Here's a real interesting ambition: One day, I hope to host Saturday Night Live, and if I can't do that, I'd love to be part of the regular cast.
Do you get any feedback on your show?
You know, sadly, I don't. It's discouraging. It really sucks, because I want to know what people think of it. One time, I was eating at a restaurant, and this guy came up and told me he really liked my show. I don't know how many people are watching, and Access Tucson doesn't have a proper way to calculate that.
You say that being on TV is in your blood. Why?
One relative on my mom's side is a sports commentator, Andrea Kremer. And I've worked hard to be very professional on TV, and I like being professional on TV. It may not be as slick as a production on Fox News, but the important part is you have quality, and you have a professional guy doing it— which is me.