Handsome deejay/dancer/emcee makes hearts rumble wherever he goes…
Las Vegas is often referred to as the “Ninth Island” thanks to a large number of Hawaiian transplants and tourists. The same holds true for Australia and neighboring New Zealand. There’s a love affair between our city and those from Down Under, with no less than three Australian-themed productions currently performing in Vegas. Thirty-four-year-old Kurt Joseph emcees the most popular one of all – THUNDER FROM DOWN UNDER.
While you might expect Kurt Joseph to be a “himbo” at first glance, this New Zealander is anything but a brainless Ken doll. Positive-thinking and forward-driven, the animal-loving hunk quickly made a name for himself in the city with his winning smile, positive personality, and stunning energy. He currently serves as a celebrity ambassador for the Neveda SCPA and has three dogs of his own.
An ambitious go-getter, Joseph completed his apprenticeship in plumbing before realizing that a life of entertainment beckoned. So in 2009, he and pal Chris Lawrence founded “CTRL ALT DEL“, a deejaying duo that garnered instant success.
The two toured throughout Australia, New Zealand, and Asia, which led to a 2014 record deal with American producer “Deorro”. In the daytime, Joseph worked as a radio deejay in Surfer’s Paradise, Queensland, until an audition opportunity came along for THUNDER FROM DOWN UNDER.
As with so many in the entertainment field, Kurt longed for the excitement of Las Vegas:
I have lived in Las Vegas since August 2015. I had visited several times over the years prior and would always see huge billboards with famous entertainers and DJs on them. So, when I was given the opportunity to move for Thunder From Down Under, it was an easy decision. It has really been a full-circle moment to see myself around the city on huge billboards. It really is a dream come true!
I first met Kurt as he deejayed an outlandish Vegas-style wedding being covered by the media. The chest-baring man on the mic was clearly having a great time, and agreed to chat with me about his background for this piece:
I was very honored to be invited as the guest DJ at Las Vegas superstar Frank Marino‘s wedding to Alex Schechter. I have actually been lucky enough to work with Alex since I moved here in 2015.
His wedding included all things Las Vegas – from showgirls to magicians… to Thunder From Down Under groomsmen! It was definitely an experience I will never forget and I got to meet some really influential Las Vegas residents, including yourself.
During the pandemic, many entertainers left the city and began new careers elsewhere. You departed for a while but eventually returned. What helped you with that decision?
When we shut down with no date of return, I decided to experience living somewhere else. I settled in Vancouver, Canada, due to it being close by, but very different from Las Vegas. Thunder From Down Under was never done for me. I enjoy the job too much to leave for good.
One of the best parts of the job is the guys I work with. I consider every single one of my castmates family. We all hang out outside of work as well. We have a special bond as we all come from humble backgrounds, which is why we all get along so well.
What’s tougher to get through….a hot Vegas day or a cold Canadian winter night?
A hot Vegas day is actually harder for me. I am quite the snow bunny and will snowboard at every chance I get. I’ve always said the same thing “It’s easier to warm yourself up than it is to cool yourself down”. Give me the snow any day, baby!
You’re a multi-faceted individual who works as an emcee, dancer, and deejay. When someone asks you what you do for a living, how do you respond?
I always reply that I am a performer. I can’t hold myself to one of the three things you mentioned, as I love them all equally. I have always been the class clown and still to this day, cannot stop being a goofball trying to get a laugh out of the other guys backstage. As I said, performing is what I was born to do.
Do you mind if/when people use the words “male stripper”?
No, not at all. I often chuckle to myself when I hear it, as I know my role is definitely more performer than stripper! Plus, it’s always a great conversation starter.
Have your family members seen you perform in Sin City? If so, what were their reactions?
Yes! My family has been super supportive and on board with my job since day one. Thunder From Down Under is more than a “strip show,” it is a fully choreographed, immersive, and interactive experience. Definitely not a sleazy, greasy grinding show, which is what most people think when they hear the words “strip show.”
I’m extremely lucky to have such an awesome family who is always 100% supportive of any and all decisions I make. As much as they miss me living back home, I know they enjoy the fact that they get to come visit me in the U.S. often and they are happy that I am happy.
It’s often said that abs are made in the kitchen. Are you more of a “diet guy” or an “exercise guy”? What is your favorite body part to train…and your favorite “cheat food”?
Yes – abs are 110% made in the kitchen! If your diet is really good, the number of days in the gym can be limited to as little as 2 or 3 per week. However, with that being said, I love my food – and in particular, I love comfort food.
So, as much as I try to maintain a great diet, I do find myself at my favorite cheat meal spot more than once a week… That would be Raising Canes! Because my diet isn’t 100% the best, I do require more time in the gym, which is 5-6 days per week. And my favorite workout is always chest day! I’m pretty sure I speak for most guys on that answer.
I’ve heard you say onstage that none of the Thunder men are trained dancers, yet you make it seem like a natural extension of yourself. How is that possible?
Yes, that is true! All of us are just normal Aussie blokes who had regular jobs before we made the move over here. I was a DJ, other guys were builders, salesmen, teachers, real estate agents, and even an army recruit. We are blessed to have a fantastic choreographer, Darrell Rivera, who creates the routines for us, then teaches them to us, step-by-step.
We also have our dance captain, Jayden Brown, who helps us get up to speed with the routines, so they are ready to go on stage. Darrell is one of the main dancers for both Shania Twain and Donny Osmond, so we are very lucky to have him help us.
I noticed that you have a powerful singing voice. Have you recorded any music or play any instruments?
I love belting out a tune in the shower, or on my way to work, but have never recorded myself. I play both regular guitar, bass guitar, and drums though, which I enjoy doing in my downtime. During middle school, I also picked up how to play saxophone, but enjoyed the idea of maybe being in a rock band when I was older.
So, I directed my attention to the drums and guitar. To answer an earlier question, maybe that’s why I was able to pick up dancing easier, due to being so heavily involved with music from a young age.
This summer you and your castmates accepted the Key to Las Vegas on behalf of Thunder. Tell us about that.
Yes, I and the cast were honored to receive the key to the Las Vegas Strip! I am just so proud of what my bosses Billy and Jackie Cross & Adam Steck have accomplished over the last twenty-one years, building the show into the superstar brand that it is!
Someone is going to play you in a movie and you get to choose the actor. Who is it?
Mark Wahlberg! He’s one of my favorite actors and I have been told a few times that I resemble him.
What time does Kurt Joseph usually get to sleep? And does he ever get a full eight hours?
Kurt Joseph HAS to get his 8 hours of sleep. I am very fortunate enough to be blessed with the power to fall asleep at any place and any time with ease! With a late-night work schedule, I’m usually asleep by 3 am and up at 11 am.
You’ve lived in a number of different countries. Where do you think you’ll find yourself in later years?
Las Vegas is where I would like to stay for my career. However, Hawaii would be the dream for my retirement. Having grown up at the beach, I definitely miss that aspect of home, so what better place to retire after a life in Sin City than on a beautiful island?
Kurt with actor/comedian Seth Rogen
A lot of celebrities have seen you perform in Thunder From Down Under. Name one of your favorite stars, and who would you like to see in the audience someday?
I was definitely a little starstruck to be on stage one and see Paris and Nicky Hilton in the audience. Britney Spears was a bit of a shock, as you’re not ever really expecting to see such a famous face looking up at you while getting half-naked. As far as who I would like to see, I just enjoy seeing everyday people come in and leave their worries at the door, so they can have a fun night out with their family and friends.
THUNDER FROM DOWN UNDER performs nightly except for Tuesdays. Click here for times and tickets.