Laugh At His Pain
Inevertapeinterviews.EverytimeIdo,somespectaculardisaster happens to the infernal machine. Instead, people I interview get to stop what they're saying and listen silently as I take notes, byhand.It's quite scintillating for them, I'm sure.
But Christopher Titus is so fast and so funny I didn't even try. I just put my pen down and rolled around in his words, doing a dolphin kick once in a while and a couple of cannonballs. I did jot down a couple of taglines toward the middle of the conversation, and he helpfully repeated some of his setups for me—with spellings—slowly.
And after half an hour of talking and talking and talking to a guy who's so funny he can get you howling and peeing yourself about his abusive alcoholic dad and a husband-murdering schizophrenic mom, I got nothing except a big fat crush. And some notes that read, like, "Dred Scott, Frances McDormand school for LAPD, Iran might have . . . ?, Stabber McShooty, performance for middle managers patting selves on back about how much doing for kids sitting next to retarded kid drooling and the dinner costs $50,000." Oh, and, "Gas better get cheap pretty damn fast."
Oh, Christopher Titus!
With the righteous fire and the speedy scowl, and the all-American dumb-jock looks, and the jokes about Syria and Jordan! Hilariousjokes about Syria and Jordan! Betcha didn't know it was possible, and yet? It is!
But an interview? Not really.
Oh, he had some stuff for me: "Got any material on Condi Rice?" I asked him because I've been asking people that lately, without much success. "Yeah, I do!" he said, but again, his words, they were vite!
Here's one of the only jokes I got in toto, and even so, some of the atmospheric setup's gone missing. Why? Just like being president is hardwork,it's hardto transcribe righteous fire and dumb fury without an inordinateuseof italics.
"You know, I went to Iraq, and our kids there are so . . . they'rekids!And the First AD—that's the First Armored Division—were there for 12months,and then right when they were supposed to come home, they just told them, 'Oh, yeah, by the way, you're gonna be here for three more months.' Iremember working at KentuckyFriedChicken,and they asked me to stay 30minuteslateon Friday night, and I toreupmypaperandpunchedmymanagerintheface!"
Could you tell that was funny?
No? God damnit!
Because oh, he is!
When I saw him at the Irvine Improv a year or two back, he expounded on just one basic theme: how white people are dicks and we should apologize. Hey, black people? Native Americans? The people of Hispaniola? Christopher Titus is Whitey, and he apologizes. He doesn't know what he was thinking when he decided to enslave you. He's sorry about the smallpox blankets. And while the five people closest to the stage smiled tight little grimaces (I swear, one older blonde only actually smiled at the words "We got rid of all the Mexicans"), Titus moved on to Japan, with the internment camps and the A-bomb. "Aw, fuck it," he said. "You guys threw the first punch on that one!" And then he threw up his hands. "But Ioverreacted,and I'm sorry!"
Later, he told the story of how his mother killed her last husband. It was hilarious.The blond lady still only laughed at the part about the Mexicans. But people do bond with him over the whole abusive-alcoholic dad/husband-murdering schizophrenic mom thing. "I've spent a lot of time writingjokesabout my pain," Titus says—because it's hilarious. "These people come up and want to tell me their pain, but they're telling it like they're trying to be comics. 'Hey, my brother's a heroin addict? Ha, ha? And he shot my dad three times? Ha, ha, ha! And then he stolethe car?'"Ask for the story of how his mother killed her last husband. It's hilarious.
CHRISTOPHER TITUS PERFORMS AT THE BREA IMPROV, 120 S. BREA BLVD., BREA, (714) 482-0700. THURS., FEB. 24, 8:30 P.M. 18+; FRI., 8:30 & 10:30 P.M. 21+; SAT., 7 & 9 P.M. 21+; SUN., 7 P.M. 18+. $22.
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