The Fear of Silence: An Interview With Christopher Titus

“I said one sentence that cost me 30 million dollars,” Titus remarked about losing his Fox contract. “If there was a Pope of fuck-ups, I’d have a three-foot hat.”

“I killed a baby with comedy,” is one of the quotes still lingering in my mind. This quip came out of a phone interview with comedian, Christopher Titus, best known for his Fox sitcom, Titus. Sitting with me in the studio for the interview was Chico comedian, Don Ashby. Together we tag-team interviewed one of our heroes about the rocky road of show business, the memory of his mother’s suicide, and how to laugh at ourselves.

Titus is performing his latest show, Church of the Epic Fail, which is part of his current tour: The Grapes of Mirth.

When asked what to expect from a show called Church of the Epic Fail, Titus said it’s all the stories of the screw-ups in his life, including playing Darth Vader at birthday parties for six-year-olds, wrecking his Viper, and losing his TV show.

“I said one sentence that cost me 30 million dollars,” Titus remarked about losing his Fox contract. “If there was a Pope of fuck-ups, I’d have a three-foot hat.”

As a writer for the show, the star, and the executive producer, Titus was working 20 hour days and became what he described as, a vampire. Titus could not say enough about the brilliant people he worked with at the time, many of whom went on to work for Family Guy, George Lopez, and a number of successful projects.

But the loss of the show got Titus right back to his favorite place: the stage.

StandUpZNMic

“I love doing comedy more than anything,” said Titus. “If tomorrow, somebody wrote me a check for 100 million dollars, I would make the movie I want to make, then go right back on the road. I will never stop this—I love it. I’m actually kind of pissed I have to take a break through Christmas, I want to get on stage right now.”

Titus has a unique style compared with other comics. His specials have a set more like a play than a comedy show. He doesn’t use a handheld microphone, a mic stand, or have a stool. And as far as density, he easily packs more words in per minute than almost any other comedian that’s ever performed. Why?

“I think comics are lazy. That’s from George Carlin,” Titus said. “It always bothers me when you see a guy on stage; he does three jokes, and then takes a drink of water. Then he’ll do three more jokes and take a drink of water. Then he goes, ‘So what are we talking about?’ and I want to get up on stage and go, ‘You’re wasting stage time, get the fuck off. You’ll never see me with a bottle of water on stage.”

After only being in comedy for a couple years, Titus saw Lily Tomlin perform her one-woman show, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe (once performed at the Blue Room by Chico actress, Betty Burns), a show in which Tomlin represents at least a dozen well defined characters.

“At one point she’s doing four characters at once all having a conversation with each other, and I thought holy shit, she’s doing 4 characters at once.” Titus said. “I walked out that night thinking, ‘I need to be a welder. I need to quit comedy because I’m never going to be that good.’”

But Titus didn’t become a welder. He has continued performing for over 20 years, defining his own specific style through personal realizations.

“Comics are afraid of the silence more than anything, as am I. I’m afraid of the silence too.” Titus said. “The sin is worrying about not having laughter in the silence. As long as they’re engaged, if the audience is leaning in like, ‘Holy shit, where are you going with this?’, then you’re not failing, you’re doing great. In my specials there’s always this moment where I lead the audience down a path where they don’t want to be there, and I like that. So many comics are afraid to tell honest stories because they don’t think the audience will follow them. As long as you make the destination funny, you can take a moment on the journey and scare the living shit out of them. Just don’t forget to be funny.”

Christopher Titus performs this Friday, January 25th, with special guest Rachel Bradley. Doors open at 7:30PM and the show starts at 8PM. Tickets are available online at jmaxxproductions.net

Tags: ,

Gratitude

I find myself brimming with pride and gratitude these days. So many of you contribute to making this place what it is, I don’t even know where to start.

Giving Thanks to, Like, the Universe

Like many philosophically minded people before me, I’ve long been an ingrate.

Millennial Idiot Brain

My main takeaway has been that they’d really like to believe that Twitter is a viable job hunting tool

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth

Describing The Binding of Isaac is more than slightly difficult, yet I will attempt to do so.

Novembeard Bash 2014

In some ways, the Novembeard Bash is more about partying and winning cool prizes and making out with bearded strangers than it is about contemplating the solemn social obligation of charitable giving, and for that I blame the bands

Animals In The Train Station

The conductor gave a start, looked around, then looked down, eyes widening at the extremely short person addressing him. In fact, Sheela wasn’t a person at all—she was a fox.

The State of the Commons, Part Two

Net audio is stunningly diverse. One must travel beyond Facebook and Netflix to be reminded, but the web is an extremely deep and broad body of data created by innumerable individuals.

This Week Only – 11/24/17

24 Monday Round Table Pizza Clubhouse: Novembeard: Pizza Fun Night fundraiser and final checkpoint. Mention Novembeard when ordering and a […]

Best Bets – November 24th

Friday, November 28th Pat Hull, Greyloom (Erin Lizardo), Casing The Promisedland The Maltese Wind down from Thanksgiving with Chico’s sweetest […]

Definition: Confuse—To assemble without order or sense

We’re lucky to be here—alive and kicking in the year 2014

Extreme Cheapskates

If you’re unaware, there is a show called Extreme Cheapskates on TLC, and it is currently terrible

Life is Better With Franti

Franti is still all at once optimistic, sensitive, and politically assertive, while delivering a unique mix of reggae, folk, pop, and light hip hop

Horoscopes for November 24th, 2014

Horoscopes for November 24th, 2014

Deep democracy

I want to try deep democracy, where we vote with our tax dollars the way corporations vote for legislators with their dollars

Tweed, Logs, and Typey-Typey

The Tweed Ride is one of the loveliest events of the year and I want you all to go. Unless you don’t like fun, in which case you should take the time to reevaluate your priorities.