INTERVIEWS

Chris Titus: Champion of the People.

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Chris Titus: Champion of the People.

titusChristopher Titus has to be one of the longest running, hardest working comedians in the business. From his major success at 35 on his own television show, Titus, to his ground breaking comedy albums, the guy’s work ethic is staggering. Last time SUSC talked with Titus, he was angry at life, angry at love and angry in a downhearted, but hilarious, way. Now that the entire planet is coming apart at the seams, Titus has found his stride and new confidence. Like Hunter S. Thompson said, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” And for Titus, it’s been a long time coming.

Big things are brewing for Titus, but don’t expect him to be less controversial. His new film, Special Unit’s synopsis is as follows: Due to the fairness in the disabilities act, the Van Nuys PD is forced to hire four handicapped undercover detectives and their training officer happens to be the worst cop in LA.

You can see Titus in Santa Cruz on 12/13 and get tix here: http://www.riotheatre.com/events-2/2017/12/13/christopher-titus

 

SUSC: You have a new stand-up show, Amerigeddon, that you’re touring and a new feature film, Special Unit, you directed and star in available on iTunes and https://specialunit.vhx.tv/ . Congratulations!

Titus: The new show Amerigeddon has really crossed over into a good place. About taking our country back from the idiots and how screwed up we are. Can you believe we got in an argument over a pants wearing robot, I call her SHE3PO and an arrogant delusional rodeo clown. That’s why we’re mad at each other?

It’s definitely a time of conflict on opinion, no matter what it is.

One of my jokes is: Talking about politics right now is like trying to organize an interracial hoedown in 1840.

The election yesterday had a lot of blue across the country. The pendulum swings both ways.

And the harder it swings one way, the harder it swings back the other way. Those election results were crazy. I think of myself as pretty independent. I vote for “the guy.” And this guy ain’t “the guy”. We gotta get rid of this guy.

Growing up I thought Reagan was the anti-christ but I was off by a couple of presidents.

Honestly, where we are right now, I’d be happy with Mitt Romney. He seems hard left to where we are right now.

I see your new movie, Special Unit,  is getting a lot of stars.

Special Unit is killing it. We scared everybody in Hollywood and I did it anyway. And now, its all five star reviews.

Last time we talked you were pushing the rock up the hill with this project. It’s great to see it launched and doing well.

Have you seen it yet?

Not yet. How do I view it?

It’s on iTunes or off my webpage. It’s all HD and it may not be on there for long. Its doing well so we might take it down. It might make you mad but it takes us to a good place. We were worried about the blowback from the disabled angle. But we’re getting interest from people, so it’s kind of cool.

Earlier this year we saw the Glass Menagerie in NYC with Madison Ferris as Laura. Madison has MD and there was blowback in the NYT from some real idiots. She brought dimension to the role than no other actor could have. Are we supposed to sweep people under the rug that look different or are differently abled?

Able bodied people, especially the gate keepers want to make sure that they are handled with kid gloves. The reality is different. My best friend is disabled. They’re inspiring and they’re assholes and they’re great and they’re funny and they’re angry and sometimes they suck. In Special Unit I designed my character after Nick Nolte in 48 Hours and I think I’m 40% more scumbag than Nolte. You hate him so much in the first ten minutes that you crave everyone gets even with him. He seems to be an immovable, psychotic, alcoholic, but they take him down. I didn’t want to make a Hallmark movie.

How do you approach it as a filmmaker?

You always lead with funny and then you try to make a difference. The only way to do that is deal with an issue head on. My character,  cuts right through. The Special Unit has been used to be treating like they are disabled. Fowler keeps calling them “retards” and they flip out on him. In one speech Fowler says “You’re right and I’m wrong. You’re not all retards. You’re a spaz, a midget, a cripple and he’s the retard. Does that bother you, because that’s what everybody thinks. But your extra special retarded because you signed up to be undercover detectives. After a year of dealing with murderers, killers and family law attorneys, being called retard is going to feel like a warm hug from mama. So step up and do the job.”  My character is a dick but he doesn’t use kid gloves. I just did a directors commentary on the movie and 2/3rds through you actually forget their disabled and they just become characters in a movie.

How is Amerigeddon doing on the road.

I have hardcore Trumper’s coming up to me after the show and saying “you’re right”.  I had to write this new show. I didn’t want to write a political show that was going to shatter people and make them mad. But it’s on the news every day, it vomited out of me. I mostly go after us, as a society, and how we’re being snowed. How do all these people that make 30 grand a year think Trump had their best interest at heart? That concerns me. This is like letting Kevin Spacey taking your kids on a Boy Scout jamboree weekend. I was worried what people were going to think. My wife is a brilliant comedian and she opens for me and I told her, either I’m getting a standing ovation, or I’m starting a fight. The best comedy happens once you don’t care anymore.

Santa Cruz will be easy, but what happens when you’ve done this show in the Red States?

At this point I don’t check where I go anymore. If they say I’m going to Alabama, that’s where I go. I actually went to Alabama, North Carolina and Texas. At first I was upset, but things work out the way it’s supposed to. I still talked about this bright orange carpet fire who is running the country, but, it made me realize I need to respect the people who voted for him. Trump voters didn’t do the wrong thing, they did the right thing for themselves, they did what Americans do, they voted for the guy that they wanted. It’s the people that didn’t vote that piss me off. When they see the mushroom cloud that’s on them. I just wanted to be clear that while Trump voters did the right thing, they got conned. Even my son, while watching the news one night said, “How is Mexico going to pay for the wall?” It’s a good show. By the end, we end up a community of friends.

Do you feel like you’re running the gauntlet? You see so many comics getting grilled for saying the wrong thing. You’re running a narrow path like the end of Chariots of Fire, you can see the winning banner ahead, but man it’s taking all you got.  It’s an important time to have a discussion about how we are all being duped, but you gotta do it with laughter.

I can get up and preach and I’m going to piss people off. I can get to the same conclusion with a punchline and even the most fervent Trump supporter will laugh. I was in Huntsville, Alabama and there were two guys in the audience that look like they swamp boated in. Hardcore Alabama. They had a 45 jersey on, big beards. I flipped on my a Hillary joke that we didn’t want a vagina in the White House so we voted for the other side of the taint. And this backwoods good old boy yells out, “Goddam boy, you got me, that’s funny.” Comedy crosses bridges.

What’s your thoughts on comics apologizing?

We’ve had several over the last 5 years apologize. If people take something I say out of context, or just don’t think it’s funny, I personally will never apologize. George Carlin never apologized. If you don’t like my jokes, don’t come to my shows. There’s so much actual heinous nightmares going on than my behavior. My job is to try and make people laugh. If you got so offended you need an apology? That’s your problem.

That’s what Kathy Griffen should have said.

I tweeted at her that day. “Don’t apologize.” It was a joke. It literally showed Trump bleeding out of his eyes and his “whatever”. It was dead on connected to what Trump said about Megyn Kelly. Whether you thinks it’s funny doesn’t matter, it’s obviously a joke. When a comedian apologizes they lose all credibility from then on. The audience begins to wonder if the comic is really saying what they want too, or if there are constantly self-editing. Even if its edgy, you think, “I wonder what they really meant to say.” We as Americans realize we have set the bar so low on a possible leader that it has to be called out.

That’s why we count on Titus to lay it down.

It’s not fair for people to go after comedians. Comedians are the last bastion of free speech.

When did you start working on the new show?

January 2016. In the beginning people would walk out, or get mad and start screaming at me. As time has gone on and Trump has gotten worse, people are more accepting of scrutiny. Trump has screwed up 330 times in 290 days. The only people happy about it are Lindsey Lohan and Charlie Sheen because he beat their record.

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11/13/2017

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