You know me! I can’t even look through my DVD collection without finding a way to turn it into something fun for the site! Almost everything I do is preceded by the question “how will I be able to turn this into an awesome post?” and lo and behold I have done it yet again! One of my favorite comedians is Christopher Titus and as luck would have it I’m going to be seeing him live in less than a week, so I figured now would be as good a time as any to take a look back at his career and how his work has been a great influence to me. I guess we should start this by answering the most basic question first. Who is Christopher Titus?
I love being from a screwed up family
Christopher Todd Titus was born in Castro Valley California in 1964 to Kenneth and Juanita Titus. Throughout Christopher’s childhood, he had to deal with his manic depressive, paranoid, schizophrenic mother who was in and out of his life as well as his mean alcoholic dad who did his best to raise him right but was dealing with demons of his own. Most of his life story is told to us from his first major stand-up special Norman Rockwell is Bleeding which he had performed for years before getting it adapted into a TV show on Fox in 2000 simply called Titus; though to be clear, the recording you can find of that special was done a few years after the TV show had ended. Whether or not all of the stories about his life are true is something that can be reasonably questioned as my cursory research produces little evidence outside of his own personal accounts for what he had to go through, and since a lot of his appeal (at least for me) is the frankness, sincerity, and openness with which he talks about rough subjects, the material NOT being true would certainly hurt that image (like when Robin Williams’s off the cuff delivery style is undercut by the fact that he would always tell the same stories on every talk show he did). Personally, I don’t have a reason to question him or what he went through, and on the off chance that he DOES stretch the truth for comedic effect (in a memorial to his father at the end of an episode of Titus, his father says that only ten percent of what we hear is the truth), I still feel his comedy fills a need and speaks to an audience that very few comics have been able to reach. Probably the comedian that comes the closest would be Marc Maron who had a similarly rough life (though mostly AFTER his childhood) and frequently bares his soul to the world through his stand-up routines and his WTF podcast, on which he did in fact interview Christopher (one of the show’s better episodes in my opinion). The first time I ever heard Christopher’s comedy was when Norman Rockwell is Bleeding had aired on Comedy Central’s Secret Stash* which was (or maybe still is, I have no idea) a block of time around midnight or one in the morning on the weekends that would show movies and stand-up specials with the bad language intact, not to mention Girls Gone Wild commercials. Needless to say that I watched Secret Stash A LOT when I was in middle school, and even managed to stumble upon some great comedians in the process. The one comedy special that stood out the most for me though was the aforementioned Christopher Titus special, and it’s honestly something I would put in the top ten if not top five comedy specials that have influenced me greatly, some of which include Denis Leary’s No Cure for Cancer, Bill Maher: The Decider (he hit his peak during the Bush years), George Carlin’s Life is Worth Losing, and Whoopi: Back to Broadway. Now by the time I had discovered him, it had been YEARS since he had established himself and also years after his television show. What happened with that exactly?