Christopher Titus is painfully honest, and this is simultaneously refreshing, uncomfortable and cathartic.
Titus rails on his ex-wife and the current state of affairs, and this is refreshing because, well, it’s nice to hear someone shun PC culture and tell it how it is, or at the very least, how they view it. It is uncomfortable mostly because it’s slightly awkward to hear someone you really don’t know divulge details of their personal life. And it’s cathartic because, hey, who among us hasn’t wanted to divulge details of our own personal lives while perhaps airing out an adversary or two?
This is Titus the man, and this is Titus the comedian. Unfiltered. Brash. A grinder. He plays five shows in three days this weekend at the Houston Improv.
“Every few years, I’ll do some personal material, and then I’ll need three years for something horrible to happen again,” Titus joked on a recent phone call. “In my comedy, I like to rib the scabs off; what’s the point in sugarcoating?”
This time around, however, Titus isn’t here to alienate or offend. Rather, he’s here to unite America. His latest tour, Amerigeddon, was originally designed to be an anti-Trump show, which Titus admits would have been “really easy.”
However, Titus is a businessman, one who has carved out a career as a successful stand-up. This got him thinking – wouldn’t penning a show devoted to tear down our Commander in Chief essentially alienate half his audience, particularly in more conservative states and venues? Yes, yes it would.
Instead, Titus decided to take aim at the American political system in general.
“Those are my fellow Americans, and I don’t want to alienate them,” Titus said. “I’ve got fans all over the map. I’m still honest, but I’m more about bringing the country together. We’re going to get a new idiot every four years, no matter what. Seriously, I don’t understand why families are breaking up over this election. Why are we so mad about politics?"
Of course, should Titus veer a bit from political commentary and get personal during any of his Houston sets this weekend, that would be understandable. His father was a womanizing alcoholic, his mother a depressed type who eventually committed suicide. He endured a bitter, public divorce with his ex-wife, with whom he has two children.
Hell, he even had his eponymous show (which was popular, unique and phenomenal, btw) cancelled by Fox several years back because he objected to interference and story ideas from network executives.
“Well, 50 percent of marriages end in divorce, and some of those involve a psychotic ex,” Titus said. “But everyone goes through those sorts of things. Dana Carvey told me a long time ago – the more specific you make the story, the broader you become. But when we bring Amerigeddon to Houston, it’s mostly about us coming together as a country and stopping these idiots.”
Titus makes no secret of his troubled upbringing, marital strife (he has since happily remarried) and turbulent career. But, he acknowledges when I address the elephant in the room … doesn’t stand-up comedy kind of attract damaged types?
“Do you know how crazy you have to be to do this?,” he said. “You have to be insane to think you’re going to walk into a room filled with hundreds of strangers, walk in front of them and be the most charismatic, funniest human being in that room. That’s psychotic. You know how crazy that is?”
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In Titus’ own estimation, he must be quite crazy. He has been a stand-up for more than 30 years and recorded several specials, with such titles as “Voice in My Head,” “Born With a Defect” and “Love is Evol.” It’s almost like Titus uses the stage as his own form of therapy. Of course, having seen him in person on more than one occasion, I can attest the feeling is very much mutual.
Titus admits he has made some mistakes along the way in both his personal and professional lives, and yet, that only fuels his set and keeps him going.
“At some point in your career, it can no longer be about the bank account; it has to be about being happy with what you do,” he said. “As long as I’m being honest, if you don’t do what makes you happy, it’s like growing a tumor on your soul. And, man, that’s no way to live.”
Performances are scheduled for April 27-29 at 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. on Friday, 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Saturday and 7:30 p.m. on Sunday at Houston Improv, 7620 Katy Freeway. All shows are 18 and up. For information, call 713-333-8800 or visit houstonimprov.com. $25-$35.