When my wife and I were first going out and in that period after you get married but before you have kids; we used to go to comedy clubs in the Detroit area. I’ve seen some pretty neat acts over the years. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found myself settling in two camps, one is Lewis Black (for political humor) and Christopher Titus for everything else.
You haven’t heard of Chris Titus? Shame on you. He had a hit show on Fox (Titus), of course a hit show on the Fox network is a bit of an oxymoron and subject to its own string of jokes. His comedy act is a mix of self-deprivation and observational humor. I have his complete collection of material and he is, by and far, one of the best comedians I have ever heard. While my wife can’t stand Lewis Black (“Why is he always yelling?”) we both enjoy listening to Titus.
His comedy isn’t profanity-based nor is it gross humor. Far too many contemporary comedians relish in dropping the F-bomb that it gets old. Titus uses it sparingly, almost artistically, when he has to…which is almost an art form on its own. His stories are funny because they come from the heart and are realistic. Trust me – Titus at the DMV doing his Braveheart speech is priceless.
Humor is important for me both professionally and personally. Sometimes I use it to get people to open up, other times humor buys me time to arrive at a good response. More often than not, it’s a defense mechanism for me to cope with, well, stuff. A lot of people at work don’t get my sense of humor – and it is their loss.
A year-and-a-half back I got one of those calls, my father was in the hospital dying, I was madly driving across the country to Michigan from Virginia. I put on my Titus CD’s just to give me something to listen to as I tried to cope with lots of different emotions and fears. A lot of his humor deals with his relationship with his father and I found them not just funny, but insightful. In some respects his dad and mine were cut from the same cloth. His humor got me through some hard moments when my dad died while I was on the road. I listened to his whole bit about his own father’s funeral and it stuck with me deeply and personally.
When we sat down to plan my dad’s funeral I remember blurting out one of Titus’s lines. “Now then, let’s talk about the cover charge…and hey, chicks get in free.” There were a few nervous chuckles from my family (who know I am mentally disturbed) and a semi-stunned look from the funeral director (who’s real-life nickname is “Digger”), but for me it was a bit of comedy that I manage to cling to in a very difficult and stressful time.
On two of his albums, Titus refers to his “inner retard,” that nagging voice that always holds you back in life. He really has encapsulated how we all work with those bits. I actually do a good impersonation of the voice of his inner retard and have used it as my own.
Those of you who have read my book Business Rules know that I write comedy. I like to think I’m good. I’ll never be Christopher Titus good. This guy is pure genius.
His comedy CD’s follow a certain order. You can jump in anywhere however. My personal favorite is Love is Evol.
- Norman Rockwell is Bleeding
- The Fifth Annual End of the World Tour
- Love is Evol
- The Voice in My Head
Titus does a podcast as well which is a great way to keep amused between his albums. Check out his website at http://christophertitus.com/
I’m going to score some tickets this summer when he’s in Virginia.