Christopher Titus is one of the hardest-working comedians in the business. From his eponymously titled television sitcom Titus in the early 2000s to his one-man show (and groundbreaking comedy album) Norman Rockwell is Bleeding, Titus’ work ethic is staggering and influential.
But Titus is still not a household name. There comes a time in a performer’s life when they have reached escape velocity from relative obscurity and begun to penetrate the world of ubiquitous fame. For Titus, who brings his new comedy show entitled Amerigeddon to the Rio Theatre on Dec. 13, wide acceptance is long overdue.
Last time Titus played the sold-out Rio (as a benefit for the Boys and Girls Club), he was angry at life and love, and laying all the foibles, follies and fubars of relationships on thick. The show was scathing and hilarious. But now that the entire planet is coming apart at the seams, Titus has found his stride with a new confidence and a weird optimism. “I see us all, as a planet, finally coming together and working as one,” he says by phone from his home in Los Angeles. “This happens right after the nuclear war.”
Snarkiness has infiltrated pop culture to the point where even animated M&Ms have an attitude. But for Titus, critical assessment of society isn’t a fad, it’s a permanent lifestyle. Besides touring Amerigeddon around the country, Titus is most proud of his new feature film Special Unit. It’s about the worst cop in L.A. taking on a crew of specially abled officers.
“Able-bodied people, especially the gatekeepers want to make sure that they are handled with kid gloves. The reality is different. My best friend is disabled,” says Titus. “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, available at Titus’ website and iTunes, the comedian’s prickly character is modeled after Nick Nolte in 48 Hours. “You hate him so much in the first 10 minutes that you crave everyone getting even with him,” says Titus. “He seems to be an immovable, psychotic alcoholic, but they take him down. I didn’t want to make a Hallmark movie.”
He has been touring Amerigeddon around Red and Blue states for two years. “At this point, I don’t check where I go anymore. If they say I’m going to Alabama, that’s where I go,” says Titus. “I actually went to Alabama, North Carolina and Texas. At first I was upset, but things work out the way they’re 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.”
Titus isn’t totally into the blame game—he’s earnestly seeking to break open the conversation that will heal the country, but has some harsh words for those that opt out of participating in democracy. “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?’”
Titus has always provided fresh and brutally honest takes on current issues, both political and social. He lays down some pretty specific guidelines on how to handle one’s self in the public eye—or in the case of Louis C.K., how not to. “Spend more time writing jokes and less time masturbating in front of strangers and friends,” says Titus.
Titus seeks to forge a connection with his audience. “We end up a community of friends,” he says. His ultimate goal? “Bringing the country together, one drunk audience at a time.”
Christopher Titus performs on Wednesday, Dec. 13 at the Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $30 General Admission, $42 Gold Circle.