Christopher Titus stood on a picnic table one time for 45 minutes and performed his comedy in the middle of a park — a gig he thought was going to be in a ballroom. Another time he performed just 30 feet from people playing pool, where he said they didn’t even turn off the lights.
But far-and-away Titus’ strangest show, he said, came after a performance with a fellow comedian. Doubling his rate to $300, the northern California-born comedian agreed to play a house party — which turned out to be two people and a dog.
“The dog did not think I was funny at all,” Titus said in a phone interview while taking his son to the skate park.
Titus’ price has gone up significantly since his days of house parties. He’ll be racking in somewhere between $20,000 and $30,000 for his performance in the Lory Student Center Ballroom Sunday night at 7 p.m.
Titus proudly boasted that his 7-year-old daughter has started wake boarding, along with trips to the skate park with his son. He said the two ski and will be learning to snowboard.
“I’m so much younger because of them,” he said.
Usually, Titus flies out late the night before the show. He rises early to fit the daily grind into the short day, making radio appearances, working out, talking to his agent and putting on what he calls his “game face” for his show. His comedy usually personifies his fearless and fiery lifestyle.
“Dying is easy; comedy is hard,” he said. However, he believes that “the day I stops being nervous is the day I’ll stop doing comedy”– a similar sentiment he strives to instill in his children.
He believes in the mantra that if you push your kids down a “sheet of ice” they’ll never be afraid of anything, especially “sub-prime loans when they’re 25.”
Titus says he’s “really arrogant about laughter.” He said comedy is “way harder” than other performance art, specifically music.
“You’re about to go out alone with jokes that may or may not work and tell them to a crowd of 400 people. Wouldn’t you be nervous?” he asked. “You can’t buy laughter.”
Since age 19, Titus, now 44, has written his “comedy like a play — with a beginning, a middle and an end.”
He uses his life experience in his performances, covering topics like his unusual family situation. His show Sunday night will focus on relationships.
The recent divorcee said his show “will fix your relationship or destroy it,” but will break the typical comedy relationship routine.
“It’s not a ‘guys do this; girls do this’ show. I hate those shows,” Titus said.
He said he tries to change up his 90-minute routine every 18 months or so, a habit he said famous late comedian George Carlin would do.
“There’s so many comics that want to tell dick and fart jokes. I never liked that,” Titus said, saying most comedians do “yard-sale,” or a little of this and a little of that.
He said greats like Carlin and Bill Cosby relate well to any audience they perform in front of, calling their comedy “universal,” striving to achieve that balance.
“It’s a grind,” Titus said of writing so often, but then he paused and joked, “I’m brilliant, and everything I write is perfect. I’m perfect every time.”
Molly Southern, the comedy coordinator for the Association for Student Activity Programming, said they are expecting to make back “90 percent” of their expenses by selling out the 800 seats allotted for the show.
Nonetheless, Southern said the show is something students requested.
“The biggest thing students wanted was a comedy show,” she said.
ASAP, a program that has a history of bringing in big-name musicians to campus, proposed the idea to have a larger comedy show in October, eventually settling on Titus over Saturday Night Live cast member Seth Meyers.
“Obviously Christopher Titus was a better choice,” Southern said.
Entertainment Editor Johnny Hart can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who: Christopher Titus, comedian
When: 7 p.m. Sunday
Where: Lory Student Center Ballroom
Tickets: Purchase tickets at the Ibox in the LSC or online at www.csutix.com.
Cost: $7 (with valid stdent I.D.), $15 non-students