Christopher Titus brings his new laugh-out-loud 'Amerigeddon' to the Craterian
Comedian Christopher Titus says he feels great.
"I've just released a movie, 'Special Unit,' my wife is fine, and my show, 'Amerigeddon,' is killin' it," he says during a telephone interview.
He's busy setting up press and promotion for the movie — which he wrote, directed and starred in — released earlier last week for a limited run in theaters.
"After the movie's Hollywood premiere, we threw a big party for everyone," he says. "The next day I drove 360 miles for another premiere in Northern California. After that, I canvassed radio stations in the Bay Area and Los Angeles for two days."
The film, set in LA, is based on the Americans with Disabilities Act. When LAPD hires handicapped undercover detectives, their training officer turns out to be a Nick Nolte-type and the worst cop in the city, played by Titus. When the mayor becomes concerned they'll be hurt, they're assigned to an outreach program for elementary schools.
"It's ridiculously funny. I promise," he says. "I wrote a funny school-shooting into it. I know. It's weird. But I write about what's going on in the news, and we've had so many of these shootings. When the guy who's having a rough day comes in carrying a rifle, my detectives take him out.
"I didn't realize how edgy it was until I watched it with an audience. There was a lady two rows in front of me, and I heard her say, 'This is too far.' Then the joke hit and she burst out laughing."
Titus says what audiences should take away from the movie is a different perception of disabled persons. He has friends in the industry — actors and comics — who are disabled.
"Hollywood talks a great game, but the jobs they get are like props. They're the guys that roll through a scene in a wheelchair, and they never get a lead. I made them the leads in this movie. My buddy Mike has cerebral palsy, but he works as a federal employee, a public speaker and a stand-up comedian. There are times we've been in restaurants and the service won't look at him, won't even talk to him. It's as if people have been told to ignore disabled persons, so they live in a weird invisibility.
"The movie's angle is to make a difference for disabled people," Titus says. "Tobias Forrest plays Mac in the film. He's also a musician, and his song 'Invisible Man' is part of the soundtrack. It's hard-rockin' and badassed, and he's a quad in a wheelchair."
Actor and producer Forrest is known for Showtime's "Weeds" and the 2012 film "The Sessions."
"Special Unit" is available at iTunes.com and christophertitus.com.
No stranger to distressing family situations, Titus gets the biggest laughs when he tells anecdotes about growing up with dysfunctional parents or dealing with his angry ex-wife. Then there's his ubiquitous self-deprecation.
He wheeled onto the national scene in 2000 with his eponymous FOX sit-com, which he created and starred in. Its episodes were adapted from his first one-man show, "Norman Rockwell is Bleeding," a performance of dark, hysterically told stories that was a standout three years running at the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal, Quebec. "Norman Rockwell" was televised later, in 2004, on Showtime.
Another, "The Fifth Annual End of the World Tour," followed in 2007 on Comedy Central, and featured his rant on 9/11 and terrorism. The 90-minute piece established Titus as "either a comic who suffers from ADHD or an angry white-trash maniac," according to his website at christophertitus.com.
Titus has written eight comedy acts, to his credit. Four of them have aired on Comedy Central.
He'll perform his newest, "Amerigeddon," at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, at the Craterian Theater, 23 S. Central Ave., Medford. Tickets to the Medford show are $25, $35 and $45 and can be purchased at craterian.org, at the box office, 16 S. Bartlett St., or by calling 541-779-3000.
"This show has been the hardest one to write," Titus says. "I wanted to write something that would bring the country together. It would be so easy to just rip up Trump. I could have done that, but I think it would have been a mistake. After I wrote the show, I went to Alabama, and I realized that the whole show is about what an idiot the president is and that I'll probably be shot. So there I was, playing three weeks in Alabama, North Carolina and Texas. I had to figure out how to get my point of view across to everyone, to get everyone involved. It was a good thing.
"It's easy to go to Oregon, Portland or Seattle and trash Trump," he says. "People are like, 'Yah!' But to do it in the South, well, Kevlar is expensive.
"So I really found out what the show is about. It's about bringing America back together. Can you believe we got mad at each other over these idiots? Half of us wanted an arrogant pantsuit-wearing robot and the other half wanted this orange, delusional rodeo clown. That's why we're mad at each other."
Titus says he soft-pedaled the show for a while, until he realized he didn't have confidence in the material. He wasn't happy with the way the act was going, so he decided to change his attitude.
"I was in Cleveland, and I just went off," he says. "I went crazy. I told the truth from my point of view, stories about what I thought about the country. I even made a half-assed bid for the presidency. Since that night, the show's only gotten standing ovations."
Titus says he doesn't enjoy the process of writing new material, acts or television shows.
"I hate the writing process," he says. "I hate having to sit down and come up with something new. Sometimes I'll have an idea for something new, an idea that sounds brilliant, then I'll write it and it just drops like a giant turd, or worse, I get on stage and it sucks. This show didn't get funny until about six or seven months in. Then, all of a sudden, it fell into the sweet spot and now it's just killin'. So you guys are lucky. You didn't have to see it when it was suckin'."
Titus is already working on his next show, "Stories I Shouldn't Tell," about the darkest things that ever happened to him.
"It ought to really piss my family off," he says.