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Christopher Titus

The working man's comic

Christopher Titus rolls into Tacoma with his political humor. Courtesy photo

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Here's an unsolicited testimonial from someone who knows: "Tacoma (Comedy) Club is so cool," Christopher Titus declared. "(It's like) what I imagine the '60s vibe was, when comedy was this perfect, precious thing ... when Carlin was coming up ... Tacoma's got this smart vibe to it that I really like, and it kinda has an older-school feel about it. There's something about Tacoma, and that room has enough comedy in the walls that it really sometimes transcends to another level where two hours doesn't feel like two hours. Two hours feels like an hour. ... People are thinkers and they're bustin' their ass," he explained. "They're not ‘erudite.' They don't believe that they're better. They're just informed, and they're hard-working."

Titus was already one of America's hardest-working comics by 2000, when FOX picked up his sitcom Titus, based largely on Norman Rockwell Is Bleeding, a one-man show he wrote about his dysfunctional family. Stacy Keach portrayed Titus' father Ken, a boozy, bigoted womanizer with little regard for his son's feelings. "My mom (Juanita) wasn't around for the show," said Titus. "She had already killed herself." Juanita suffered from alcoholism, manic depression and schizophrenia. Ken died a year later, during the sitcom's run. "My dad hated it," Titus admitted. "He used to come to shows and he would sit in the audience ... and I'd look over where my dad was sitting, and he'd turn his chair around. One night I asked him, ‘What the hell are you doin'?' And he goes, ‘I can't believe they're laughing at you. I was there when those things happened, and they weren't funny.'" Titus grows emotional explaining his adult understanding of Ken. "My dad was never trying to be mean," he said. "He was trying to keep the family together with a crazy ex-wife ... and still get his bills paid and still sleep with six women a week."

Titus acknowledges his act has evolved to delve into more political territory, but prides himself on being approachable from both sides. He recalled a recent performance in Denver: "A guy's sitting in front of me, and he's pissed. And I go, are you a Trump supporter? And he goes, ‘Hell, yeah. Best president since Reagan.' And the audience started laughing hysterically ... and booing this guy." Titus called them off and grabbed the opportunity to unify the room. "If we come together, we win," he said simply. "If we stay apart, we lose." The Trump fan waited for Titus after the show. Titus recalled the man saying, "'You're by far the funniest political comedian I've ever seen, because your approach to this is different. You didn't make me wrong. You just made your point.'"

"We can laugh at each other's opinions and still have a beer," Titus concluded. "That's what we've lost in this country."

Christopher Titus, 7:30 p.m., Thursday-Saturday; 10:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, June 15-17, Tacoma Comedy Club, 933 Market St., Tacoma, $23.50-$33.50, 253.282.7203, tacomacomedyclub.com

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