Self-Immolation for Laughs

We agree with Christopher Titus when he describes himself as a “pain miner and observer of stupidity.” If there’s an exhaustively self-aware comic out there, it’s Titus. Fans of his eponymous, Emmy-nominated TV series will recall the Newark, Calif., native’s memoir style of comedy and the dark childhood recollections therein. Onstage it’s a similar formula: an alcoholic father, a mother who took her own life, custody battles, mental illness — it all informs his comedy-as-therapy approach. But his is a blue-collar brand of therapy, like that R. Lee Ermey Full Metal Jacket–spoofing “angry psychiatrist” auto insurance commercial. Check your tissue at the door. While his act is still intensely personal — his previous tour predominantly discussed his recent ugly divorce — Titus takes plenty of issue with the current state of the union. In his current solo performance, Neverlution, he suggests we change our attitudes toward, well, basically everything: politics, technology, children, prescription drugs, ad infinitum. Yet he’s reasonably cynical about such a revolution coming soon — he’s wont to remind us that Americans are by and large very large, couch-bound, and scared to death by Fox News: not exactly a formula for progress. But maybe Titus is the right man to address this American dilemma of ours. Without dysfunction in families, he’s fond of saying, there’d be no functionality for most people, him included. Maybe we just need a little more disorder in our politics. Maybe it’s time we start listening to crazy Uncle Titus, who has seen the symptoms of our collective disease and knows the cure.
Feb. 15-19, 8 p.m., 2011

 
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