Christopher Titus’ Three Favorite Jokes from His New Special ‘Carrying Monsters’

For Titus, personal trauma is always good comedy fodder
Christopher Titus’ Three Favorite Jokes from His New Special ‘Carrying Monsters’

In 2000, Christopher Titus released his special Norman Rockwell Is Bleeding. Hailed for its brutal honesty, Norman Rockwell Is Bleeding dealt with topics like his mother’s poor mental health and his womanizing father. It was such a hit that it led to the FOX sitcom Titus, which broke boundaries and changed the face of television.

Nearly 25 years later, Titus has debuted his latest special, Carrying Monsters, which is the closest thing to a direct sequel to Norman Rockwell Is Bleeding that he’s ever done. In addition to mining more material from his dysfunctional childhood, Titus used the special to deal with the tumultuous divorce from his first wife and the suicide of his sister. Neither might seem especially funny, but if you’re familiar with Titus’ brand of comedy, you know that he’s able to find humor in such darkness — in fact, it’s the key to him being able to process things.

Or as he tells me, “People always say to me, ‘How did you make it out of your life?’ Separately, I’d said to my wife at some point, ‘The only thing I can’t write about is my sister’s suicide.’ She’s a comic too, and she said to me, ‘Then you have to write about it.’ It was like a challenge — I knew she was right.”

Meanwhile, Titus explains, “The title Carrying Monsters comes from a Richard Pryor quote. Not on stage — he was just being interviewed one time, and they asked him why he writes what he writes about and he said, ‘Well, everyone carries their own monsters.’” 

With all that in mind, here are Titus’ three favorite jokes from Carrying Monsters and the equally tragic and hilarious stories behind them…

‘Babysitters cost three drinks an hour’

I went to bars with my mom when I was four because babysitters cost drinks an hour. Mom didn’t want to spend any other money on me; she wanted to spend it on alcohol, so I was hanging out in the bar with her. My first real memory as a child was when I was four — or almost four — and my mom hung out at these little cinderblock bars that are all over the San Fernando Valley.

There was one bar that was L-shaped and in the corner was this little stage. There was a guy with an electric guitar and a buddy with a snare drum, and mom left with one of them. I was drinking Cokes with bar cherries. I looked around, and she had disappeared. 

They’d left the drum set there, so I started playing the drums. Then I walked out the front door and got put in the back of an LAPD patrol car. We started driving around looking for mom. The cops eventually found her — they came back around, and she was standing in front of the bar. They reamed her in front of me before giving me back to her. The joke I do is, “You’re a horrible mother! You should be nowhere near a child! Now take him back inside and get him some bar cherries and martini olives so he has his fruits and vegetables!” 

‘As a kid, when I smiled, my mouth looked like a bunch of people trying to escape a nightclub fire’

My teeth were always bad. When I do this bit, I point to my mouth and say, “These aren’t mine. I mean, I own them now.” My whole life I had bad teeth. As a kid, when I smiled, my mouth looked like a bunch of people trying to escape a nightclub fire. Then I opened a beer bottle with my teeth when I was 16 and I broke off two teeth. I did nothing about it until the smell hit; after that, they pulled everything out to the root. I had a weird bridge, and the dentist made sure to leave space under it so I could store food for the winter like a squirrel. 

I used to travel with Krazy Glue because my veneers would pop off all the time. Now I have serious implants that are legit. As I’ve said on stage, “My mouth is a Tesla S.” It all came from a kid whose dad told him, “You don’t need braces,” because dad had to spend more money on women.

‘I’m A Loser Burger’ and ‘What’s the Point Shrimp Poppers’

There’s so much sappiness and pathos I could have put in this show. Most of the time, when a comic does a one-man show, they really lay on the sappiness and the pain of it, but you don’t have to — it’s already there. So I decided that, no matter how dark the material got, I had to find a funny way out of it. The hardest stuff to do that for was my sister’s suicide. 

That ended up being a theme restaurant for people who are suicidal. The bit basically goes like this, “Forty-seven thousand people commit suicide in America every year. That’s half a stadium, and what those people didn’t realize is that they had 46,999 friends that shared their common interests. We could stop suicide if we could just get suicidal people to meet each other. We need a place where suicidal people can hang out — like a theme restaurant.”

Then I just go, “Sadly’s — come on down to Sadly’s. When you order the ‘I’m A Loser Burger’ and ask for cheese, we refuse to put it on. Try the appetizers, go for the ‘What’s the Point Shrimp Poppers.’ We have plenty of parking here at Sadly’s, but we tow everybody. So bring your suicidal depression down to Sadly’s and meet somebody just as depressed as you are. Become best friends and have so much joy in your life you make other people want to kill themselves. Sadly’s, a great place to hang.”

Comedy has given me the ability to step outside of things — observe it and not judge it, as opposed to being in it and having it ruin my life. With my sister’s suicide, writing about it let me step outside of it a little bit — I can’t say I’m over it, I miss my sister — but because I’m outside of it, it gives me insight into it. 

Scroll down for the next article
Forgot Password?