"'Dysfunctional.' I'm not dysfunctional. I'm evolving to the next level."
Christopher Titus (born October 1, 1964) is a comedian who has done work in many different areas of entertainment, but primarily in Stand-Up Comedy. Born in Newark, California, he began stand-up at the age of 18 with a simple gag he did at his high school about how to properly throw freshmen into the garbage can.His growing up experience was on the extreme end of what most people would consider "dysfunctional." His father, Ken Titus, was a hard-drinking, chain-smoking womanizer with a string of failed marriages note married six times, divorced five times, and slept around near-constantly that each ended with Ken getting cleaned out of everything he had and constantly fighting for custody of his children, professionally a salesman and a former National Guardsman. He used Tough Love (that sometimes bordered on self-esteem-crushing sadism) to set Titus and his brother, Dave, straight note Titus also had a blood-related sister named Shannon (who lived with Titus's mom and was there when Titus's mom murdered her abusive second husband during Thanksgiving dinner in 1986) and a few step-siblings thanks to Ken's multiple marriages. His mother Juanita (Ken's second wife; maiden name Holmes) was a concert pianist, spoke four languages, was a Supreme Chef (especially around Thanksgiving), had a 180 IQ, and competed in so many beauty pageants that she qualified for Miss California back in the 1960s. Despite her high intellect, stunning beauty, infectious charm, and amazing talent, she was also a manipulative, mentally-ill note Juanita was diagnosed with manic-depressive schizophrenia, though the TV show depicts her mental illness as paranoid schizophrenia mixed with dissociative identity disorder, as she always feared that aliens were after her and she often thought she was other people alcoholic who never took her medication (choosing instead to drink alcohol to medicate it herself — which made her violent outbursts something akin to what you would find in a comic book supervillain) and could convince everyone — including mental hospital board members — into thinking she had her mental illness under control, only for her to fall into another psychotic episode note Juanita's second husband was shot to death in 1986 after he beat her up on Thanksgiving for not having dinner done when he got home from work. After her husband tossed her turkey against the wall, Juanita tried to scald him with some boiling mashed potatoes. The guy got so pissed, he decked her in the face and pounded her to a bloody pulp. Juanita then staggered upstairs, got a gun, came back downstairs, and shot the bastard, because, "...she didn't want him to do that again." Not only was Juanita acquitted of all murder charges, she won the guy's life insurance policy and the acre behind his house that he wanted to use as a shooting range — not a good idea when you're an abusive jerk who's married to a manic-depressive. Christopher said that for him all this was just normal and it wasn't until much later in life that he realized it was wildly unusual.One of the defining moments of his life and a key part of his stand-up routine is the fact that as a teenager he was a big partyer (taking from his Dad, who had that Jekyll-and-Hyde style personality flip whenever he drank alcohol) but quit drinking and partying when he fell into a bonfire and (barely) survived. As he says "Does anyone ever shudder with the crap that you pulled off and didn't die?"When he started traveling the stand-up circuit, he kept his material in the realm of observational comedy of the "Hey, you ever walk into a store and see..." type. He was scared of showing the audience just how extreme he could be but under the demands of his manager he began edging in his dysfunctional family life into his act. Specifically, he talked about how scared he was that his mother's insanity could be genetic and that he wanted to stay away from utensils while guests were around. The results surprised him as the audience loved it and if he ever went back to the "walk into a store" routine they would immediately turn off. Eventually his material encompassed everything about his family and the stuff he had to deal with.Now he considers his routine to be "Therapeutic Stand-Up" in that being able to joke about such topics as domestic violence, mental illness, suicide, family dysfunction, domestic abuse, and alcoholism has allowed him to accept those things in his life, try and make peace with his father, and move on to make sure that no one has to suffer like he did. He started to make it big in the late 90's with some TV guest appearances and becoming a featured performer at various comedy clubs.His act caught the attention of FOX television producers Jack Kenny and Brian Hargrove who met with him about adapting his act now named "Norman Rockwell Is Bleeding" into the television show Titus, which aired in early 2000. They took many of the bits of the act and adapted it into entire episodes, and other episodes were directly inspired by events from Christopher's life. Kenny and Hargrove had experience in theater arts and Christopher is a stage performer, so much of the show was structured in that way. It was a remarkably well-conceived and well-received television show and lasted a respectable 3 years, but because of the material it was considered "pushing the envelope" too much and was canceled. Christopher said he prefered the show was canceled due to its content rather than being "not funny" (you will still find people praising the show on youtube). He's recently admitted that he mouthed off to the President of Fox at the start of Season 3 when she gave him a new direction she thought the show should go in. He proceeded to explain how horrible an idea it was, but did it in front of her entire staff, making a life long enemy.After the show he continued to make random TV appearances but regularly made the stand-up circuit. He had a role in the drama Big Shots that lasted only one season due to the 2007-2008 Writers' Guild strike (which took down a lot of up-and-coming shows and put a lot of Long Runners on hiatus until February 2008).Outside of his professional career he is an avid car fan (reflected in Titus) and close friends with legendary car customizer Chip Foose.He is also involved with a popular podcast he started in early 2011, named the Combustion Lounge with the "Armageddon Update" where he takes some horrific recent news story and proceed to talk about the moral values involved. It is done weekly with longtime friend "Stuntman Tommy" Tommy Primo and his fiance "Bombshell Rae" Rachel Bradley (his new girlfriend as described on "Love is Evol.")
The Comedy Specials that Christopher Titus has made include the following:
Norman Rockwell is Bleeding (2004): Covers most of his childhood and the early part of his adult life. Key moments involve living with his hard-assed father, having a schizophrenic mother, realizing that his family is dysfunctional, the bonfire incident, taping his dad's drunken stop at a checkpoint during a news broadcast (which he showed every holiday until Ken's death), dating an abusive Jewish girl who was as brainy, manipulative, and bipolar as his mom, dating Erin (and the fight that ensued when they temporarily broke up and both of them cheated on each other), his mom's abusive relationships with other men (including when she murdered her second husband in 1986), and dealing with his mom's suicide (including the incident in which he freaked out on an airplane after smelling a turkey dinner).
5th Annual End-Of-The-World Tour (2006): Covers his time as a parent and how scared he is that the world is falling apart after the September 11th attacks (his daughter was born late August of 2001, making him feel his timing was way off). Key moments involve both the decision to have kids and the birth of his daughter, the need for an apology to be made to fix the race barriers, the lack of definitive decision making in both the government and religious issues (pedophile pastors), events in raising his kids, and his father's death and bizarre funeral.
Love is Evol (2008): Covers the time after he had divorced his wife and his thoughts on the emotional baggage of trying to find love and why people stay with mates who are either unfaithful or abusive. Key moments involve his failing marriage to "Kate" note Actually Erin, but, as he mentioned in the special, he had to call her "Kate" for legal reason, the circumstances behind the divorce, Titus's near-suicide after finding out that his wife cheated on him with two guys, Titus's wife claiming abuse during their divorce trial, and Titus meeting a newer, younger girlfriend with a loving, functional family (which confused him intensely).
Neverlution (2011): Thematically similar to "5th Annual," Titus now talks about how badly America's ethics, morals, and common sense has slipped in the last decade (specifically when George W. Bush was elected in 2000). Topics and stories include how America is too complacent to have another revolution, Barack Obama being elected in 2008, how badly America's parenting has gotten in 10 years (specifically when meeting a rude, fat kid at the DMV whose father had no idea how to discipline him), America's dependency on prescription medication and technology, a revelation he had about his father at a self-help seminar, and the idea of a "Late Term Abortion" law note :As in, "up to the first 22 years" late term.
The Voice in My Head (2013) [a.k.a Epic Fail]: Less politically and emotionally charged than his previous specials, the heart of the show revolves around six stories of his greatest "epic fails," from mocking a military attack dog to a one-time high school job being a low-rent Darth Vader for birthday parties to his "$30 million mistake" clashing with the head of FOX and costing him his show (which coincided with the discovery that his wife was stealing his money and cheating on him, which led to the divorce). This culminates in what he considers his greatest moment, meeting Bruce Springsteen and discovering the man was a fan of his work, which coming off one of the worst years of his life (his divorce) it was a humbling and life-affirming experience. The special is only available on Titus' website and was completely self-produced, as Titus was sick of Comedy Central cutting his comedy specials for commercial time. 10% of the profits made on the DVD of his special go towards his charity The Insight Youth Project (focusing on helping youth from troubled and/or dysfunctional homes).
Declaration of War: Information unknown
Tropes present in Titus's work:
Abuse Is Okay When It's Female on Male: Subverted. Christopher jokes about the physical and mental abuse he had to take from his past girlfriends (and even his ex-wife), but the trauma nearly drove him to suicide and denouncing God.
The Alcoholic: Both of his parents (their divorce settlement included payment of their bar tab), but his dad especially (according to "Norman Rockwell is Bleeding," there are no pictures of Ken without a beer in his hand, from family pictures to pictures of him at parent-teacher meetings).
Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: His mother once showed up to his high school graduation in a pair of white thigh-high vinyl go-go boots and an Army jacket — without pants or underwear. "So either something was wrong with her, or she was commander of the Stripper Battalion."
Amicably Divorced: Averted. He is not on good terms with his ex-wife note Who lied in court saying that Christopher abused her and the kids just so she could sidestep the California "no-fault" divorce laws, which only allows for non-equal splitting of assets if someone claims domestic abuse. It was later found to be false., and he has doubts that such a thing is really possible. In Neverlution, he reveals that his divorce took five years to finalize and his ex-wife walked away with $2 million dollars in alimony (while Titus has custody of the kids).
Angrish: "I knew when my father could no longer form a word, I was about to visit a gray area."note A "gray area" was when his father got angry at him, and the next thing Titus knows, he's in third grade, making a hand turkey in arts and crafts class.
Angst? What Angst?: invoked Was initially very apathetic about his mom's suicide (though he and his dad were relieved that Juanita's suicide was just a suicide and no one else died along with her) and was annoyed when people urged him to feel sad that his mother was dead — until he had a mental breakdown on an airplane after smelling a turkey dinner. At the time this happened, a lot of people were on edge because of the Unabomber and what happened to the Oklahoma City building (and Titus added that, nowadays because of the 9/11 attacks, having a mental breakdown on a plane is the worst thing you can do, as his show later demonstrated).
His ex-wife "Kate" went after him with a knife during the years when their marriage was falling apart.
Badass: Read this man's life story and be amazed that he hasn't committed suicide, despite many hints he was tempted, or went off the deep end and became a crazed killer. Also his father survived four heart attacks (before dying from the fifth one), five divorces with all of his wives cleaning him out every time, and being married to a manic-depressive who never took her medication.
(When his audience isn't sure how to react to Titus's joke about how he was the one who hung his mom's psychiatric therapy art on the refrigerator): "You'd better lighten the fuck up. We're going a lot deeper than that tonight."
When talking about all the things that the Time Square Car Bomb terrorist did wrong: "I've been doing this for 25 years and I have NEVER been that funny!" Titus also described it as a "Jim Carrey movie" due to how ridiculous and full of Epic Fail it was.
"Be proud you're screwed up! But don't get too proud, like I am. I bet a guy in a bar that I was more screwed up than him...and he raped me. So I tipped him! I'm very competitive."
In Neverlution, Titus tells the audience that when he was kid, the people in his neighborhood believed in the phrase, "It takes a village to raise a child," as seen when a man in the neighborhood caught Titus (who was a kid at the time) setting cats on fire. As the man is dragging Titus home to his dad, Titus begs the man to lock him up in the man's basement and rape him rather than take him home to incur the wrath of his Jerkass father.
Brain Bleach: Titus' reaction to learning that his grandmother (Juanita's mom, not Ken) tried seducing his father a week after he'd married Chris' mother.
Bullying a Dragon: In The Voice in My Head, he tells a story of how he got to do some stuff with Navy SEALs at a compound in San Diego for a Comedy Central production. While readying to do an attack-dog simulation, he proceeded to make fun of the attack dog's name, Taiko, calling him "Taco" instead and doing stupid Mexican jokes (because, by his own admission, he's an idiot). The dog's handler responded by making the attack a little more vicious than intended.
Juanita's second husband, who had no qualms about beating up women, thought it was okay to hurl Juanita's turkey after coming home and having to wait fifteen minutes until it was fully ready. When you bear in mind that Juanita is a violent, manic-depressive schizophrenic who rarely took her prescribed medication, was an alcoholic, and tried and failed at killing her first husband (Ken Titus), is it any wonder that he got what he deserved (read: shot dead while Juanita was acquitted of all charges, won his life insurance policy and became owner of his shooting range)?
Calling the Old Man Out: When Titus was 17, he went through that phase where he wants to fight his father because he thinks he can take him. See Wimp Fight for how that turned out.
Cluster F-Bomb: In his podcast he discussed this trope, saying how he doesn't like filling up his language with harsh curse words like so many other comedians these days because it demeans any message he is trying to give, and he hates people who think swearing excessively makes them mature and intelligent. But this came after discussing the Josh Powell incident (the finale of the Susan Powell event) and Titus was so pissed off and swearing his friends of the podcast were making sure he was okay. Given Christopher's own experience with custody hearings both as a kid and with his own kids, it's understandable that would be a Berserk Button.
Country Matters: Discussed in "The Voice in My Head," calling a woman a "cunt" is only insulting to the .00001% who deserve it rightfully.
Dark and Troubled Past: His father was a verbally abusive jerk who went through women the way ordinary men go through tissues, his mom, despite her talent and intellect, was mentally ill and committed suicide, his sister was raised by his deranged mother and committed suicide after her boyfriend dumped her, his brother is a pot-smoking idiot who never amounted to anything, and Titus survived dating (and marrying) women who were just as bad (if not worse than) his mother in terms of being mentally ill and/or unfaithful. The only solace Titus takes from this is that (a) it toughened him up for the real world, (b) it led him to earn his happy ending in the form of getting custody of his kids and dating a woman who was mentally stable, and (c) he found humor in his horrible life and share it with others.
The Determinator: He took advice from a meeting with George Carlin to continually work on new material and not wuss out and rehash what you know works. For most comics, coming up with a brand new show every 18-24 months is unheard of.
Disability as an Excuse for Jerkassery: The friend he talks about in "The Voice in my Head", who turned up the disability "3000%"note flinging forks on the floor, intentionally knocking over glasses of water, rudely hitting on the offending waitress, etc. in response to a waitress who thought Disabled Means Helpless.
Titus: And my friend said, dead serious, "That bitch deserved it".
Disney Acid Sequence: In "Norman Rockwell is Bleeding," Titus tells the story of how he survived falling in a bonfire and was taken to an emergency "shack" where the doctor put him on painkillers (while still drunk). He describes seeing a world where everyone was a lizard, a "Stanley Kubrick/Charlie Brown cartoon" where everyone was spinning and spoke in that muffled trumpet noise that the adults on the Charlie Brown cartoons used as voices, and then sees the doctor who yells at him as Jesus.
Titus's mom committed suicide after spending a year in court-ordered psychiatric therapy and realizing that her mental illness was the reason why her life was falling apart. Fortunately, Juanita didn't take anyone with her when she decided to end it all.
His sister, Shannon, killed herself according to Love is Evol. Neverlution explains that Kirsten killed herself because her on-again, off-again boyfriend broke up with her permanently and she wanted to teach him a lesson in not toying with her emotions.
Titus himself was nearly driven to suicide when he found out that his ex-wife was cheating on him with two men (one of which was a 60-year-old man who was richer than he was), but he decided not to give Erin the satisfaction and instead took her to court so he can divorce her.
Titus also felt suicidal from the time he was ten to around his late-20s because he thought his father resented him for forcing him to sacrifice everything he had and everything he wanted to be just so he can be a single father.
Dumbass Has a Point: When the funeral director suggested a "rental casket" because Christopher's father wanted to be buried in a cardboard box (see The Fun in Funeral below), his brother, Dave, asked, "Who brought it back?". Christopher pointed out that it was a genius question.note Simply put, the casket is rented solely for viewing hours of the body, then the body's swapped into the actual coffin afterward
Dysfunctional Family: HOLY SHIT. Besides the jerkass, functioning alcoholic dad and the Ax-Crazy, mentally-ill, Driven to Suicide mom, Titus also had a brother who smoked weed (Dave), a sister who lived with Titus's mentally-ill mom, witnessed the murder of her abusive stepfather (and was probably within earshot when said stepfather regularly beat and berated her mentally-ill mom), and eventually killed herself as well, had a grandmother on his mom's side who tried to seduce Ken two weeks after her daughter (Juanita) married him, another grandmother (Ken's mother) who was cruel to Ken (just like Ken was to Titus) because she was in an emotionally abusive relationship with the man she loved note This is according to the Titus episodes "Grandma Titus" and "Houseboat", a distant relative who murdered six people during the 1920s, several family members who were addicted to perscription medication, an uncle who killed two people at his surprise birthday party (this was featured on the sitcom when Titus talks about massacres that started off with "Surprise!"), and another uncle who was a Mormon.
In "Norman Rockwell" he said that having a screwed-up family helped him deal with how messed up Real Life could be, even boasting of how proud he is to be dysfunctional. But being in a dysfunctional family (and having horribly dysfunctional in-laws note "Kate"'s parents were miserable, abusive alcoholics, her brother was a petty thug, and her sister was a sexually promiscuous drug addict. They all lived under one house because they were not mentally or socially ready to live out on their own.) skewed his idea of what was normal and acceptable family behavior and what wasn't (such as getting in a fistfight with his dad over losing his tools, driving his drunk father to his psychotic, manipulative mother's latest parole hearing, and having the cops appear at every family gathering). In "Neverlution" he comments that this wasn't the healthy mindset to have, especially after seeing how good his girlfriend's family was.
Earn Your Happy Ending: The Voice in My Head is one humiliating anecdote of Titus's life after another...until he ends it with a story of how he got to meet Bruce Springsteen and had "the greatest night of my life".
Also "Love is Evol." After Titus tells his crushing story of how his wife abused him and ruined his life, Titus rants that there is no God and he'll never find love again — until he met his current girlfriend (a 5'11" Diesel Jeans model with two college degrees and breasts implants that she actually bought herself) and, despite some embarrassing moments, has actually found love with a mentally stable woman.
Epic Fail: The Voice in My Head covers the greatest "epic fails" (in those exact words) in his life.
Freaky Is Cool: This contributed to some of his popularity growing up, as his house was quite popular for sleepovers. Why? Because his dad got divorced five times and all of his wives cleaned him out, leaving him with a wooden box, a 12" black and white TV, and a rubber raft for a couch. Not that the kids minded; they could use the raft to row to breakfast and be Captain Crunch for a day.
Functional Addict: Titus's dad. Despite spending most of his time drinking, smoking, partying, chasing skirts, and getting married and divorced several times, he never missed payments on the house or car, didn't deprive his kids of necessities or luxuries (and sometimes had to deprive himself of necessities and luxuries just so they can be happy), and always went to work.
The Fun in Funeral: His father's funeral, according to The 5th Annual End of the World Tour. Ken wanted to be buried in a cardboard box, invited everyone he pissed off in life to, well, piss on him (including his own son) while Willie Nelson's "Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain" played. They also charged a cover (but ladies got free admission). A friend of his father's said "It was either the best or the worst funeral ever".
Then there was what happened after his dad got cremated. Ken's last wish involved his ashes put in a douche bottle and a hooker who was willing to run him through one more time. Christopher tried to go through with it, and ultimately decided to take his brother, Dave, and sister, Shannon to spread the ashes all over several Victoria's Secret dressing rooms and all over the gambling floor of a Caesar's Palace in Lake Tahoe, Nevada (where they felt Ken's presence when Titus spread his ashes on a blackjack table and everyone at the table lost note which is how Titus lost all the money that was supposed to be for his community college education).
Gallows Humor: The driving force behind his stand-up routines is to joke about his crazy, often heartbreaking, life. He explains it as such in the final moments of "Norman Rockwell is Bleeding" that maybe things would have been better for his Mom if she joked about her messed-up life instead of letting it consume her (though, there was also the chance that Juanita still would have gone berserk by shooting everyone up with a high-caliber weapon. According to Titus, she was "Woo, out there!")
Titus praising Erin as being better than the briar patch of psycho-bitches he once dated in Norman Rockwell is Bleeding and The 5th Annual End of the World Tour, now that Love is Evol revealed that she was just as bad (if not worse) than the other violent, unfaithful psychos he had in the past.
The Heckler: It's happened to him plenty of times and he brings up individual moments in his podcast. "Neverlution" had a moment left in where a guy got upset over his anti-prescription medication rant and he destroyed the guy by suggesting he must have a lot of stock in one of the drugs. "The Voice in My Head" has an entire bit built around this, as he said the worst thing someone can do to a comic is not look at them or laugh because they are attention whores. So one of his Epic Fails is him being annoyed by someone who refused to make eye contact with him and he eventually started on one of his anti-heckler jokes and the audience goes silent. He found out later the "heckler" was blind.
Hoist by His Own Petard: When he talked about how his mother won her murder case and how her abusive husband kept guns around so he can teach her how to shoot. Not a good idea, especially if your wife is a violent, manic-depressive schizophrenic who is said to act like a Batman villain when she hits her manic mode (or, in Titus's words: "What a dumb ass! Here's a tip for ya, guys - if you're gonna beat [your wife], don't teach her how to fire the weapon!").
Hypocritical Humor: Titus' father, Ken, frequently gave him the "Drunk Driving Lecture" (occasionally when not needed. "Probably because I fell into a bonfire."), despite the fact that Ken always drank beer in his car sometimes on tap.
Then Titus remarks that maybe it wasn't Ken being hypocritical. Maybe it was helpful tips from the master.
In "Love Is Evol," Titus mentioned that his father stayed with his sixth and final wife because he "...didn't want people thinking he couldn't commit."
From Titus' Domestic Abuse-laden version of The Night Before Christmas (this was when he was with the Jewish girl who always beat him up and was heavily implied to be bipolar, judging by how she quickly went from loving Titus to wanting him dead): "So I summoned my manhood from bottom to top/And I screamed like a little girl, "I'm calling the cops!"
In a similar vein, when Titus finally slapped his abusive girlfriend after she cracked him in the face five times while he was trying to call the cops on her yet again, he found out that she was Too Kinky to Torture (the moment she was slapped, she gasped and shuddered orgasmically). Titus dealt with his revelation like a man...by locking himself in the bathroom before the cops showed up.
From the same special, he proclaims (when his friends were trying to get him to grieve over his mom's suicide): "Look dickhead! I am not, and never have been in denial! No!"
In Neverlution, Titus talks about how the pharmaceutical companies could make a drug that would make everyone happy, but don't because that means they'd have no control... a fact he didn't realize until he stopped taking his medication.
Interviewer: What's more screwed-up: America or your family?
Man on Fire: Almost died when he got drunk and fell into a bonfire. Had Titus not screamed and his idiot friends not rescued him in time, he would have been dead from the smoke inhalation collapsing his lungs.
Mood Whiplash: His routines are about his life and often include serious, heartbreaking moments. Some examples are his dad telling him about his mother's suicide, the death of his father, his daughter being born just a few days before the 9/11 attacks, his attempted suicide after finding out his wife was cheating on him, and his angry outburst that God doesn't exist after someone tells him that the divorce was "God's Will" (followed by God telling Him that the divorce happened so Titus can meet a woman who wasn't a psycho bitch nor had a dysfunctional family).
"Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: He reinforces in many interviews that while some jokes are not verbatim what was said (His father died before his show was canceled, so Papa Titus wouldn't have had a chance to make fun of Christopher for it) the events in Broad Strokes actually happened to him.
N-Word Privileges: In a roundabout way of using the trope, he brings up a friend and fellow comedian with Cerebral Palsy and how he realizes that some disabled people "use that against us." He also discusses the use of the word retard and why he uses it to describe people with all their faculties who are complete morons, cause there are many people who are disabled in one way or another who are actually more advanced.
Off the Rails: Some guy in the audience tried to heckle him in the Neverlution recording, where Christopher easily turned it around because he "does this for a living."
In "The Voice in My Head" has him describe how comics are trained to deal with the audience and compensate for a heckler, but he describes several moments in his career where things go south during a performance because of his own stupidity. Once because the manager himself interrupted the act with a random message, another time with a white trash Air Force guy and the worst had him mocking a blind lady because he thought she was being inattentive.
Overprotective Dad: He has fears about this regarding his new girlfriend's family, since her dad is a former Marine pilot and her siblings are in various high-end government organizations like the FBI and CIA. "If I piss this family off, you're going to hear about it on the news."
Precision F-Strike: He is very particular about his language, and in different venues you can see him trying to figure if a swear word is funnier than a less vulgar word. He isn't afraid of swearing, but you almost never hear a Cluster F-Bomb.
The horrible nature of whatever happened to him that he happens to be describing at any given moment almost counts in and of itself.
Real Life Writes the Plot: At least 75% of his material is things that happened directly to him, and many of the bits from his TV show not actually in his specials also actually happened to him (such as getting a call that his dad was dead because he hadn't left his room in three days — not even to get a beer, or buying a back-alley VCR and ending up with a box of bricks).
Refuge in Audacity: The story of how his father got custody of him. Ken was refused custody of Christopher for being an unfit father and was sent to Juanita, who wasn't a better parent, as she was mentally ill and an alcoholic. The child support payments she was supposed to use for Titus ended up going to her for booze, and Titus was sent to live with Juanita's parents in Michigan. Ken hatches a plot to kidnap his son — and inadvertently tells his plot to a man on an airplane who works as a district attorney. Rather than arrest him, the district attorney (after a few drinks with Ken) reveals that he's going through a divorce too and gives Ken some legal tips on how to convince the judge to let Christopher live with him again. Only in Christopher Titus's highly-outrageous world would this be considered a believable story and a plan that actually worked without any repercussions.
Running Gag: He makes each special with at least one or two:
Norman Rockwell- Falling into the bonfire, and doing a "Ha-ha-ha-ha, ha", getting progressively more genuine as the show progressed.
5th Annual- "I'm whitey, and I apologize" (except for when he talks about "pedophile cricifixions" with Catholic priests and he wasn't ready to apologize for some Middle Eastern jokes).
Love is Evol- Keeping eye contact on him so that couples in the audience aren't looking at each other
Neverlution- Referring to terrorists, then correcting himself with news channel names (since he thinks sensationalistic cable news channels are more of a threat to American society than any Islamic fundamentalist with a death wish)
The Voice in My Head- "And had I stop talking there..." and his comedy killed a baby.note During a show in Louisiana, a heavyset man interrupted the set by grabbing the mic to tell an audience member that her baby had a 104-degree temperature. Titus then tried to make a joke out of it, which didn't go over well with the owner of the theater— the heavyset man from earlier.
Second Love: His relationship with Rachel, which was the best thing to come out of his divorce. On his Podcast they explained that they were in the same stand-up group and once his divorce started going through she was there to give him "something pretty to look at."
In the "Love is Evol" show, his Inner Retard constantly berates him that he'll never be successful and he'll never find love now that "Kate" has ruined him.
In "Norman Rockwell is Bleeding", Titus tells the story of how he and the 5'1, 100 lb. Jewish girl (who suffered from extreme Mood Whiplash) had a fight at his dad's house on Christmas Eve while watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, "Which earned me a White Trash Black Belt."
"The Voice in My Head" has this trope at its core. It's more story oriented like "Norman Rockwell", but focused almost entirely on his own mistakes that result from his inner fool.
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: During his divorce hearings his wife claimed spousal and child abuse, which caught him completely off guard. "The only thing that has made me want to be a wife beater... is being called one! 'Your Honor, can I have 5 minutes to make her not a liar!'"
Sit Comic: His original show (Titus, which borrowed from Norman Rockwell is Bleeding) was probably one of the most faithful stage-to-TV translations ever.
Skewed Priorities: Played for Laughs when he was contemplating suicide, saying his wife can have the house... the kids... but pulls the gun away at thinking about the cars.
Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: invoked His routines work on a different level than most comedians, where he uses humor to prevent himself from getting a Victim Complex and to not look at your life as something outside of your control. He ends each routine with a moral based on what his dad taught him his entire life, "Quit being a wussy" and never quit fighting for your right to be happy.
Titus: What do you say you get down off that cross, use the wood to build a bridge, and get over it?
Along with this, the doctor that treated him after he'd fallen into a bonfire, able to get through Titus' drunken haze by getting in his face and yelling that, if he had inhaled when he fell, he would be dead.
In "The Voice in My Head", in detailing what he means when he uses the word "retard":
Every woman in here has a girlfriend who at point showed up at your house, "Oh my God, we got in a fight and he pushed me!"...two weeks later, not only she's seeing that dude again, she's moved in and agreed to marry him. Retard. Ri-hanna-tard.
That Came Out Wrong: In Neverlution, he talks about white people in the US being in "Slavery Rehab".
Titus: Only 398 more years to go! And we've got that monkey off our back! *Beat* That's not what I meant.
Tsundere: Thoroughly Played for Drama (and some dark comedy), he mentioned the psychological torture he took from a girlfriend who had no warning signs (other than the room smelling of ozone whenever she was about to go ballistic) when she would go from affectionate to physically abusive and blaming it on a sugar imbalance (which Titus thinks is an excuse she used to rationalize her bipolar disorder, but, given that there was a Titus episode that revealed that the abusive ex-girlfriend died, it could be interpreted that the sugar imbalance led to her death in some way).
Titus describing America on "The 5th Annual End of the World Tour," stating that America will kick another country's ass, then send them food.
Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Christopher describes his own relationships like this with both his ex-wife and his new girlfriend ("I actually knew my wife in high school, but she was in the 'Hot Looking Babes' group and I was in the 'Outcast Losers Who Fell into a Bonfire' group."). Although how well this translates into Hollywood standards is up for debate, Cynthia Watros (his co-star on Titus) has remarked she found him to be quite handsome. After all, he is 6'2, in decent shape and has some fairly square features.
Up to Eleven: invoked He was so pathetic after falling into the bonfire that his Dad was too shocked to beat him. "I had gone one step beyond getting my ass kicked."
Titus: But by the end of the argument - she would do something heinous, and then we'd argue, and then I would apologize to her!
Titus: We were in the car talking, 'cause he had to drive me home from the emergency room. 'Cause I had to get those stitches where you stabbed me, remember?
Nazi Girlfriend: Oh, it's always about you, isn't it? "I got stabbed, I got stabbed!"... And instead of that, maybe you could take a minute and ask yourself this question - "What did I do to get stabbed"?
Titus: Okay, uh... I was running away from you. 'Cause you had that knife. And then you were screaming "I'm going to stab you!" Then I got the front door, which you had locked. And when I turned around... you stabbed me.
Titus: Oh my God you're right! I am so sorry I made you stab me!
In "The Voice in My Head", Titus talks about celebrities who have "douchebag credits", who have built up so much goodwill that they would be excused from a heinous act. He talks about Tom Hanks and Bruce Springsteen having enough credits that if they punched an innocent bystander, the bystander would apologize to them.
"World of Cardboard" Speech: Every routine has one, but the one in "Neverlution" really changed his life. When younger Chris thought his father hated him (and often thought about killing himself because of it) because Ken was saddled with being a single father. At 28, Titus went to a self-help seminar and sobbed how his father hated him because he spent his entire life savings on trying to get custody of Titus back from his mentally-ill mom and her equally crazy relatives. Those at the seminar were stunned and told Titus that his father must have loved him because he sacrificed his entire life savings to get his son and stayed with him his entire childhood (something that seems to rarely — if ever — happen these days in Real Life). It was quite a revelation because Titus never did get along with his father, but the last five years of Ken's life they were best friends.
Your Cheating Heart: Papa Titus was married and divorced so many times because he was so good at getting women (some of which were married). The sitcom even showed that both Ken and Juanita cheated on each other often (with Juanita using her mental illness as an excuse to do it).
Christopher was later devastated when he learned his wife was cheating on him, especially since he had been faithful working in a business where "there were chuckle-sluts to be had."