Christopher Titus

Christopher Titus

Born and raised in California, Titus had what may appear to an outsider as a Dickensian childhood. While still a toddler, he was the subject of a custody battle that saw his mother ship him to live with her grandparents in Detroit. His father ventured to Michigan with a scheme to snatch the boy, but as fate would have it, on the plane to Detroit, he recounted his plans to his seatmate who happened to be the city's district attorney. The lawyer offered advice on how Titus' father could gain full custody. Once achieved, he moved the boy to Northern California When Titus was 12, however, he decided to run away to Los Angeles to live with his mother, but soon wanted to return home. After a year, he was allowed back to his father's. By his own admission, Titus was a heavy drinker as a teenager. He also had a few scrapes with the law, including stealing a postal box and driving with a suspended license. At age 17, after an accident in which he stumbled into a bonfire and burned the skin off his hands, Titus gave up drinking. Within two years, after a string of jobs, he began to hone his comedy act, appearing at open-mike evenings at clubs in the San Francisco area. It wasn't long before the rising comic was tapped to open for singers like Kenny Loggins and Michael Bolton.Like many comics, Titus began to entertain other offers and made his film acting debut in the horror flick "Killer Klowns From Outer Space" (1988) and made his TV debut as a guest on an episode of Fox's popular "21 Jump Street" in 1989. He also continued to hone his skills as a live performer with his standup act and took inspiration from Lily Tomlin's one-woman play "The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe." Titus began to fashion his own one-person stage show, "Norman Rockwell Is Bleeding." By 1996, he had begun to interject personal stories into his comedy routines finding the humor in oddball situations like his parents' divorce, his mother's emotional instability and his father's drinking. After the 1998 L.A. premiere of "Norman Rockwell Is Bleeding," Titus was courted by TV executives eager to find the next Jerry Seinfeld, Tim Allen or Ray Romano. 20th Century Fox Television tapped him with a development deal to create, produce and star in a sitcom, specifically impressed with Titus' brutal honesty and edgy tone. Drawing on Super-8 home movies and utilizing a black-and-white neutral space (indicative of the character's inner mind), the sitcom pushed boundaries when it premiered in March 2000. Critics fell over themselves to praise the show, the network enjoyed a hit and the star was able to achieve a goal of showing "that screwed-up people can handle anything."