Comedian Carmen Christopher is known for appearances on hit shows such as FX’s The Bear, Netflix’s I Think You Should Leave and HBO’s High Maintenance, among other notable credits. And on Sept. 12, he’s bringing his first stand-up comedy tour to LO-Fi Brewing.
Christopher said he’s excited to deliver his off-the-wall, absurdist brand of humor and guarantees a funny show.
“My humor is very much like a heightened version of a dumb version of myself. I really enjoy playing the fool,” he said. “I don’t necessarily like to point the finger and make fun of somebody. I’d rather embody the person that we want to make fun of.”
He added a Charleston stop on his Waverunner Tour, thanks to the help of local comedy producers Henry Riggs and Maari Suorsa (known as Nameless Numberhead), the masterminds behind Charleston’s favorite alt-comedy show, Rip City. Christopher met Riggs and Suorsa while the three were training and performing in Chicago’s comedy scene in the mid-2010s.
Christopher started in comedy around 2015, and he said comedy saved him from a boring career.
“I was working in sales in Chicago, a corporate job. And literally on the first day, I looked around, and I couldn’t believe that this is what my life was going to be,” he said.
“I happened to live a block from Second City [comedy theater], and I’d walk by it every day. Eventually I just signed up for classes to get into comedy. At the time I was telling everybody that I was doing it to help with my sales. But the reality was, in my mind, I was set on doing comedy.”
Four years later, he moved to New York City and continued perfecting his craft. In 2020, The New York Times called him a “stand out in New York’s weird comedy scene.”
When the pandemic hit, Christopher decided he didn’t want to miss a chance to perform his then-current stand-up material. So he took a 75-pound speaker to the streets of New York City to perform and film a guerilla stand-up experience, which ultimately became his debut comedy special, Street Special, and was purchased by streaming service Peacock.
“I didn’t want to come out of Covid and still be doing the same material. So I thought I should just film it. I was like, it would be funny if I got a speaker and just did it outside on random street corners and for people who were outdoor dining. I basically did stand-up for people that did not ask me to do stand-up. And that humiliating layer of it I thought was really funny.”
Since that experience, Christopher has leaned more heavily into his comedic act as “the fool,” a heightened version of himself. It’s no secret that comedians must have thick skin, but Christopher’s skin has got to be nearly impenetrable after performing for the toughest crowd of all: the streets of New York.
“There’s a lot of people that walk around New York with speakers playing music, and I’m just always like, ‘How do you do that? That’s so embarrassing.’ But that embarrassing part is exactly why I thought it would be funny.”
The Peacock special led to bigger opportunities, like guest appearances on comedy shows and even appearing on Late Night with Seth Meyers to talk about the experience. But Christopher said those credits really don’t matter when it comes to performing stand-up.
“I just do what I do. The first moment you walk out, you might have some grace because you’re on a TV show they like, but ultimately, it’s sink or swim. You just have to be funny.”
Catch Carmen Christpher for one night only at LO-Fi Brewing at 8 p.m. Sept. 12. Tickets cost $22 in advance or $35 the day of the event. Tickets are available at citypapertickets.com.
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