By Jason Tanamor
“Stand-up comedy is the bastard child of freedom of speech,” Chris Porter said. “You can say pretty much anything on stage without any repercussions.”
And Chris Porter should know. The comedian has been saying “pretty much anything on stage” for more than 10 years now. His influences include Richard Pryor, Dave Attell and Lewis Black. “But I don’t want to be reminded of someone else or look like someone. I try to be as original as I can be,” Porter said.
His act, self-described as “sex, drugs and rock n’ roll,” has been featured on the National Lampoon network, “Last Comic Standing,” and the Comedy Central Live tour. A combination of both written jokes and spontaneous material, Porter said the funny stuff comes from the heart. “If it’s too thought out it’s too wordy or hackneyed. Sometimes I’ll have a premise in my head for weeks at a time but then, it takes a while to cultivate a joke,” said Porter. “I don’t just sit at a desk and write. Sometimes it’s hard and sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes I say, ‘I can’t believe I get paid to do this.’”
The comedian began doing stand-up as a nineteen year old in college. A Business and Computer major, Porter was drawn into the business by a friend from high school. “He’s kinda crazy, he’s easily influenced by the media. He saw a stand-up show and wanted to do it. He called the comedy club up and asked how to become a comedian,” said Porter. “Then he called me and told me I should become one too. I said, ‘No,’ but then I saw him perform, and realized I could do it. The first time up, I got hooked.”
Although Porter has had a successful stint in comedy thus far, it doesn’t mean he hasn’t seen his less than spectacular times on stage. “I played an arena, it held 15,000 people and only 75 people were there,” Porter said. “I’m not good at math but I don’t think it was even 1%. It was after a hockey game and everyone left. No one stayed for me.”
The Kansas City native, who now calls Los Angeles his home, left his home town to pursue bigger things. “I explored all I could in Kansas City, I started to plateau a little bit and I didn’t like it. There was nothing my agent could do until I moved to L.A.,” Porter said. “I want more national exposure, a comedy special, and a sitcom would be nice. Just get my name out and make more money doing stand-up to support my family, extended family, and make a comfortable living.”
However, Porter is grateful for his time spent in Kansas City. “I met a manager two years into stand-up. He pushed me along and helped with getting contacts. I’m not with him anymore but he was a big part of my getting started. I got lucky,” said Porter.
Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He is also the author of the novels, "Hello Lesbian!" and "Anonymous." Email Jason at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jason Tanamor