When it comes to Christopher Titus, you know you’re going to get one of two things from him during his comedy specials: 1) hilarious anecdotes about his family and his life, or 2) a treatise on the world’s ills and how best we can fix them. Regardless of subject matter, all of them are truth and wisdom writ large, with a large dose of smarts and a painful look at the most obvious of facts: we, as Americans, are a screwed up bunch. Angry Pursuit of Happiness, Titus’ freshly-released special, falls squarely in the second category.
Nothing Titus says is news to us; in fact, it’s downright maddening how spot-on he is with his observations on how far we’ve been pushed and how much we’ve been made to physically and mentally accept. However, he does it with a sharp eye for the darkness and inherent stupidity in each given situation. Gun control, mental illness, politics, morality, organized religion – they’re all merely fodder for Titus’ wit and ire as he sticks a shiv underneath the rib cages of every one of these topics.
What separates Titus from other comedians is his lack of malice. He doesn’t spit his truth with an aim to hurt; he seeks to expose the sillier side of us and make us question why we have to put up with so much nonsense. This isn’t your “Oh, isn’t this funny?!” kind of social commentary, like the kind so readily found in the opening monologues of late night talk shows. Instead, this is the 24-hour news cycle with the Band-Aids ripped off and the scabs oozing everything we’re afraid to say. Titus doesn’t flower up the utter gaucheness of our lives; he uncovers it, points a middle finger at it, and then scrutinizes it with a microscope the size of the Palomar Observatory.
Scathingly funny and daring, Angry Pursuit of Happiness doesn’t fail to call us out on our worst behaviors. Wearing pajamas in public, being *that* guy in the gym (the kind that calls way too much attention to himself), terrorism, drug addiction – even being self-admittedly “heinous” as he talks about the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman is not out of the question. In deconstructing all of these peccadilloes that seem to plague humanity, he also makes us wonder about how much of this is absolutely necessary to being happy, which is the show’s main theme.
Answer? Not a whole hell of a lot. To sum up what he so caustically talks about in the final third of the show, we do things more for other people’s happiness than we do for our own. And by the time we figure it out and start working toward our own personal happiness, that’s usually around the time when the curtain comes down on us. Capping the show off with a personal recollection of his father – closer in tone to his reminiscences of him in Love is Evol and The 5th Annual End of the World – Titus brings it home like only he can; with a surprisingly sweet story peppered with seriousness, gallows humor, and above all else, laughs.
Click here for a $9 download at his website. Available on DVD 12/15.