Chris Powell was doing well for himself in his hometown of Detroit. He hosted many large scale events and did a lot of public speaking engagements; he worked for a major advertising agency that included several Fortune 500 companies as its clients; he also ran his own marketing company that handled small accounts including rap music artists.
But somehow, all that success wasn’t enough to keep him content.
“I was working super late nights in advertising and marketing, yet I realized I wanted to be recognized for all the brain power that I was putting into those intellectual properties, and I didn’t feel the public was privy to who were the people that were making all of this possible,” he said during a recent phone interview.
Chris Powell decided to rebrand himself has CP
So Chris Powell decided to pursue a career in comedy and rebrand himself into the persona of “Comedian CP”.
“Early on, I really understood what comedy was all about, and how it can deal with so many taboo topics. Comedians are like doctors; we are allowed to go into the bottom of society and bring life into these taboo topics,” he said. “There’s a lot of power in words. And if you don’t put enough empathy into those words, you might as well throw it all away. I always wanted to be that person who is always known to be funny.”
Comedian CP persona
“As for the Comedian CP persona, it was an opportunity to turn it into another brand and it really blew up into a much bigger thing,” he added.
And the Comedian CP brand really worked out well for Powell. He used his experiences growing up on the mean streets of Detroit into the animated FX series “Brightmoor”; he had a recurring role on the hit Fox drama “Empire”; he is developing a new series that will lampoon the college football world called “The Bud Gellerson Show”; and he has become one of the most popular comics to emerge from the Motor City. And Comedian CP will make his second appearance at Just For Laughs as part of the line-up of the mega-popular Nasty Show for a 10-day run at the MTelus from July 17-27, along with fellow nasty comics Bobby Lee, Big Jay Oakerson, Bonnie Macfarlane, Jessimae Peluso, and Andrew Schulz.
“I performed at Just For Laughs for the first time back in 2017, and it was one of the best times of my comedic career,” he said. “This is like the all star game of comedy, where you really have to perform at a high level.”
Andrew Schulz’s career
Early in Andrew Schulz’s career in show business, he found a degree of success in television, appearing on numerous shows for MTV, Hulu and HBO such as “Guy Code”, “There’s Johnny!” and “Crashing”, to name a few.
However, it was a career in stand-up comedy that Schulz set his sights on; however, he believed the industry became a roadblock towards fulfilling that ambition.
Schulz filmed his own special
“Everything I did on TV was so that I could perform stand-up, but the industry never let me in. It was like if I wanted to get a spot on a major comedy showcase such as New Faces, I had to have a network deal and two TV shows on the air,” said Schulz in a recent phone interview. “I felt that it was made absolutely clear to me that no one would give me a comedy special, so I decided to film my own special.”
Using his experiences in TV and comedy, Schulz filmed a special in four New York comedy clubs that related his experiences of what it was like to be a stand-up comic in New York City. “The networks said no to it, so I decided there must be a different way into the business,” he said. He produced a shorter, 15-minute version of the special called “4:4:1” and had it air on YouTube in September of 2017, and got over 1.4 million viewers.
“I also decided to post a comedy clip on social media such as YouTube, Twitter and Instagram every week for a year, and these 2-3 minute bits got an average viewing time of about two hours per person. And when I did my second self-released comedy special, where I toured in five countries, it attracted between 4-5 million viewers, which is unreal,” he added.
Just For Laughs Nasty Show
Schulz, who will be appearing at Just For Laughs as part of the Nasty Show, uses blunt, to the point material that deals with many topics that are relevant and identifiable to his audiences out of a sense of respect for them; he also believes that these days, people come to comedy clubs for a dose of edgy humour because they like their comedy as, in his words, “f*cked up funny.”
“Comedy doesn’t have to be right. It can be at its funniest even in the shittiest of circumstances,” he said. “It’s like a street joke that is passed on throughout the years that always deal with the same topics such as murder, homophobia and sexism, in which these horrible ideas are pasted onto the old street jokes. That’s why humans are drawn to the idea of ‘f*cked up funny”.
Besides the Nasty Show, Schulz will also headline his own show during the OFF-JFL series. Called “Inside Jokes with Andrew Schulz”, it will invade the Katacombes Club on July 25 and 27, in which Schulz and some of his fellow comics will workshop their most nasty and divisive material, and audiences will discover how funny material can evolve from some of the most controversial topics around today.
“I know I will probably have to use a lot of sexual-related material for my set at the Nasty Show and reserve the more topical stuff for Inside Jokes, such as how I would deal with the U.S.-Mexico border crisis, in which I suggest that ICE use the McDonald’s example and create pits filled with plastic balls for the kids at the detention centres,” he said. “I know it’s a touchy opinion, but life can be angry and miserable, and we are so lucky to have the opportunity to laugh at a bunch of jokes.”
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