I had a beer in a coffee shop with Chris White who will be recording his second album at the DC Improv this month and is the creator of the DC open mic website DCStandup. You may be curious as to why we drank beer at the coffee shop. Well, it’s an amazing story. You should be sitting down to read this. Anyway, I drank a pot of coffee before I left my house and was on the verge of a nervous attack. When I made it to the coffe housee I saw that they had beer there, so I ordered one. Then Chris appeared and said “I’ll have one too.” Then we sat down and had a nice conversation. Wasn’t that awesome!? Anyway, let’s get to know Chris.
Chris, 34, grew up in Philadelphia and moved to DC in 1998 months after he graduated from the University of Richmond. He got into comedy when he was 25 and did his first open mic on August 8, 2002 at the Wise Acres comedy club in Tysons Corner. He is a very precise guy and he said that his first time going up was well planned out before he stepped into the spotlight “I practiced a lot. I didn’t wing it. I had the week of work off before and all week long I kept writing jokes and practicing them in the mirror. I went on a hike one day and practiced over and over for four hours so that I could do it from memory.” Chris decided to make a website that listed all the open mics in DC after being establshied in the comedy scene for about five months. He noticed that it was really hard to find out when and where open mics were going to happen. “It was like pulling teeth.” He asked his brother to teach him some basic html coding and then presto. The site has been up and running ever since and has helped DC comics find places to master their craft. “It’s more for performers then I think it is necessarily for audience members.”
Comedy has taken him all over the country and has lead him to find the love of his life. He met his future wife at an stand up comedy contest. “If I never do comedy again tomorrow I can say well I got something out of it. I got married. That’s probably the coolest thing.” His most memorable performances have been the shows with the least amount of people. “I did a show at a marina at Clemson in South Carolina. It’s a stupid memory but I showed up at this lake marina and it got to be showtime and the headliner wasn’t there. There was like twelve people and I was like I guess I could put on a show. I was only supposed to do twenty minutes and performed for an hour and had a real good time.”
Chris was a full time comic for about seven years and during that time devoloped an interest in learning about dead presidents.”I traveled around so much that I started visiting hisorical sites. At first I would ignore stuff, but when you’ve driven through Ohio for the thirty seveneth time you’re like, ‘I guess I should check this out.’ So I went over to Rutherford Hayes’ house.” He started learning interesting facts about past presidents and writing them down on his website. He sent in one of his columns to the humor website McSweeneys for a contest and became their U.S. president columnist. “I have written about 19 or 20 columns exclusively about various questions about the presidents.”
Chris will be recording his second comedy album at the D.C. Improv on June 18. The show will be unique in that all the subjects he will cover in the show will be about subjects that people have challenged him to make fun of. For the past five years Chris has been asking friends, family and anyone that visits his site to challenge him to be funny about whatever topic they chose. “I thought it would be a fun thing to do. A challenge for me. Then I found these jokes that I was kind of doing on a dare were working in comedy clubs really well. Then I thought that it would be kind of fun to put all these subjects of what people have dared me to do and figure out how to weave them all together, because it’s such a weird group of topics.” He’s collected about 25 bits from topics such as “quadratic equations” to “fishsticks.” The doors open at 6:30 PM and tickets are $10.