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     Chili Challis

           Lifetime comedian, comedy writer and coach



My Blog

Blog

THE READER'S DIGEST VERSION OF MY CAREER

Posted on September 10, 2014 at 12:36 PM Comments comments ()

Funny how my life as a stand up was hardly ever just that. Performing stand up comedy; traveling, comedy clubs, (Funny Bones, Ice House, Comedy Caravan, Improvs, headlining Atlantic City, etc etc) one nighter's in bars, theaters, concert halls and colleges, that was the schedule at least I THOUGHT I'd have when I first started... and I did, but it was far too short.

So very soon into my career (very early 80s) I began opening for touring musical groups, Leon Redbone, Todd Rundgren, Kool and the Gang, the late Count Basie and his Orchestra, Jeffrey Osbourne and even a night with George Clinton and the P Funk All Stars. That was fast and furious, omg those shows to me seemed like colliding freight trains of atmosphere, experience and passion. I was in the back stage door, on stage in front of 1-3,000+ people and then it was over! I'm REALLY sorry there were no cell phones at that time to make an easy capture of pics of me with Rundgren, Redbone, Ray Charles even, damn! Those would have been so worth it.

Not to mention the Bill Hicks, Ron White, Sinbad, Ellen Degeneres, Kevin Nealon, George Lopez, Drew Carey, Ron White, Bill Engvall, Kenny Rogerson years. Oh well, I got memories. Why didn't it ever occur to me to carry around a freakin simple camera?? Actually I did get a few pics of my Sugar Ray Leonard and Drew Carey days & nights. Woohoo! I suppose there's much more but that is just a brief description of the high speed stand up comedy train I was on.

Then it REALLY happened. My joke writing and coaching abilities took over and I got set upon to sell my writing to others...many many others. Almost immediately my friends and comedy acquaintances began to ask me to spend some time with them in helping write their jokes and assist them in performing. I had a knack for it you might say.

It was at this time in the 80's I began to be asked to help host and run 'comedy camps', the forerunner of comedy classes and workshops. So I did. And I was good at it, very very good at it if I do say so myself. Born to do it as many would say. Not everybody can coach, especially comedy but I had a passion for it, nobody questioned that; they just took advantage of it and assisting many talents gave me my doorway to the inside of big time entertainment.
Along about that same time agreements with cartoonists to write for their national comic strips, TV animation and political cartoons etc such as: (Pulitzer prize winning political cartoonist Mike Peters- & 'Mother Goose & Grimm' cartoon strip-GRIMM Productions) began to happen.

Then came a little performing and writing relationship with a startup national syndicated radio show (Bob and Tom). I don't know whatever became of them. ;)

The almost impossible thing presented itself when NBC 'Tonight Show with Jay Leno' took notice of me in '92. I began to be paid by Jay Leno's production co 'Big Dog Productions' to run back to the hotel from my road gigs and watch the show so I could send jokes, sketches and Jay Walking ideas to Leno for the next day and week's monologues. That lead to a very rare all purpose staff AND sketch writing/producing job for this historical network billion $$ monster show, and before I knew it...it was 2002. I was more than ready to get back to my roots of stand up, developing and working with new talents. MORE than ready, you could say I was jonsing for it.

My career has been anything but easy however along the way I forged major friendships with Emmy and Pulitzer prize winners,
, award winning filmmakers, motion pic and high profile advertising commercial actor spokespersons, writers/creative consultants and TV producing innovators; not to mention famous TV and radio talk show hosts and well known performers, , nationally known authors, boxers & of course comedians....phew! Remember the kick ass Emmy winning soap opera with a cult following 'Passions'? (Google them) I knew some of those creative humanoids, I still do!! Some off beat twisted wonderful people actually.

And so so so many great talents you don't know yet but you will, have found and keep finding their way into my life thru my newly founded artist portal called the Comedy Dojo. I feel fortunate for it and it's not a new thing with me, I've been doing it for over 3 decades. Helping other talents is a BIG part of my history... and future.

So there's a VERY Reader's Digest review of my career so far, weird huh?
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