Christi Chiello [Interview]

Today’s guest is an absolute gem of a human being, and a wonderful addition to the ever-growing roster of brilliant comedians we have had the great fortune of showcasing on our digital pages. It’s Christi Chiello!

I discovered Christi whilst enjoying our dear friend Amy Miller’s podcast, Who’s Your God, and happened to find Christi to be absolutely hilarious and seemed to be just a delightful person to listen to. And then I checked out some of her standup that was available on line, and I was completely hooked. She is poignant, she is clever, and must importantly….she is funny as hell! I knew after just a few minutes into watching one of her sets that I would really love to have her on the site.

And as luck would have it, she was willing to share a few words with us. Damn you are some lucky readers, if I could say so myself. She is an absolute delightful human being and has a pretty amazing story to tell. We learn about how she got into the world of performance and eventually standup comedy. How God plays an important role in her life (yes, not something we’d normally discuss in this heathen-centric atmosphere, but trust me, this is SO good!), and so much more. So let’s get into it Folks! Please enjoy some wonderful words from the brilliant Christi Chielo!

When did you first realize that you were a hilarious human being and you wanted to make people laugh for a living?

Oh wow, thank you!! I’m a middle child so I had to compete for attention a lot growing up. I’d copy my big sister who was very funny. My whole family is crazy funny, I’m not even the funniest daughter?  They just for some reason didn’t want to make a career out of being funny (smart).  In school I loved doing plays and because I have this weird-ass voice, I played a lot of comedic roles. I’ve wanted to be a performer forever. It think it’s in my DNA.

Can you tell us a bit about your first time getting up on stage? Did you do okay? And was there anything that you took from that experience that still affects your work today?

My very first time on stage was at a dance recital. I took dance classes with my older sister. She was amazing and I was… there. I was dressed up as a chicken for a tap routine. I was probably 6? And I was crying, hysterically backstage, just terrified to go out and perform.  But somehow my teacher got me onstage for the big show. I stood there, paralyzed while the other girls tapped around me. At the very end of the song I did one shuffle step. And that was it! SO- I’d say I nailed it! I don’t remember a moment when I got over my stage fright but a few years later I was doing plays and more dance recitals (where I actually danced). And within a few years the stage became the place I felt the most comfortable.

Having performed on stages all across North America, I am curious to know what have been some of the more unique places you have perform in? What are some cities that you found to be great places for comedy, that most people may not even think about ?

My favorite places to perform at are smaller, more intimate settings. I like my audiences to be on my lap, the entire show. I love doing crowd work and truly engaging with everyone and that’s harder to do in huge venues. I truly love Union Hall in Brooklyn, it has so much character and the people there are amazing. Ars Nova is my favorite theatre for sure. Hmm… once I performed on an elevator in Brooklyn, that was pretty crazy.  Shea Stadium is a super special place, too. Brooklyn has a lot of really bizarre venues. And to be totally honest- I haven’t performed outside the city as much as I’d like to! I’ve been to venues on the East and West Coasts but I’d love to travel to Austin, Portsmouth, Denver & Chicago and check out their comedy! Montreal is amazing in the summer because of JFL, there’s nothing like it.

I was watching some of your sets on YouTube recently, and I happened to notice that your growth as a comedian has been quite substantial over the last couple of years. I watched a video from 5 years ago, and it seems quite different than your recent work (both still very funny, BTW). Is this something that has just come from experience? Or have you had some sort of proverbial awakening over the last couple of years?

Thank God I am improving! I look at some of my old videos and want to jump off the Queensboro, I’ve really gotta take some of those down. I learned early on that I could get away with saying a lot of fucked up shit because of my voice & overall demeanor. So I went for shock value… all the time. It was pretty cheap!  As I continue to grow I’m learning to talk about the stuff I truly want to talk about.  Even if I’m not sure if people will understand or be on board.  A perfect example is my being a Christian!  Wow… transitions into your next question seamlessly and I did NOT even plan this!

I loved your appearance on our friend and past interviewee Amy Miller’s podcast Who’s Your God. It was so insightful and inspiring. I am curious to know though, has the fact that you are an outspoken Christian in your own right, had any affect on your career as a comedian? You’re obviously doing very well for yourself, but has anything been lost due to having faith in a business that seems to be more association with atheism or agnosticism? Or am I just making a bland assumption about a world in which I obviously know nothing about?

Thank you so much, I’m a big fan and I was so thrilled when they asked me to do it! I love your last question so much, it’s so honest, lolol. You’re not making bland assumptions at all, I think it’s a totally great question! For starters I think most people think I’m joking when I talk about Jesus.  I think they assume that because I approach the topic so lightheartedly, that I can’t possibly be serious.  But I am! My faith is super important to me but I don’t get preachy about it. Most of my friends are atheists and that’s fine by me- to each their own!  There’s a mutual respect which I think is important. To many Christians- I am NOT a Christian.  Because I sin like, all the time. But I have a relationship with God that is so powerful and unique to me. And God loves my fucked up jokes. He’s ROCL (Rolling on the Cloud Laughing). I’ll see myself out…

My God is everything I want him to be. He’s love.  And your God could be Sinbad? I mean, I don’t give a fuck. Whatever makes people happy.

And I pray for the day that I don’t have to ask this question, but I feel like the conversation needs to continue: How do you feel about the currently climate for women in comedy specifically? With the events that have occurred within the last year alone, are things getting any better? Have you noticed any difference in people’s attitudes towards women in the world of comedy?

I think things are for sure getting better because there’s so much more awareness. I also think there’s a lot more to be done! I’m just always rooting for women.  A win for one is a win for us all.  There’s so much room at the table. I’m proud to be a woman in comedy and I’m proud to support other women in comedy!

I understand you have a one-woman show entitled “It’s Christi, Bitch!” that will be coming to Ars Nova in NYC that sounds very intriguing. For those who haven’t seen it yet, what can folks plan to experience whilst viewing your brilliantly titled opus of a show?

Lolol that’s right. Me and Britney Spears, the 2 biggest genuises of our generation! Audiences can expect a RANGE of emotions.  It’s an hour of vulnerable storytelling, ACTING, heavy audience interaction aka CONNECTION, jokes, songs, laughter, pain…. I’m living and dying on the God damn stage.  It’s everything to me. It’s my story- that of a holy and horny girl just doing her god damn best.

What else does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

Everything’s always on my site christichiello.com & I’ll share on social media @christichiello.

Also look out for some fun developments with Battle of the Divas – the amazing long-running show I co-host with Matteo Lane at Union Hall in Brooklyn!

What was the last thing that made you smile?

YOU, wanting to interview ME.  Thank you. ❤

Find more information about Christi at christichiello.com, and check her out live shows coming soon!

Check out Christi at the following shows:

November 21st @ Comedy Connection, Providence, Rhode Island 8:00 p.m.

December 2nd @ Union Hall, Brooklyn, New York. 8:00 p.m. (It’s Christi, Bitch! show)

Advertisements

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: