Funnyman Chip Chantry gets serious about StorySlams
First Person Arts StorySlams are about to get even funnier. We are thrilled to announce Comedian Chip Chantry as our new official host for Slams at L’Etage!
When you think of L’Etage, you probably think of a seductive and intimate little spot known for its warm vibe, mood lighting, iconic beaded velvet stage curtains, and of course the crepes. Since First Person Arts started Philly’s first StorySlams back in 2007, story lovers have packed L’etage every month, sometimes sitting on the stage and rubbing elbows with friends, and friends they haven’t met yet.
Now, Chip Chantry, Philly’s biggest up-and-coming comic, will be a permanent fixture in the venue voted best nightclub and cabaret.
FPA: You’ve opened for some big names like Louis CK, Bob Saget, and Dave Chappelle. What’s is like sharing the stage with a comedy legend?
CC: It’s great! But at the same time, you’re still just doing your job. You have to go make people laugh. Once you’re on stage, there’s really no difference. I will say that the people who come to see a big name comedian are generally really excited to be there, which make for great crowds. And that excitement is tempered by the understanding that I am literally the only thing standing in the way of them seeing their favorite comedian.
FPA: How’d you get your start in comedy?
CC: I wanted attention, and I’m not very good at playing the guitar.
FPA: What was your most memorable experience while performing?
CC: It’s pretty much all a blur, but the first time I performed, I remember feeling the laughter hitting the stage for the first time. It almost knocks you over when you get our first big laugh. I’ve been chasing that dragon ever since.
FPA: Where was the strangest/weirdest/most unexpected place you’ve ever performed?
CC: I had to do a show once at a swimming club. We got there, and it was AT the pool. It was dusk, people were sitting on blankets and lawn chairs next to the pool, and we performed from the other end of the pavilion.
And would you believe that it was one of the best shows I’ve ever done? Well you SHOULDN’T, because it WASN’T. It was terrible. Comedy is like being naked–it should only happen indoors.
FPA: How do you keep your content fresh?
CC: You have to write constantly, or you start to hate your material. The more you perform, the faster you’ll get tired of what you’re saying. So you need to keep your eyes and ears open everywhere–the grocery store, the gym, walking down the street. You start to see comedy all around you. You just have to figure out a way to convey it to the people in the crowd.
FPA: Do you rehearse your jokes in the mirror?
CC: I’m going to be honest–I can’t see my own reflection when I look in the mirror. Don’t tell anyone. I’m sensitive about it.
FPA: What would you say to someone who secretly wanted to get up on stage and tell a story, but might be a little nervous or on the fence?
CC: STOP THINKING ABOUT IT AND DO IT. NOW.
FPA: What would you tell some of Helium’s emerging comics to encourage them to try performing a story at a StorySlam?
CC: It’s a lot of fun! And comics are storytellers, so we can always work on what we do. Plus, guys, it’s STAGE TIME.
FPA: What would your dream StorySlam theme be, and what story would you tell?
CC: Being a comedian, I love hearing (and telling) stories about hilariously awful shows people have done. Sitting in the green room with other comics talking about horror stories is the best. And I have too many fun/awful stories to pick from right now.
FPA: Do you get butterflies before you go up on stage?
CC: Not really anymore. Just more of an impatience to just get onstage already. But when I started, I could barely eat the day leading up to the show.
FPA: Give our performers a storytelling tip!
CC: Connect with the crowd. Look at people. Make it intimate. Pretend you’re telling your story to one person.
FPA: What do you love most about hosting FPA StorySlams?
CC: I get to be an audience member for most of the show, and hear great stories.
FPA: What should audiences know about you that they might not already know?
CC: My real name is Viktor Sokolov. I was born in the Soviet Union in 1938. I am holding a package that contains very important information. We must talk immediately.
First Person Arts presents Philadelphia’s premiere StorySlams 2nd Mondays at World Cafe Live and 4th Tuesdays at L’Etage. For more info about you can tell your story, click here.