What are you working on now and how does the piece in Conflux relate?
My main current pursuit is helming a public-access television show that’s streamed worldwide and known for being out-of-the-box and inclusive of anyone. The Magic Bus of Stories event that I’ll be speaking about at Conflux has led directly to the public-access project I’m consumed with now. The Magic Bus of Stories provided an insane level of access for participants into my own life ranging from childhood to modern day, and the level of connection this created between myself and the participants as well as between the participants themselves, completely redefined my focus to always incorporate the idea of shared, two-way experiences into everything I do. The television show stages a different event each week, and our best shows aim to involve people live in the studio, with events happening on air that are triggered by callers on phones, and that incorporate the reaction of people watching in real time on the internet as well.
What interests you in working in public space? what are some of the challenges you face making public work?
As a comedian, I work to make people happier via laughter. I have made every effort to combine my own narcissistic desire to put my name and face on my projects with a very honest desire to make my work about connecting like-minded people, who often identify as outcasts, with one another. In the same way that music builds scenes, and musical genres attract like-minded people, different wings of the comedy universe can do things as well. My efforts to stage things in non-traditional venues like moving buses, my own home, and a public-access television studio allow me to build environments that the public has full access to and where there are far fewer divisions between performer and audience than any traditional comedy venue. My work as a comedian has often been compared to performance art as it involves less and less of a fourth wall and aims to include as many people as possible.
There are far fewer challenges for me to work in these realms, as being a comedian and finding opportunities to stage things more publicly than usual doesn’t lead to as many legal and social barriers as people who work in other mediums might face. I hope more and more that I can find opportunities to bring portions of my world to unexpected places in similar ways.
Any great adventures you’ve been on recently?
Tomorrow I head to Brazil on a vacation I planned on a whim. Ask me when I get back.
Check out more here: www.thechrisgethardshow.com, @ChrisGethard