From Fox failure to must see 


News flash: "Titus" was canceled.

As with most situations on Fox, the hullabaloo was slight, bordering on nil, as Christopher Titus and his schticky television revolution were quietly swept under the rug. The comedy that showed dimensional realism didn't have to involve Ally McBeal's tongue morphing into a drooling red carpet held a certain charm. And it caught the axe in early 2002 without any real reason. The redneck nation mourned. And so did I.

But Christopher Titus is no stranger to hard knocks. On the phone from la-la-Los Angeles, the Puck-ish comedian is forever a catch and three-quarters. His mother was looney-binned prior to her suicide. His father is a cruel manipulator. I couldn't adore him more.

Currently working the comedy circuit -- including a stop at the Improv here this month -- Titus is also working the unlikely hour-long NBC pilot "Angel City Bonds," which is pending the proverbial pick-up.

"So it's like 'Nash Bridges?'" I Cheech.

"Well, it was actually called "Power of Arrest," which is the actual term the bounty hunters use, but people were like, 'So it's a cop show?'" he Chongs.

"You mean like "Law & Order," that's made a billion dollars? Like that?"

That's right, dear. Christopher Titus is mining the bounty-hunter muse for his new televised direction. Only, I don't know what a bounty hunter is. No matter. Christopher Titus is my boyfriend.

"So how do you go from Fox failure to 'Must See'?" I flirt, like Jessica Savitch might.

"I don't know, man," he mans. "There's a rumor in the business that you can just fail up. I guess it works. Your show gets canceled on the number four network and then the number one network calls you!"

Ooooh, I wanna be canceled.

Titus, once again, is writing and producing his own flavor of flair, making white trash matter while kicking tires and cursing fate. It's more charmed life about not having a charmed life.

"Shit! Hey, the more things are crap, the better they are!" he spits up. "And, considering that this is a guy who loves his job and loses it because it's ripped out from under him."

"So it's the new "Nash Bridges,"" I Don Johnson.

"Oh god" he deflates. "No, we're going for "48 Hours" and "Midnight Run." You're gonna kill the show before it get's out!"

Precisely. I'm still hedging bets on the "Titus" reunion, or at least a revelatory "E! True Hollywood Story" involving cocaine sex and gay rumors. Work with me.

"It was doing great. And no matter what they did to it, because they moved it every year, we continued to be the highest rated live comedy ever on "Titus," I mean Fox," he stumbles. "Then they got a new president, and we never really hit it off. It's my fault. I should have at least faked respect."

"But Fox seems like such a nice monster. D'oh!"

"You didn't work for them for three years, my friend," he spikes my drink. We're friends now! "Fox had 14 presidents in nine years, and they canceled "X-Files," you know. I felt like I was walking with a target on my back."

"Couldn't you play the game?"

"I do now my friend," he friends again. "Trust me, babe. I'm actually taking the Courtney Cox Hollywood seminar."

Took it. Ended up Springsteen dancing in the bathtub while a flaccid Matthew Perry stole my stash. "I think you'd be better off just sleeping -- er, talking -- with me."

"You know, I know none of your quotes are going in the article," he falls into me. "You can just be all fancy free!"

And "Footloose," too! Fair enough. "What exactly is a bounty hunter? Aren't they just hairy Canadians?"

"Yeah, they catch men and wolves, ay? I actually asked a guy why he was a bounty hunter and he said, 'Because they make twice as much money.' But here's the bad side: They don't have a bunch of other guys in matching uniforms that they can call. And whereas a cop can shoot a guy and get away with it -- especially here in L.A. -- bounty hunters can't."

Too much information. "Let's move on to your personal revival of the one-and-only drunk drip, Stacy Keach."

"Stacy's brilliant," he drinks. "He had sort of that Caroll O'Connor thing, where you could hate him and love him at the same time. And that's such a hard acting technique to master. He's a heavy actor."

"Meaning he's fat."

"But you also know that he can take down like a full-sized cow. He's got that old man thing."

"Titus" also featured the predictable phenomenon of an annoying-but-cute-and-often-shirtless goofball best friend who might or might not sleep with the lead while drunk. In this case, it wasn't his best friend, though.

"That was my brother!" he scoffs.

"You can have sex with your brother in L.A., can't you?" I have sex with my brother.

"Aw, geez." he Beavers. "You keep mocking me!"

"Only because I love you, babe. You're an American icon! You must be proud."

"Well, we can't seem to catch Osama bin Laden," he pulpits. "But we sure have nailed Winona Ryder's ass to the wall."

Hold me.


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