Chris Robinson graduated in 2009 and was the runner-up in the 2016 Homegrown Competition at Just for Laughs. We asked him the best and worst bits about being a comedian and how Humber helped him get where he is.
What are you currently working on and what does that mean on a daily basis?
I am currently working on getting to the finals of the Sirius XM Top Comic. I advanced to the semi-finals which is a voting round. So right now I am accosting everyone I have ever known/met to vote for me everyday from every device that they own. [Editor's note: We fully support this shameless self-promotion and highly recommend that you vote for Chris here.]
Tell us a bit more about participating in the Homegrown competition at Just for Laughs.
It was an amazing show and one of the best performances of my career. The best part of the whole experience was that I got to compete with my close friends Mike Rita and Keith Pedro (fellow alumni). And it’s even better that I placed runner-up and can rub it in their faces for eternity.
Any other projects you’ve worked on since graduation that you’re particularly proud of or that were particularly fun or fulfilling?
I taped an episode of Video On Trial which I have never seen. I had the pleasure of opening for Eddie Griffin at The Toronto Centre for the Arts. Having comedy that plays on Sirius XM Radio on a regular basis is great. I also filmed a sketch show for CMT called Almost Genius that should air in the fall or spring. Plus like five fire mix tapes.
What is the best thing about being a comedian? What’s the worst thing?
Best thing about being a comedian is free hotel rooms. I love staying in hotels. The worst thing is when people bomb and then ask you how their set went. As if I heard some magical laughs that they didn’t.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve dealt with and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge was getting kicked out of my house at 19. My parents are quite religious and aren’t fans of my raw style of comedy. Luckily I have amazing friends who I met at Humber that let me move in with them and sleep on a couch they fished out of a dumpster. I had never been so grateful to have a rusty sofa wire stabbing my back as I slept. I pretty much filled the void of my family with comedy and friends. I obviously miss my family immensely, but having amazing people around helped me cope a lot.
How did your time at Humber prepare you for what you’re doing now?
My time at Humber helped prepare me for the competitiveness of the comedy industry. At school everyone got along, but there are rewards for doing the best, much like in real life. Humber also taught me that it’s not about who is naturally the funniest, but who works the hardest. You can be the funniest guy in the world but if you only do a show once a month, you’re not going to progress.
Any Humber memories you'd like to share?
I remember on the first day of school a comedy student a year ahead of us walked into our classroom before the teacher arrived. He dropped his pants, looked straight at me and said "I want you, dark chocolate," then proceeded to stare into my soul for what felt like an hour. Best first day ever. [Editor's note: If this also strikes you as the "best first day ever", apply for our comedy program now. Seriously, you belong.]
What advice would you give to somebody wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Trust your gut and don’t sleep with the waitresses.
Chris Robinson. Photo credit: Genevieve Pellettier