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Chester County Press

Comedian with local roots coming to Kennett Flash

10/23/2018 08:53AM ● By J. Chambless

Comedian Chris Haas has roots in Downingtown, and will be at the Kennett Flash on Nov. 3.

By John Chambless
Staff Writer

Los Angeles-based comedian and playwright Chris Haas has roots in Downingtown, and he returns to the region for a stand-up show at the Kennett Flash on Nov. 3. With several projects in the pipeline, he doesn't get as much time as he'd like to do live comedy, but he's happy to be launching into several new directions. He spoke this week about what he's been up to.


You were back in the area two years ago at this same time. Is this a Thanksgiving family homecoming for you?


Well, I won’t be able to stay until Thanksgiving, but every time I’m back, it’s great to see family and it’s a great excuse to eat copious amounts of Wawa food.


You'll be doing a show with four other comedians – Marc Huppman, Mallory Leonard, Steph Termini, and Melissa Kirkpatrick. Do you know them from the L.A. clubs, or are they from the East Coast?


These are all local comedians from the Chester County scene, including the host, Melissa Kirkpatrick, who used to host a variety show in Phoenixville. Now she lives in L.A., and is kind enough to be my girlfriend. Since she’s the only likable thing about me in general, I thought I’d have her in the show.


What's the gist of your play, “To All the Lights in the Windows”? How did the idea come to you?


“To All the Lights in the Windows” is a romantic comedy that takes place at a psychiatric hospital in Pennsylvania. It was originally a one-act play that I developed into a full-length play last year. The idea came to me as most of my ideas do, which is me looking for any excuse to have people from Pennsylvania talk back and forth with each other and fall in love with the wrong people.


What's the process of getting an original play staged? How did you find the Loft Ensemble to put it on stage?


The Loft Ensemble is a 99-seat theater that produces classic and independent theater under the L.A. Stage Alliance. I have been performing comedy there for five years, and I’m also proud to be a company member of the theater. I submitted this show to the theater’s artistic committee and they couldn’t get the rights to “The Iceman Cometh” this year, so they decided to take a chance on one of my plays.


Are you part of the cast, or producing/directing?


I’m not part of the cast because the theater is very demanding, in the sense that they like to hire people with acting talent. I’m not producing because my people skills are a notch below Voldemort’s. I’m not directing because – how should I put this? -- I wasn’t asked.


How did the film project “Kill the Detectives” come about, and what's the plot, in a nutshell?


“Kill the Detectives” is an ensemble Gen-X murder mystery comedy. It is a tribute to the weird ensemble independent films of the mid-'90s. We like to describe it as “Clerks” meets “Clue.”


What does “in pre-production” mean? Is the project a definite thing at this point?


We are fundraising and crowdfunding and trying to find investors interested in the project. We have a cast and crew ready to go. It’s a sure thing, but just a matter of when. But then again, nothing in Hollywood is a sure thing, except plastic surgery.


Are you the writer/director?


Yes. On this project I am the writer, director, producer and I even play a small role. If I knew how to sew or had fashion sense, I’d be making the costumes.


Where will it be shot?


The film will be shot on location in North Hollywood and the surrounding area. The film takes place at the house of a producer who is a terrible person, and there’s a whole bunch of terrible people in Hollywood, so now I just gotta get one of them to let me film a movie in their house.


Are you discovering how complicated the film process is?


The film industry is unfair and weighted towards people with money and friends in high places. The art of making a movie is one of the hardest things you can do. Even the worst movies you’ve seen were difficult to make. Nothing about filmmaking is easy, but I stick with it because I literally have no other skills.


Are there local Pennsylvania references in either the play or the film project?


The play is littered with Pennsylvania references as it takes place in a suburb of Philadelphia. The film is one of, maybe, five things I’ve ever written that doesn’t have a Pennsylvania reference. There was one in the first draft, but it got cut for time.


In the meantime, stand-up is still a passion of yours. How regularly do you perform, given your other projects going on now?


Stand-up is great because it’s an art form where you have total control. I don’t perform as much as I used to, but I usually do stand-up once a month. It’s so fun to come back to Pennsylvania and see old friends and perform to a home crowd.


To support “Kill the Detectives,” visit:

https://igg.me/at/ktd

For tickets to the Nov. 3 show at the Flash, visit:

www.kennettflash.org/event/1774267

To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email jchambless@chestercounty.com.

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