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Randy Chestnut

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Randy Chestnut

Randy Chestnut
File:War haul - randy chestnut in 4 squares 400X400px.jpg
Comedian Randy Chestnut
Birth name Randall Jay Chestnut
Born (1971-07-13)July 13, 1971
Dallas, Texas, United States
Medium Stand-up, television, radio
Nationality American
Years active 1997–Present
Genres Observational comedy, Wit/Word play, Satire/Political satire, Black comedy, Improvisational comedy
Subject(s) American culture, everyday life, human behavior, American politics, religion, profanity
Influences George Carlin, Bill Hicks, Bobcat Goldthwait, Richard Pryor
Spouse Noelle Cedarleaf
(June 21, 2008 – Present)

Randall Jay Chestnut is an American stand-up comedian, writer, and actor.

He is noted for his wide-ranging subject matter, physicality, and sarcasm. Among other topics, he often focuses on American politics. Once, when asked what he'd do if he were mayor of Madison, Wisconsin, he replied,
I'd do photo ops with Marilyn Manson and underprivileged children while my contributors continued to dump toxic waste in the rivers of Third World nations, then go home and do lines off the bare back of my 19-year-old Malaysian concubine. You know, like a real politician.[1]
Throughout his career, his material has also focused on his support of LGBT rights and his criticism of religion.

Early life and career

Randy Chestnut was born in The Comedy Club On State - Chestnut spent nearly two years as an amateur, honing his stagecraft and developing his material. When asked, Chestnut claims his comedy is
imported at great expense from a left-handed cobbler in Sussex, England, who answers to the name "King Cat Crocodile, Hector The Fuel Injector."
In reality, he writes his own, although his early material was co-written with a fellow comedian. The two ceased writing together once it became clear their respective styles were growing apart and becoming more and more distinct.

By 1999, he had grown as a performer, and won his first and only comedy competition. Although he was voted Funniest Person In Madison (Wisconsin) in 1999, he found the experience distasteful, and avoids competitions to this day. Also in 1999, Chestnut was invited to perform in the first of two Comics Come Home special events sponsored by Sue Murphy.

Post–September 11, 2001–2008

Trouble began for Chestnut when his criticism and jokes about President George W. Bush and the Bush administration met with increasingly hostile responses from American audiences due to a post-9/11 rise in nationalism. Combined with failing comedy clubs due to a declining economy, his unwavering, negative critiques led to a decline in bookings. Chestnut admits to being antagonistic and inflammatory, and includes stories of altercations with audience members in his act. He persevered, however, and swinging public opinion due to popular disenchantment with the Occupation of Iraq once again made him a sought-after comedian.

In May 2004, Chestnut recorded his first CD at The Comedy Club On State,[3] entitled I Was Funny... Now Pay Me, written and performed by himself, and produced by Austin Katt. A series of delays kept the CD from being released, including the suicide of close friend Eric Harnisch. Chestnut was devastated by the loss, and canceled shows in order to help lay his friend to rest. He helped plan the wake and funeral, hosted the wake, was a pallbearer, and wrote Harnisch's epitaph,
His wit was exceeded only by his intelligence, his intelligence only by his selflessness, his selflessness only by his kindness, his kindness only by his extraordinary life, and his life only by those he touched with it.[4]
Further delays in releasing the CD were created when conflicts arose between Chestnut and several comedy booking agents over cancellations due to the sudden loss of his close friend. Eventually, he decided that the CD I Was Funny... Now Pay Me had grown too old - the material too dated - for mass release.

Things grew worse for Chestnut in early 2005 when he developed shingles and the rare postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) complication. The chronic pain due to PHN limited him in his ability to perform, and he was eventually forced to take on a day job to maintain the health insurance necessary to cover the medical expenses that had nearly ruined him financially. He spent 2005 and 2006 in and out of the comedy circuit.

In mid-2008, he again took a hiatus from comedy to look after his wife and his two stepchildren after his wife had a hysterectomy.

Personal life

In 2008, he married Noelle Cedarleaf, just days before her hysterectomy. The two had met online in 2006. Along with his wife, Chestnut also inherited two stepchildren, Gabriel and Samara.

In addition to PHN, Chestnut suffers from sleep apnea. He is being treated for both.

Religion, politics, and social commentary

In his act, Chestnut often expresses his contempt for religion in all forms. While he claims to believe in a god in his act, it is unclear what form or function is expressed in that belief, or if the claim is even true. He was raised as a Roman Catholic, and is particularly contemptuous of the Catholic Church.

Much of his political material is harshly critical of Republican and neoconservative ideas, in addition to promoting largely liberal ideas, despite claiming to be both nonpartisan and equally disdainful of liberals and Democrats. He is also fiercely anti-corporate in his act.

Chestnut is also noted for his scathing attacks on the Blue Collar Comedy phenomena, claiming that it is destroying the art of stand-up comedy and "dumbing down" American audiences. These attacks are part of a larger complaint by Chestnut that, in his opinion, America is being and/or has been "dumbed down" by corporate propaganda, and he often lists his comedy influences as examples of what is "right" with stand-up comedy.

Recent events

As of December 2008, Chestnut has begun to return to touring full-time as a stand-up comedian.


External links

  • Official Website
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