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Christian Finnegan Comes to Helium Comedy Club

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You probably already recognize Christian Finnegan’s face. But now it’s time learn his name. Finnegan is best known for playing “Chad” in the legendary “Real World” sketch on the late, great Chappelle Show. And he was also a regular on VH-1’s popular Best Week Ever and I Love the 80s series. He’s also made several appearances on various MSNBC talk shows.   Comedian Christian Finnegan

But Finnegan is also a stand-up comic who has emerged nationally over the past few years. And he’ll soon be making his return to Philadelphia, playing a series of shows at the end of the month at the Helium Comedy Club.

Finnegan actually has quite the history here in Philly. He recorded his last CD at The Trocadero. And, he says, this is a great city to make laugh.

“I like it there,” Finnegan said. “The audiences are smart and a little dark. They aren’t offended or turned off by a dark joke.”

Finnegan is one of the smartest comics on the national scene. As a kid, he listened to a lot of comedy albums, in particular those starring Steve Martin, Bill Cosby and Dr. Demento. But as he got older, he was turned off by the stand-up scene.

“I thought the whole pursuit of stand-up was corny and cheesy. There was so much bad material out there. There were a lot of very skilled comics but they seemed so soulless. There was no realness to it. You never got to feel like you were listening to a real human being. The whole point back then was to be so slick, like the audience was watching a Vegas show or something.”

But Finnegan still got the comedy bug. He started to perform at a variety of rooms, making his name both at traditional clubs and more alternative showcases. He has become one of the few comics who can perfectly straddle both comedy worlds.

Not coincidentally, Finnegan found himself in the same role growing up in suburban Boston. “It was just how it is in comedy for me. I found myself constantly in the middle. I didn’t belong to one thing or another,” he said. “For instance, I know way more about hair metal than anyone should. But I didn’t drink or smoke, so the metal kids hated me. All my friends were in the drama club, but I completely hated that whole world.”

Oddly enough, Finnegan became known throughout the world for an acting performance. When reading the script for The Chappelle Show’s “Real World” sketch, he thought the show would become a cult favorite among comedy nerds, similar to the legacy of “The Ben Stiller Show.”

But the exact opposite happened. Seemingly overnight, The Chappelle Show became one of the most popular comedy shows of all-time. To this day, Finnegan still gets recognized.

“Just today, someone mentioned it to me. It’s really flattering,” Finnegan said. “20 years from now, I don’t know that anyone will care that I did Best Week Ever. But no one’s forgetting The Chappelle Show.”

This experience has informed Finnegan’s stand-up. His goal is to have his material stand the test of time, just like the albums he listened to as a kid.

“Kathy Griffin has carved out a total nice for herself. She does an hour long special once a year and is a really strong performer. But, ten years from now, when you hear her talk for 20 minutes about the time she went to see Celine Dion backstage, is it going to be lasting,” Finnegan asked. “But those Bill Cosby’s Himself is still just as funny as the first time you’ve heard it.”