I had the pleasure of interviewing Chris Allport a.k.a. ‘Steve’, the Anxious Rapper.
His goal is to normalize anxiety and eliminate stigmas surrounding mental health in the mainstream through comedy rap.
Chris is a comedy writer originally from Portland, Oregon. He currently works as an associate producer on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in Los Angeles.
Thank you so much for joining us! Let’s show everyone you’re a normal human being. What are your hobbies, favorite places to visit, pet peeves? Tell us about YOU when you’re not at the office.
“I like to write raps and make funny things.
“One of my favorite places to visit is Chipotle. They’ve had a few food safety scares, yes. I stand by the fact that their food tastes good. I’m at least five e coli scares away from reconsidering my position on that.
“As for pet peeves, I cannot stand the feeling of rubbing your fingertips together when they’re wet. The very thought of it gives me goosebumps.”
Can you tell us something about you that few people know?
“When I was a child, I used to coat insects in rubber cement and then run string and needle through them to turn them into Christmas ornaments. Every year, I would hang them on the tree. This somewhat innocent, albeit creepy habit did (eventually, thankfully) leave me.”
Do you have any exciting projects going on right now?
“I’m expanding my YouTube channel into a broader comedy outlet with my writing partner, Baxter Gaston. Steve and comedy rap will remain a crucial part of the channel and an outlet for me to discuss anxiety and other mental health issues.
“However, I want to share other pieces of comedy with my audience and expand my own horizons. We’ll be releasing a few sketches over the next few months so stayed tuned!”
Leaders always seem to find ways to overcome their weaknesses. Can you share one or two examples of how you work outside of your comfort zone to achieve success?
“Imposter Syndrome affects me almost every single day. Living in Los Angeles, I’m surrounded by immensely talented people. It’s easy to look around and feel intimidated and compare yourself to others and their careers.
“When I experience high levels of doubt, I’ll write down my thoughts into a journal. Eventually, when I’m in a better place, I’ll open up the journal and reread my thoughts. This provides a level of perspective that reminds me that your reality is largely shaped by your perceptions and fears in that moment. Just because you think about something a lot doesn’t mean it’s true.
“I forge ahead giving myself the benefit of the doubt.”
The concept of mind over matter has been around for years. A contemporary description of this is having mental toughness. Can you give us an example (or two) of obstacles you’ve overcome by getting your mind in the right place (some might call this reframing the situation)?
“My debut comedy rap album, Anxious Rapper, puts a comedic spin on my experience of living with anxiety. The songs on the album are inspired by some of my more notable bouts of anxiety, like smoking too much weed, arriving at a party where I don’t know anyone, or ordering a burrito at Chipotle.
“The subject of my music also provided the greatest obstacle. Getting my mind into the right place to create something like this took years of exposing myself to failure and to the feeling of vulnerability.
“Getting involved in the improv comedy community helped me care less about ‘failing’. For me, performing improv is incredibly uncomfortable; mostly because you cannot plan ahead, which leads to repeated failure. There’s no time to think or over-analyze anything. You just say what pops into your head and hope that it’s funny. That repeated failure re-enforces that when you get knocked down, you can get up again. It’s not the end of the world when you don’t meet your goal. It feels great when it works. But even when it doesn’t, it stings a little less every time.”
What unfiltered advice can you give aspiring stars regarding how to avoid common mis-fires in starting their career?
“If you don’t know how to do something, figure it out. Take the time, do the research, or learn by trial and error. If you don’t take the initiative, you’ll be outdone and outworked by someone else who will.”
What is the best lesson you learned from your worst boss?
“I worked in a clothing store my first summer out of college. My boss was a nightmare. She did teach me how to fold a standard t-shirt in two seconds, flat. I cannot overstate the positive impact this continues to have on my laundry regimen.”
What is one “efficiency hack” you use consistently in your life to keep your time and mind free to focus on your strengths and passions?
“I stopped making plans with people that I knew, deep down, I didn’t want to be with in the first place. As someone with a fulltime job, my time to work on my independent projects is limited. For better or for worse, my Anxious Rapper project forced me to examine the personal relationships in my life that were important and meaningful to me, and those that weren’t.”
All actors or musicians have sleepless nights. We have a term we use with our clients called the “2 a.m. moment.” It’s when you’re wide awake and thinking not-so-positive thoughts about your business choices and future. Can you describe a 2 a.m. moment (or moments) you’ve had and how you overcame the challenges?
“I sometimes keep myself up worrying about whether people will like my stuff or think that my comedy was in fact, comedic. The way I overcome that recurring thought is to remember that I’m going to die. You can either create something and risk being judged, or you can choose to withhold the desire to create and avoid judgement altogether. The latter would feel less painful. But nothing would be more painful than living your entire life wanting to create something but not doing it because you were too scared of what other people thought.
“This concept allowed me to overcome my 2 a.m. moment. That and Ambien.”
Nobody likes to fail, and we sure don’t like to admit we failed. Can you describe a moment when you confided your most closely-held business issues/problems to someone close to you, and how the conversation(s) helped you work through the issue?
“I call my Mom, a lot.”
What’s on the drawing board for your next venture?
“I’m expanding my YouTube channel into a broader comedy outlet with my writing partner, Baxter Gaston. Steve will remain a crucial part of the channel and an outlet for me to discuss anxiety and other mental health issues. However, I want to share other pieces of comedy with my audience and expand my own horizons. We’ll be releasing a few sketches over the next few months so stayed tuned!”
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
“The best way to follow me is on Instagram @anxiousrapper, Facebook @1anxiousrapper or by following my channel on YouTube. Also, check out my debut album, Anxious Rapper on Spotify!”
This was really awesome! Thank you so much for joining us!
Originally published at medium.com