INTERVIEW: Chip Chinery

This weekend saw the release of Amazon Prime’s Homecoming TV Show which returns for its second season – featured in the show is actor Chip Chinery – a seasoned pro when it comes to the acting business! We found out more…

We have the brilliant Homecoming out in May, which is in it’s second season, and you are playing a character called Sawyer – how much can you tell us about the show and your character?

Unfortunately, I have to keep my big mouth shut. I can say that I had scenes with Janelle Monáe as well as Stephan James. Once Director Kyle Patrick Alvarez was happy with the scene as written, he let me improvise a bit with Janelle – which I always like. I’m curious if any of it made it in.

You seem to be a master of many talents – comedy, appearing in over 50 TV Shows, voiceover, and even financial services? What is next for you?

My next project is a book about my days touring the United States on the stand-up comedy circuit from 1988-2012. I took photos at every gig with the people I worked with, as well as shots around the clubs and comedy condo life. I kept a journal as well. For the past three years, I have been culling the best stories and pairing them with the photos. My book will be full of names and faces comedy fans know, like twice when I worked with 16 year old opening act Dave Chappelle. It’s a fun look back!

You have worked with a who’s who list of actors – anybody stick out as fun experience to be on set with?

A few years ago, I played ABC Sports President Roone Arledge in the film Battle of the Sexes starring Emma Stone and Steve Carrell.

During some downtime on set between scenes, I had a “small world” experience while chatting with Emma:

Me: Where are you from?

Emma:  Scottsdale. You?

Me: Cincinnati.

Emma:  My parents grew up in Columbus. They went to Miami.

Me:  I went to Miami. What year did your folks graduate?

Emma: 1982.

Me:  I graduated in 1986. Were they in a fraternity or sorority?

Emma:  My mom was a DG.

I texted my buddy whose wife Margaret was a Delta Gamma. We came back from lunch an hour later.

Me: Emma, the world just got smaller. I went to school with your Aunt Karin. She was housemates with my friends Margaret and Katy.  She dated my friend Roger.

Emma: No way!! How do you spell your name? (As she pulled out her phone to text Karin).

We read somewhere that when you were growing up in Cincinnati the mayor at the time there was Jerry Springer! Is that true?

‘Tis true! Jerry was on city council in the 1970s. He infamously made news for having paid a prostitute with a check. When confronted, Springer did not deny it. He resigned his seat in 1974 but in 1975 won it back in a landslide. Cincinnati voters figured that if he wouldn’t lie about that he’d probably be a straight-shooter about other issues. He served as Mayor in 1977.

Since 1997, when you started your acting career appearing on TV shows,  how do you feel the comedic landscape has changed over the past decade?

Technology has changed everything. You don’t have to wait to get hired. You don’t have to move to a big city. If you have something you want to do, you can produce it and distribute it for very little money. You can shoot something beautifully using one’s phone, edit it on your computer, put it on platforms like YouTube, Vimeo or even your own website. Distribute it via social media or your email list. You can even sell it on Amazon or iTunes, or again, on your own website. There are no excuses. In 1997, I was performing sketch comedy in theatres in Hollywood. If I was still doing that, I’d also write with the idea to shoot the sketches.

What have you been watching, reading, and listening to recently – any stand out recommendations to share?

Since I have been writing a comedy memoir, and love a look behind the curtain, I have been reading other comics’ autobiographies: Bossypants (Tina Fey), Yes Please (Amy Poehler), Almost Interesting: The Memoir (David Spade), Based on a True Story: A Memoir (Norm MacDonald), Behind The Laughter: A Comedian’s Tale of Tragedy and Hope (Anthony Griffith & Brigitte Travis-Griffin), and Honkey In The House – Writing and Producing The Jeffersons (Jay Moriarty).  I also subscribed to MasterClass and expect to be a Michelin rated restauranteur by summer.

Finally, what is your tip of the day?

Wash Your Hands!

What a fascinating career Chip has had?! You can keep following what he is up to on his website and also follow him on Twitter @ChipChinery

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If you want to check out Homecoming then Amazon Prime have a 30 day Free Trial on at the moment – click image above to find out more!

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