You probably know Chip Conrad as one of the funniest comedians with the cleanest mouth.
As the driving force behind Capitol City Theater and one of its star comics, Chip has been making Salem laugh with his family-friendly brand of humor for years. And now, we are pleased to announce he will bring his trademark wit as this year’s TEDxSalem host.
“I want the event to happen and to be successful,” he says. “I enjoy being the person to set a crowd at ease.”
Chip got his start in comedy in Florida, when he was asked to find a way to bring people in for a coffee shop owned by a church. He’d been writing comedy and learning improv at the time, so he figured it was a good method to get people in the door.
“Soon we had sold-out crowds and started going across the state,” he remembers.
From there, Chip spent the next 10 years traveling the world, performing improv. He moved to San Diego for a while to surf, met his wife, and together the two of them headed back to where she had grown up: Salem, Oregon.
“It was after a while I saw a need for comedy in the area,” he says. “Salem just embraced it right away.”
Chip has embraced Salem, too. In addition to Capitol City Theater, he’s the mastermind behind Salem Sharks, the live event modeled after a television show where investors consider product and service pitches from aspiring entrepreneurs.
He’s also the one who brought Lemonade Day to Salem, where kids learned the ups and downs of running their own business by turning the Salem area into a mecca of lemonade stands.
“I wanted to do educational, edu-tainment types of events,” he says. “This is a kid city. This town embraces that.”
Chip says this will be his first time attending a TED event, but he remembers being introduced to the conference through watching “really enrapturing” YouTube videos.
“You think, ‘I hope we have one of these in our town,’ and then Brian and Carlee come along and make it happen,” he says.
“I think Brian and Carlee have a vision for the future of Salem,” he adds. “They’re trying to change the spirit of Salem and change it for the better. Let’s give Salem a reason to stop saying, ‘There’s nothing to do here.’ I do feel I am with them on that.”
So what does Chip hope for TEDxSalem this year?
“I want everybody to come to this,” he says. “I don’t want there to be an open seat.”