There are few entertainers in this modern day who after 40 years of experience still possess invigorating enthusiasm about their line of work. Christopher Linnell is one of these distinct few.
From the early days of his childhood setting up and recording background noise for his puppet shows in his bedroom, to his careers in his adult life (including professions such as movie actor, celebrity impersonator, and model), Linnell, in present day, appears to be in high spirits with a jolly laugh and an amiable disposition — and with good reason. Linnell has recently published a book of his memoirs entitled, "Pretending to Make A Living: Memories of my Four Decades as an Entertainer, Improv Comic, Actor, Broadcaster and Tour Guide," written to share with the public his incredible life story from 1975 up until 2013.
Unlike traditional memoirs that proceed in chronological order, "Pretending to Make A Living" is arranged by each of Linnell's vocations, ranging from Crisco the Clown to impersonations of Frank Sinatra and longtime Argus-Courier columnist Bill Soberanes.
"This book starts with a short biography to give you a timeline frame of reference," said Linnell in the introduction of his narrative. "In that chapter I touch upon stories on which I expand later."
Besides simply retelling amusing anecdotes about his numerous occupations, Linnell acknowledges the difficulty of being an entertainer and attaining success. Linnell has described himself during these years as "self-reliant," due to his lack of a mentor or anyone who had experience in making a living as a performer. Relying on his own intuition and lively character, Linnell was able to earn a profit from his career, though he admitted that being self-sufficient made it harder. Despite being independent in many aspects of his jobs, Linnell has also spoken highly of the support that his family and close friends have given him.
"My mother would offer encouraging feedback when I practiced my performances, and my sister was my personal assistant," said Linnell, remembering his younger years. "As for my father, he couldn't figure me out and always wanted me to get a 'regular' job. It was hard because there was some distance between us at first."
Despite that slight detachment, Linnell added that his father was always there for him when needed.
"He helped me build stages, load them into the car, drive me to the show, help me set up at the site, waited until the end of the performance, helped me take it down, and never was paid for it," said Linnell.
Linnell recounts the numerous people he has encountered and who ultimately helped in shaping his many careers, especially Andrew Jowers, a reporter, who inspired the title for Linnell's book after writing an article about the entertainer.
"Pretending to Make A Living", the original heading of the article, was first received as an insult by Linnell, but over time, he came to believe that it was an ideal title that suited the work he did well. The unpredictable lifestyle Linnell lives is the main idea of the story.
"So much of the book is about the struggle for a professional entertainer, going from one job to another, up and down, good months and bad months, the glory days when I was making tons of money, and the terrible days," said Linnell.