Jennifer Candy and Chris Candy have fond memories of their father. John Candy remains one of the most loved and respected actors and comedians of all time. He won us over in classics like Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, Spaceballs, Uncle Buck, and Summer Rental – just to name a few of his most memorable films from a long list of credits.
No matter the film or the role he was playing he always brought sincerity and heart to every character and every project that he was a part of. And that laugh! You can’t help but smile just thinking about it. He left this world a better and happier place through his talent and who he was as a person. He built a life and a career that anyone would be proud to lead. He took on many roles in his far too short lifetime but the one that he was the most proud of was his real life role as a husband and a father.
Jennifer Candy and Chris Candy have gone on to carry their father’s legacy on through their own lives. Both have gone on to make their family very proud through their endeavors in the comedy, film, and music industries. Jennifer and Chris are experienced and talented entertainers, writers, and actors who have built successful careers customized to fit their varied interests within the entertainment world.
Jennifer Candy has built a successful career as not only a comedian and actor in a variety of films and shows but as a writer and producer as well. She has done voice-over work for a variety of programs including Disney’s Liv and Maddie. She has also followed in her father’s footsteps and become a part of the much loved and admired Second City comedy team. Her father held a great amount of respect and admiration for Second City and enjoyed being a part of this talented group of comedians. Jennifer now hosts a show at The Second City Hollywood called “Couch Candy” where she interviews a wide variety of actors and comedians about their lives, careers, and their favorite candy. Past guests have included Eugene Levy, Jim Belushi, and Martin Short – just to name a few.
Chris Candy is known for his roles in television and film, including credits in Contracted and Bar America. He is a talented writer and comedian who has also worked on various web based projects including the web series “Where’s This Party?”. Chris has not only built a career as an actor and writer but also a musician. Music has always been an important part of his life and when it was time to go to college he decided to pursue a degree in Recording Arts. He is now the lead singer of Los Angeles based band Chotto Ghetto.
I recently had the opportunity to talk about music with Jennifer and Chris. I not only wanted to find out what role music has played in their careers in the entertainment industry but also how it has inspired and motivated them in their day to day lives.
Jennifer Candy & Chris Candy Interview
TAMMY: First of all I have to say, Jennifer – I love Couch Candy! You do such a great job. You’ve really grown in your career and do a little bit of everything from acting to stand up to producing. In regards to putting music with a comedic scene, I’ve heard others say that it can be tricky. You want it to fit the moment without it being too “on the nose”. How do you feel music enhances comedy in films and television?
JENNIFER CANDY: Thank you so much! Oh I think music is key! It kills me to watch a great comedy and then have a horrible soundtrack. But if done right it makes the movie even more memorable. I was a huge soundtrack nut for movies growing up. Spinal Tap, Clue, Dirty Dancing, Blues Brothers, Forrest Gump, Tommy Boy, Trainspotting. I was a soundtrack junkie as a kid (still am) . I have very eclectic taste as you can see.
TAMMY: I’m a big soundtrack junkie, too. Jurassic Park is a big one for me. And Blues Brothers – absolutely!
Chris, you not only act and are involved in comedy but you actually studied Recording Arts in college and are a part of a band, right? At what point in your life did music really begin to be a big part of it?
CHRIS CANDY: Music was a big part of our household, my parents loved and still to this day love having music playing in the house. For me I was an early teen maybe 12 or 13 and got into Punk and Ska music. San Jose based label Asian Man Records run by my good friend Mike Park really pointed me in the right musical direction. DIY shows and Punk gigs in Los Angeles really inspired me to start a band. I have been in some sort of band ever since the 8th grade. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that playing music will always be a major part of my life.
TAMMY: I think that’s great. It’s awesome to find something that you’re passionate about at such a young age and be able to carry that passion on over in to your adult life and have it play such an integral role. Music is a great outlet in itself but to be able to play it and write it and really express yourself through your own music is something very special.
I’m a big fan of road trips and, Jennifer, I love the story that you told in one of your stand ups where you talked about your dad getting pulled over while you were on a family road trip from LA to Toronto. What songs or artists are a must when you are on the road today?
JENNIFER CANDY: Holiday Road is key! With a mix of Steve Miller,The Doors, Johnny Cash, throw in a little De La Soul & Hep Cat and call it a day.
TAMMY: That is a great mix! Holiday Road is classic. And, of course, what’s a road trip without some Steve Miller.
Chris, I read the article on Punk News where you talked about Black Flag being “the Hardcore scene’s jam band” (agreed!). I loved what you had to say about Pettibon really setting the tone for punk rock flier work. I’d never really thought about that aspect of it but it’s so true. You also mentioned them being one of Hardcore’s most interesting stories. What other bands out there do you feel go beyond just the music and have made a bigger impact than most give them credit for?
CHRIS CANDY: Great question. The band Fishbone is quite possible the most underrated band for me. If you look at early footage of them from the 80’s and 90’s (which I sadly never saw) you can see their power. Angelo Moore is one of the greatest frontmen, Insane energy and an incredible vocal presence. They are still going to this day and are in a different musical place, but I wish they were able to maintain the popularity of yesteryear.
TAMMY: Great answer! Fishbone is a great band. When a band is around for as long as they have been around and is able to maintain a steady, loyal fanbase – it speaks for itself. It says a lot about their music when people want to be a part of it throughout a long span of time and changes. It takes a lot of talent and charisma to pull that off and Fishbone has all of that.
I don’t think that you have to be a musician necessarily for music to play an important role in your career. I know that some days I can be feeling unmotivated but certain songs bring me out of it and help to get my creativity going again. Are there any particular songs or artists that inspire you on days when you are feeling unmotivated?
JENNIFER CANDY: I think that music affects everyone in some way or another. I am certainly not the musician in the family, but LOVE music. Throw on a little Prince or Bowie and I am instantly in a better mood! I even dance to catchy music in commercials ! I am such a dork… I love it!
TAMMY: I am the same way. I can be having the worst day but the right song at the right moment can pull me out of a bad mood and change my whole day. My go to “pick me up” song for the longest time has been “500 Miles” – The Proclaimers. Never fails to brighten my day.
Chris, what instruments do you play? Are there any that you’d like to learn to play?
CHRIS CANDY: I play the trumpet and honestly I would just love to learn play it better. It is one of my most chaotic relationships. When I practice I sound great , but if I take a little time off it is as if I’ve never picked the instrument up. Mile Davis and Donald Byrd are some of my favorite players, ooh ohh and Aurturo and Chet!
TAMMY: I love Miles Davis! My brother played the trumpet in school. It’s such a cool instrument that I’d love to learn to play myself. I was a clarinet girl. Really needing to pick that back up again.
Jennifer, I heard you mention in one of your standups that you like karaoke. What is your “go to” karaoke song?
JENNIFER CANDY: 18 and life by Skid Row.
TAMMY: Nice choice! I’m a Tracy Chapman “Fast Car” girl myself.
Chris, tell me a bit about your band, Chotto Ghetto. I love your sound! How did you get started with the band and what inspires your music?
CHRIS CANDY: Chotto Ghetto is a band I started in college, with my friends Fletcher Alliston and Chris Shilakes. The band started out as a Hardcore Punk band, with a heavy Black Flag and Bad Brains influence, but as we grew and the addition of monster drummer Jody Giacello and our good friend Matt Kurz, the band has now been able to explore some more technical and melodic styles of music. I speak for myself when I say this, but I really look up to Faith No More, and use them as a bit of a sonic mood board to create new ideas.
TAMMY: That’s awesome. I saw that you guys have a new album coming out soon. I’m really looking forward to hearing it!
One of my favorite moments in film where music and comedy really came together is the scene in Planes, Trains and Automobiles where your dad is listening to Ray Charles “Mess Around” while simultaneously driving, dancing and playing air piano on the dashboard. I think that it really speaks to his talent as an actor and comedian that no words were needed to make that scene funny. Just give him a song and he will do the rest. Is there a moment for you in a film where music and comedy came together that really stands out for you, Jennifer?
JENNIFER CANDY: I love that scene too and “Mess Around “ is another favorite song. That’s a tough one. Going with a classic from Wayne’s World Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen . Its a scene I still reenact to this day when it comes on . An amazing song and just a funny scene with amazing actors.
TAMMY: That is such an iconic scene! I don’t think it’s possible for me to even listen to Bohemian Rhapsody without thinking of Wayne’s World. Great choice!
Chris, what music are you most likely to listen to if you’re having a bad day and need a pick-me-up?
CHRIS CANDY: If I’m looking to take my mind off a bad day I can always turn to some of my truly favorite music -Steely Dan’s Aja or Guacho. Early Christopher Cross tracks, Boz Scaggs or the vocal master himself Michael Mcdonald. His version of Love T.K.O , Hachi Machi!
TAMMY: I love Steely Dan! And I’m so happy that you mentioned Boz Scaggs. Classic.
What album can you listen to from beginning to end without having to skip any songs?
JENNIFER CANDY: BLUES BROTHERS soundtrack or Fashion Nugget by Cake
CHRIS CANDY: Steely Dan’s Gaucho
TAMMY: Great picks! Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ Anthology is one for me.
What is your favorite or most memorable concert that you’ve been to? And also – What artists/bands are on your “Concert Bucket List” that you have yet to see?
JENNIFER CANDY: My first concert was Simon & Garfunkel at the Skydome in Toronto . That was pretty memorable for me. I also saw Bowie at a KROQ Acoustic Christmas once. Going to those shows I was able to see so many great bands over years. Like Bush, Green Day & SoundGarden. I even got to see Spinal Tap and Tenacious D at the House of Blues in Los Angeles. THAT was an amazing show.
Bucket list for me still would be Tom Petty. Just saw Steve Martin and the Steel Canyon Rangers ( Checked that off the list this past weekend ) AMAZING!
CHRIS CANDY: E.L.O. last summer at the Hollywood Bowl. The original lineup of Fishbone.
TAMMY: Those sound like great shows! I would have loved to have seen Bowie. Such an amazing artist. And my dad and I love Steve Martin and the Steel Canyon Rangers. That’s a bucket list one for both of us. My best concert has been AC/DC. And I’ll get to go to one of my bucket list concerts in a few weeks – Tom Petty! Really excited for that one.
One of my favorite memories growing up and what was really a foundation for me with music was when my mom and I would take car rides together and she would introduce me to the music that she grew up listening to (50s/60s). Did your parents similarly play a role in your foundation of music by sharing their music with you?
JENNIFER CANDY: Hands down yes! Our dad would take us shopping for records and CD’s when we were little. In the car my mom introduced me to Cat Stevens and my Dad I would have to say would have been the Beatles. My Mom & Dad loved to listen to the oldies station KEarth 101 and I would learn so much about their favorite songs & musicians . Like Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis & Ray Charles.
CHRIS CANDY: Like I said earlier , music was always playing in our household. Although our tastes in music are different, I always loved how my father was always on the front line of finding new music to listen to, and every time I hear Roy Orbison I will think of my mother.
TAMMY: That’s very similar to my experiences growing up with my parents introducing me to their music. My mom always had the oldies station on in the car. She is a gospel singer and would travel playing her music. I was always amazed at how she could just sit and write songs. My dad would play classical music, gospel, and country. So there was a good mix of genres going on very early in my life. I love a lot of music now that they don’t necessarily have a taste for but the music that I grew up with will always be special to me.
What advice do you have for people out there who are working towards achieving their goals whether it be in comedy, music, or acting – or a mix of it all?
JENNIFER CANDY: Have fun and surround yourself with positive people that love and support you. Listen to music and watch things that make you feel good. Entertain.
CHRIS CANDY: It’s a marathon of a business. If you love it do it. Remember to entertain. Take a few trips to the beach. Turn Left!
TAMMY: “Turn left!”. I love that. And yes it’s so, so important to surround yourself with positive people. Life gets rough and having a solid support system in your life is so key.
What are each of you currently working on or have coming up that you are excited to share?
JENNIFER CANDY: Continuing with more shows of Couch Candy live and also putting more past shows up on the internet. I just finished a film with Ed Asner & Sean Young that I hope will come out this year called In Vino.
CHRIS CANDY: I just finished up the third season of my web show Wheres this Party? and Chotto Ghetto will be releasing our next record Monstrosity this summer on Asian Man Records. You can always catch me every Wednesday night on my radio show Neuz Pollution on 88.9FM KXLU 10-11PM.
You can keep up with Jennifer and Chris Candy through their various websites relating to their work. You can check out Chris’ latest work by visiting his website. Be sure to visit Chotto Ghetto’s website as well where you can find the latest news about the band, show information, merchandise, and music. You also won’t want to miss any episodes of Where’s This Party, available on the show’s site.
You can keep up with Jennifer’s latest work by visiting her website. Be sure to check out Couch Candy’s site for all of the latest show information, etc. You’ll also want to visit Couch Candy’s Youtube channel to see what guests have already been on the show. There are many great ones coming up in the schedule that you won’t want to miss, including Fred Willard. If you’re ever in Hollywood be sure to check out a live taping at The Second City.