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Chris Sullivan is from Foxboro, Massachusetts and accredits his foundational musical training to high school band director and percussion instructor, Stephen Massey. Dabbling in theater and improvisational comedy, he starred in several high school plays, won the drama award senior year and was a member of Kung Fu Improv in the Uncommon Theater Company. His musical influences include The Beastie Boys, Tribe Called Quest, and De La Soul, leading him to experiment with hip-hop and beatboxing in his high school rock band and other musical collaborations until high school graduation in 1997. Throughout his time at Foxboro High School, he worked in a pre-school and became a Massachusetts certified pre-school teacher and BSA Eagle Scout.

After a year in AmeriCorps' City Year in Boston, Sullivan attended college at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and majored in Communication. In 1999, he joined the a cappella group, The Vocal Suspects as a vocal percussionist. In college, Sullivan became part of the esteemed comedy troupe Mission:IMPROVable where the name “Shockwave” was assigned as a stage name because of his signature style of beatbox, improvisational soundscapes and vocal skills.

 

Upon graduation Sullivan moved to New York City and began studying improvisational comedy with The People's Improv Theater, The Upright Citizen's Brigade Theater and instructors of Chicago's Annoyance Theater. He performed at variety shows, open mics and as a "drummer" for dozens of downtown solo musicians, and continued his vocal time-keeping and suggestion based performances of sound and movement. In 2003, he was introduced to hip-hop comedy group Freestyle Love Supreme where he was welcomed as a fellow cast/band member, and formally began his career as a professional comedic beatboxer.

At about the same time as joining Freestyle Love Supreme, Sullivan performed with Doug E. Fresh, Rahzel, Biz Markie and countless other human beatboxers from around the country at venues such as The Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Madison Square Garden, and the MTA subway system in the bi-monthly Hip-Hop Subway Series with Beatboxer Entertainment. At the same time, Freestyle Love Supreme gave way to The Aspen Comedy Festival, The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The Melbourne Comedy Festival, and the 10th Anniversary for Paramount Comedy in London. These festivals allowed him to share the stage with such comedy greats as Catherine O'Hara and Jeff Garlin.


You can catch “Shock” on “The Electric Company” teaching children to read afternoons on PBS.

 

Who is Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan