• Christopher Publishes Memoir

    Pretending to Make a Living-FRONT THEN BACK

    Pretending to Make a Living is the story of Christopher Linnell’s four decade career as an entertainer, broadcaster, actor, voice artist, tour guide, and writer.

    Purchase your copy NOW for $20 online at: https://www.CreateSpace.com/4280385

    For a SIGNED COPY of the second edition, mail a check for $25 to:

    Christopher Linnell, POB 2927, Petaluma, CA, 94953-2927

    (Be sure to specify for whom the book should be signed.  The book will be mailed to you at the return address on your envelope.)

    Watch this space for info about Christopher’s speaking and book-signing schedule.

    Schedule Christopher to speak to YOUR group for FREE: ChristopherLinnell@HireAStar.net.


    PML-Headshot of Christopher David Linnell

    Memories of my Four Decades as an Entertainer,
    Improv Comic, Actor, Broadcaster, and Tour Guide

    by Christopher David Linnell

    PRETENDING TO MAKE A LIVING is a collection of memories by Christopher David Linnell about the four decades he spent working as an entertainer, improv comic, actor, broadcaster, and tour guide.

    Christopher first entertained as a child in the San Francisco Bay Area, using magic, puppetry, and ventriloquism. He began doing stand-up at age 9 and moved with his family to Guam where he began entertaining professionally at 14, and, upon his return to California in 1977 he started working in local radio at age 16 as an air personality, news writer and announcer, and as a commercial writer, producer, and voice artist, as well as a live program host on remote broadcasts.

    Christopher began working in Sonoma County television at age 22, doing commercials, sketch comedy, and hosting live remote broadcasts. He later joined SAG and AFTRA and worked out of San Francisco in union productions of industrial films, commercials, television programs, and feature films, and he did some modeling.

    As a professional entertainer, Christopher specializes in celebrity impersonations, including more than 200 celebrity voices and 100 costumed impersonations. He has performed corporate comedy at staff meetings, OSHA safety meetings, national sales meetings, and conventions and trade shows, as well as promotions, special events, and parties throughout 14 of the United States.

    In PRETENDING TO MAKE A LIVING Christopher recalls performances for country artists Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, U.S. Senator Richard Gebhardt, California Governor Pete Wilson, San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, U.S. Representative Lynn Woolsey, U.S. Representative Don Clausen, FBI Director Louis Freh, comedian Tommy Smothers, rock drummer Steve Smith and members of the band Journey, actors Terry McGovern, Danny Glover, actors David Arquette, Courtney Cox, Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry, Lewis Arquette, Rosanna Arquette, Patricia Arquette, Nicholas Cage, Jon Lovitz, Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss, and Liam Neeson and Natasha Richardson.

    As the title jests, it’s not always easy making a living as a professional entertainer, and Christopher discusses in detail how he managed to diversify his entertainment services and keep at least two jobs going at all times…sometimes simultaneously managing to work as a clown, puppeteer, celebrity impersonator, singing telegram performer, radio announcer, television actor, and fair performer.

    He also discusses some of his more unusual pursuits, including stiltwalking, shoot-outs, and driving motorized cable cars and amphibious DUKWs, and some of the most difficult tasks he’s faced: fourteen years performing as a clown at kids’ parties, four hours of intense questioning by the U.S. Secret Service, three marriages, and kissing a girl on the silver screen…ewww.

    Millions around the world have seen him perform, yet no one outside of the San Francisco Bay Area recognizes him, he’s got no health insurance, no retirement, and he’s still renting his house.

    How can this be? Because Christopher is PRETENDING TO MAKE A LIVING.

    This book is 312 pages filled with stories, songs, scripts, and snapshots, and includes the inside story of Sonoma County radio and television in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, as well as hilarious misadventures with the rich and famous.

    Illustrated with hundreds of pictures of Christopher in and out of costume with his celebrity clients and colleagues, you will laugh and cry and will not want to put the book down!

    Christopher Linnell will be appearing in person, selling and signing his book in his booth each week at the www.PetalumaFarmersMarket.com, beginning Wednesday, June 19, from 4:30-8pm, on 2nd Street (between B and D Streets), and Saturday, June 22, from 2-5:30pm, in Walnut Park on Petaluma Boulevard South (between D and E Streets).

    Purchase your copy NOW at: https://www.CreateSpace.com/4280385

    Pretending to Make a Living-FRONT THEN BACK


    Sure, he looks like Kris Kringle now, but Christopher Linnell has been impersonating Santa Claus for more tha four decades.

    His first performance as Santa Claus was on December 18, 1976 for the families of the employees of the Bank of America main branch on the U.S. Pacific island territory of Guam in downtown Agana…the branch was two stories tall, brand new, and very modern for Guam at the time.

    In 1986 the Bank of Hawaii acquired all of Bank of America’s retail banking operations on Guam, including the building in which this performance was done; the address is 134 Soledad Avenue, 96910 Hagatna (as the island’s capital is now phonetically spelled), Guam, 96910.

    Christopher was hired by branch manager Hank Vynk (shown in the center of the middle photo below, wearing glasses and a yellow shirt, holding one end of the crowd-control pole; and, below that, standing in the Santa photos), and he first that afternoon performed a marionette show for the kids as Chrisco the Clown.

    Then, while Christopher changed costumes, the families dined (no doubt on pancit, lumpia, and chicken kelaquin), and then Christopher returned as Santa Claus.

    Upon moving to California in 1977, Christopher continued performing as Chrisco the Clown, doing his marionette shows, and performing as Santa.  He was hired by Joyce LeMar to be George Washington on President’s Day in 1983, and then again as Santa Claus that December 15-24 at the Washington Square Shopping Center in Petaluma.  Subsequently Christopher was hired by Patti Hilligoss (who later went on to become the Mayor of Petaluma and a Sonoma County Supervisor) to be Santa Claus at the Petaluma Plaza & Plaza North Shopping Centers in Petaluma.

    Christopher performed in hundreds of private homes and at scores of parties and promotions throughout the 1980s as Santa Claus, leading the kids in Christmas Carols, telling Christmas stories, and handing out candy canes and coloring books to all.  He performed for little Kyle Galeazzi and his family on Christmas Eve of 1983, 1984, and 1985.  Kyle is now the fourth generation of Galeazzi’s at Northbay Monnument Company.

    Christopher eventually tired of the hot, stinky, itchy beard, though, and retired his Santa Claus professionally in the 1990s.  Today, however, Christopher has grown into the role, in beard, belly, and age, and would be the perfect Santa for your home visit, holiday party, promotion, or shopping mall.

    Christopher was the Santa Claus for the 12/05/11 Tree Lighting of and in the Town of Ross in Marin County, and on 12/14/11 for 60 families who were guests in the home of David Samuel, founder of Thriller Designs in 1983 and Sounds Unlimited in 1984, plus co-founder of: Spinner-1995, Brondell-2003, Grouper-2004, 4 kids-2004-2008, and Freestyle Capital in 2009.

    Christopher also performed for the Galeazzi family of Rohnert Park again.  Kyle Galeazzi is the fourth generation at NorthbayMonument.com, a company his great-grandfather, Massimo Galeazzi, founded in Sonoma County in 1869.  Christopher was Santa for Trevor and Kyle on Christmas Eve of 1982, 1983, and 1984, and on Christmas Eve of 2011 he was Santa once again for Kyle’s son, Connor, and now, each year for him and his  new sister and brother, Eva and Bennett.

    You can reach Christopher at 707-762-2596, or e-mail Santa@HireAStar.net.



    See a video of Christopher Linnell as Santa en Español:


  • ChrisCo Publishes Screenplay

    HELL IN HEAVEN, an original screenplay is available as a paperback book.  It’s 115 pages long, and reads in about 3 hours.   The price is $15, and copies can be purchased at: https://www.createspace.com/4200730.


    Petaluma entertainer Christopher Linnell has published his 2010 screenplay as a book, and it’s currently available online.  Linnell wrote HELL IN HEAVEN, an original screenplay in the summer and fall of 2010, drawing on his experiences repeatedly attending the Burning Man art festival in the Nevada desert, finally hosting a screenplay reading party, with local actors in the roles, at the Aqus Cafe, that November.

    Now the screenplay is available as a paperback book.  The story is about a young man who attends an annual art festival in the Nevada desert with his family and friends. He’s looking forward to music and costumes and lights and art and sex and fun! He gets all that, but he also gets more excitement than he bargained for, and must come to terms with death, destruction, violence, and his own concept of himself and what’s truly important to him. Will he collapse and give up, or will he have what it takes to get himself and his family and friends through life-threatening ordeals? Note that the movie to be produced from this screenplay will be RATED R.

    Author/screenwriter Christopher David Linnell is proprietor of Christopher & Co. Celebrity Impersonations at www.HireAStar.net, and has been a professional entertainer since 1975, performing at private parties, corporate events, county fairs and festivals, and throughout 14 of the United States. He offers more than 200 celebrity voices and 100 fully-costumed impersonations. Linnell worked as a Sonoma County radio and television personality in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, and joined the performing unions AFTRA & SAG in 1989. He has worked decades as an actor, model, and voice artist in San Francisco, and, to date, has written, directed, produced, and performed in thousands of radio and television commercials and programs locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally, as well as a variety of feature films shot on location in San Francisco. Linnell has also worked as a tour guide in San Francisco, Wine Country, and Yosemite National Park, and as a freelance writer, reporter, columnist, photographer, and commentator.

    HELL IN HEAVEN, an original screenplay is available as a paperback book.  It’s 115 pages long, and reads in about 3 hours.   The price is $15, and copies can be purchased at: https://www.createspace.com/4200730.

    More information about Linnell and the screenplay can be found at www.HellinHeavenTheScreenplay.com.  Linnell decided to publish his screenplay as a book as a prelude to the impending publication of his memoirs, spanning four decades of work as a clown, puppeteer, improv comic, celebrity impersonator, actor, broadcaster, singer, stiltwalker, tour guide, writer, and speaker.  That book should be available for purchase online this May.


  • The Loss of a Local Legend

    jim grady

    Jim “Shamus O'” Grady was the old man on the air for two decades when I started working at KSRO 1350am in Santa Rosa back in 1981. Grady started in radio in Seattle in 1959, and moved to Santa Rosa with his doll-of-a-wife, Carol, and began as weekday Morning Man at KSRO on April 1, 1960. He and newsman Merle Ross were the Johnny Carson and Walter Cronkite of Sonoma County for four decades. In 2004, after 44 years at KSRO, Grady moved to KZST and cut back to weekends. Well, up through October of 2012, Jim was STILL ON THE AIR at KZST on weekend mornings, 52 years later! Here’s a salute to the man behind the mic, who finally “gave up the mic” yesterday, by veteran PD reporter Chris Smith who (along with Merle Ross’ daughter, fellow PD reporter Randi Rossman) was a PD reporter when I left KSRO back in 1987:



    Jim Grady & Merle Ross at KSRO in 1980


  • Happy Birthday Tim McGraw.. from Richard Simmons

    It was early in the morning back on May 1, 1998 that Christopher & Co. Celebrity Impersonations got a call from the staff of legendary country artist TIM McGRAW…

    They told me that he and his wife, country artist FAITH HILL, were at V. SATTUI WINERY in St Helena shooting a music video, and that he was trying to ignore his birthday…they wanted to surprise him. They already had the storyline worked out for me, too.

    “We tease Tim a lot that he’s a bit of a homophobe, and he’s petrified of gaining weight and looking out of shape for his fans. So we thought it would be funny if you came in as RICHARD SIMMONS!”

    Needless to say he was surprised, and I gave him and his wife and their staff a performance they will never forget. Richard Simmons had Tim McGraw prancing around the room with him to the tune of the Village People classic “Macho Man,” as Richard poked Tim in the belly, saying, “C’mon, Timmy…I’ve seen better lumps in oatmeal! Let’s start sweatin’ to the oldies!”

  • Christopher on the radio Thursday 4/26 in Sonoma

    Christopher Linnell will once again be a guest on KSVY91.3FM Radio in Sonoma on Thursday, April 26, 2012, from 815-9am on the Ken Brown Morning Show http://sunfmtv.com/?cat=170.  Ken is the former mayor of Sonoma, a current city councilman, and he is one of the voices to which the town arises each morning.  On April 3rd, Christopher was the guest of Diana Dawn on her “Some Like It Hot” radio program on KSVY (that’s the photo above; you can listen to that program online at: http://sunfmtv.com/showarchive/public/2012-04-03__18_59_57.mp3 ).

    MORNINGS IN SONOMA is Sonoma Valley’s own morning community show. Hosted by City Council member KEN BROWN and a variety of guest hosts, Mornings In Sonoma gives local television viewers a chance to peek into the inner sanctum of the Sun FM 91.3 Sonoma radio control room, through its simulcast on sister cable TV channel, Sun TV Comcast Channel 27.

    Brown’s daily co-hosts include Wally Breitman, Bill Stallings, Jeff Gilbert, Smokin’ Joe Herrshaft, Donna Piranha and engineering whirlwind HelpMeHarry. Tune in and find out what your favorite DJs wear to work at 8 am and just how much coffee it takes to fuel a two-hour show.


    You can listen to KSVY streaming online at:  http://sunfmtv.com/docs/miniplayerpopup.html, and you can watch the show on TV at: http://sunfmtv.com/docs/studiopopup.html

  • Stop SOPA & PIPA as written!


     If you value your Constitutional right to free speech, please contact both of your Senators and your representative in the House, and ask them to prevent SOPA and PIPA from passing as written.


    We must control online piracy, intellectual theft, and copyright infringement, but conventionally, on a case-by-case basis, not by shutting down the entire internet.  Google and Facebook are already guiding our browsers too much, don’t let Big Brother do it, too.


    Wikipedia is the largest encyclopedia ever written.  Here’s what it has to say on the subject:


    <<SOPA and PIPA represent two bills in the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate respectively. SOPA is short for the “Stop Online Piracy Act,” and PIPA is an acronym for the “Protect IP Act.” (“IP” stands for “intellectual property.”) In short, these bills are efforts to stop copyright infringement committed by foreign web sites, but, in our opinion, they do so in a way that actually infringes free expression while harming the Internet. Detailed information about these bills can be found in the Stop Online Piracy Act and PROTECT IP Act articles on Wikipedia, which are available during the blackout.>>


    I have sent the following message to my representatives in Congress:


    “Please do not allow SOPA and PIPA to be passed as they are.  As a performing artist and writer, I regard my copyright and intellectual property rights highly, but they should be protected more specifically.  My civil rights are at risk when government considers blocking the free flow of information.  Please do not allow these bills to protect my copyright and IP rights by trampling on my free speech rights.  Thank you!”


    Liberals and conservatives alike can agree that our Constitutional right to free speech is the single most important issue that exists.  Please help to protect it now.


  • Christopher impersonates the San Francisco Giants’ Closer Brian “Fear the Beard” Wilson

    Christopher is now offering a fully-costumed impersonation of SF Giants’ Closer Brian “Fear the Beard” Wilson.

    Hire Brian Wilson for your party and promotion.  He comes equipped with a real beard, a baseball glove, a baseball bat, an orange ice chest to swat around, and a real attitude!

    Call Christopher at 707-762-2596, or e-mail Christopher@HireAStar.net.