After a long, long… long wait, Chris D’Elia finally makes it down to Australia for his debut shows in Melbourne and Sydney. Earlier this year D’Elia’s performances were cancelled due to ‘unforeseen media commitments’, and the delay only made his audience more ravenous for his stand-up.
Unfortunately I didn’t catch the name of the opening comedian, but to start we were treated to a short collection of stories about racism, dog kidnapping, and a love of Australia, and occasionally all three at the same time. The opening performer had an excellent air of awkward nihilistic millennial about him, and skilfully weaved his culture and family in with his unexpectedly (to himself) rampant patriotism for Australia. He also kidnapped a dog once. Accidentally, of course.
I’m sorry I don’t know your name, opening act guy. You were really funny. I particularly enjoyed the joke where you said you wanted to die because you had a flat tyre, because I feel that joke in my very soul.
D’Elia is an interesting guy. Before Tuesday I had never seen him before, but apparently he’s been all over the stage and screen for years, from Netflix-only movies to TV series’ and his own stand-up specials. And now, having seen him, I can understand the draw. D’Elia has a great way of elevating his normal life to the silly and spectacular: from his conversations with his dogs to his fight with a backyard raccoon, D’Elia eloquently mimics the personality of all inanimate objects he talks to, including himself. His seemingly-trademark eyebrow quirk at the end of a sentence or story had the audience in laughter, and his expressive movements definitely added a great flair to the story about his dogs conspiring against him to poo in the lounge room, as well as many others.
In addition to his pre-prepared stuff, D’Elia shut down a rather overenthusiastic heckler in the audience with skill and grace (well, maybe skill and disdain), calling her an idiot not for interrupting, but for saying she loved giraffes. It seems that even despite his experience in scripted environments, D’Elia still retains the sharp wit needed to take care of someone a little too excited to take care of themselves.
The only downside of the night was that both D’Elia and the opener perhaps laughed at their own jokes a little too often, often pre-empting the end of their stories with laughter. Nothing too severe, but I did find myself drawn out of the show by it – aren’t we the ones that are supposed to be laughing? Still, it was endearing to know that after telling their tales on repeat, they still found them entertaining enough to tell again.