Though he’s been performing stand-up comedy for eight years, Chris D’Elia is far better known for his comedic efforts in two immensely different formats. The comic got his start in acting, which yielded a regular role in the short-lived NBC sitcom Whitney, and a subsequent starring role on a current peacock network sitcom, the recently renewed Undatable. Along the way, D’Elia also amassed a staggering Vine following, to the tune of 1.5 million followers and more than 100 million loops. Though he somewhat proved his worth on stage with his one-hour Comedy Central special White Male Black Comic last year, the actor’s notoriety in alternate avenues unquestionably factored into the spacious, high-capacity Pabst Theater playing host to network TV thespian and viral video sensation. Before he embarked on the 31-city “Under No Influence” tour, he said on Nerdist that he had, at times, questioned whether he was doing too many shows at sites that were too big.
Thursday night, the part-time comic packed two levels of the theater with people who were, at large, more aware of his work in other comedic mediums. An hour and a half—that’s three Undatable episodes (with commercials) or 900 full-length Vines, for those scoring at home—later, the dude better known as that handsome comic actor from TV showed the Pabst he was worth the price of admission.
D’Elia came out to a standing ovation from much of the crowd, with many of those contributing to the deafening (and, unfortunately, repeated throughout the show) squeal. “All right, all right!” D’Elia said, waiting inordinately long for the audience response to die down, “It’s not gonna be that good.” However, he quickly started to prove himself wrong with a reenactment of Tupac’s dying words (“Fuck you” to a police officer asking who shot him, by the way), and D’Elia’s prediction of how he would react if shot—complete with effeminate screams and unflattering body contortions. The physicality continued to an air-hump-heavy tale about his childhood dog “making love” to his cousin Nick.
Though the set came off as freewheeling and informal (complete with the headliner repeatedly cracking himself up), he committed to every wild turn of the ride on which he was taking the captive crowd. He spent more than five minutes employing a thick Russian accent, alleging they were an unhappy people, and pondering how they devised the concept of the backwards R. Amid the one-man parade of heavily-accented characters, wild flailing, and a tally of sneered “fuck”s that could be an all-time Pabst Theater record, D’Elia usually set camp on identifiable base of gender differences and dating. “This is a message for girls…you’re not going to like,” D’Elia started. “Relax!” The comment incited a “BOO!” from a quartet of young women (who slightly modified the “WOO!” they used to fill any space without D’Elia’s voice). “Are you saying Boo? Boo? Say it again,” he said to the most annoying one, cupping an ear. “You sound like a fucking sad ghost.”
From there, D’Elia continue ribbing the noticeably large contingent of female show-goers with a bit about “Lisa,” the woman who is always there to console your girlfriend (who is perpetually either exhausted from running around all day or who simply “can’t even!”). He relived a street encounter with an ex, before taking men to task for being exclusively vaginally motivated, and chiding every guy on the planet for thinking they “Fuck HORD!” It was far-far from high art and, yeah, there have been less misogynist events on that stage, but D’Elia’s set was a scatter-shot of crudeness and profanity that hit everyone in the funny bone with equal accuracy. His 10-minute rant against babies—whom he indicated were “not done yet”—and little kids (complete with impersonations) yielded an especially healthy amount of laughs.
It was obvious he felt comfortable up on stage. Any worries about the lack of NBC-watermarked scripts causing the comic to fall short on time and in respect to set quality were dispelled very quickly. In fact, he probably could have cut some of the fat and managed a really tight 75 minutes instead of 90 (which D’Elia said was the longest he’s ever done). No matter if people were brought out on account of his TV pedigree, his Vine notoriety, or his stand-up experience, D’Elia exceeded expectations and showed where his focus truly lies: killing on stage with a mic in his hand (and occasionally near his penis).