Did you know that Chris D’Elia is a comic?
Back up… Who is Chris D’Elia? He’s the guy who co-stars in the (just renewed for a second season) sitcom Whitney.
Okay. Now… Did you know he was a standup comic?
Hold on… Let’s rephrase that. He does standup.
AVC: You were acting before you did stand-up, right?
CD: I was acting here and there as a guest star and stuff on different TV shows and I was a writer writing stuff, and having stuff optioned but never turned into anything. I got onstage just because I always wanted to do it, and I just kind of at a loss got onstage, because my career wasn’t going the way I wanted it to. Once I started doing stand-up, everything fell into place. That was when I started acting more; I felt like I’d found my place in the business.
(First of all, didn’t the A. V. Club usta ask decent questions? A V. Club Chicago editor Marah Eakin seems to be phoning this one in.)
But back to Mr. D’Elia: We are disturbed. We get the 1992 Willies when we read the above paragraph. Anyone remember when desperate agents and managers were shoehorning their actor/actress clients into the standup world in a frantic and desperate effort to up their clients’ profiles? We remember. Standup was the hottest thing at the time… and it was all the rage for actors to wake up one day and proclaim that they were suddenly standup comics! And, as the standup industry started to sputter and shake and shrink (and as the competition for smaller and smaller pieces of the post-apocalyptic standup pie became fiercer), there was much resentment among the comics in New York and Los Angeles at these standup interlopers.
I got onstage just because I always wanted to do it, and I just kind of at a loss got onstage, because my career wasn’t going the way I wanted it to.
Oof dah! It’s happening again! The poor schnook comics who toil in the clubs for years, hone their craft, then forsake all the creature comforts to move to an efficiency apartment on one of the coasts and give The Dream a shot… get muscled aside for Actor Dude whose agent has decided that standup is the ideal way to get back the career mojo!
Of course, Mr. D’Elia may be a swell guy who is a deadly serious standup comic (you can watch a pair of clips embedded in the article and decide for yourself), but, like we said, it’s a bit unnerving. We suppose that it’s a sign that standup is so huge that folks think they can leech off its momentum. We suppose that’s further indication of the cache that standup comedy can confer on even the dilletantes. And we need not worry that it’s not necessarily true that some sort of Second Comedy Apocalypse will follow. But, we’re getting the 1992 Willies again.
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