You might recognize him from his stand-up acts, his role on NBC’s sitcom “Undateable,” or maybe even his popular Vine videos.
A regular act at Hollywood’s famed comedy club The Laugh Factory, Chris D’Elia has dabbled in many art forms, but stand-up comedy remains his bread and butter.
His first theater tour, Under No Influence, kicked off on Sept. 18 in Westbury, N.Y., and is set to hit Columbus on Thursday. This is also D’Elia’s first performance in Columbus as the headliner.
As for the tour name: “My brother helped me (name) it,” D’Elia said. “It means me being me. The people who know me know I don’t do drugs or drink, so it’s kind of a double entendre.”
As an observational comic, he pulls inspiration from everyday events that appeal to him and his silly sense of humor to tell a story.
“Usually, something will happen, and I’ll say something about it with my friends, but I won’t realize it’s what I want to talk about on stage. What ends up happening is one night, I’ll just end up talking about it and then it either becomes part of the act or it doesn’t,” D’Elia said.
Joe Horan, a fourth-year in mathematics who is an aspiring stand-up comedian, said he thinks the key to successful stand-up is to perform an act like the comedian is merely conversing with the audience for the first time.
“Any stand-up comedian would want the vibe to be like you’re just getting up and talking,” Horan said. “You don’t want anything to look planned or memorized. You want to practice it so many times that it feels like the first time.”
Horan said Columbus is a great platform for beginner comics to build their material.
“Columbus has a lot of opportunities but not a strong audience. So, you can get a lot of experience and try new jokes but you are never really guaranteed that audience, which is an unfortunate thing,” he said.
D’Elia also has ties to acting, and he said his stand-up experience comes in handy. His resume includes shows like “Whitney” and “Undateable,” as well as guest appearances on “Workaholics” and “Monk.”
The comedian said stand-up helps with acting by increasing confidence, which transpires to all aspects of life.
In contrast to acting, which requires an actor to adopt a new persona, D’Elia said he feels like his comedic personality remains true to his personality in real life.
“I don’t think my (personality) is different,” D’Elia said. “My opinions are still how I feel and how I am. It’s like a heightened version of me.”
D’Elia prefers silliness over crude or offensive comedy, and said comedians like Jim Carrey, Eddie Murphy and Robin Williams are some of his favorites.
“I don’t know, I like silly because silly is just dumb. I like s— where people are laughing and they’re like ‘why is this funny?’” D’Elia said.
He said the Under No Influence tour is similar to what he usually does on stage, but of course with new material.
Some Ohio State students who have seen one of D’Elia’s more famous bits, in which “drunk girls,” said they noticed his movement and physicality in the performance.
Kara Filicky, a fifth-year in strategic communication, commended D’Elia’s accurate portrayal of real life situations.
“It is so true,” Filicky said. “(The ‘drunk girls’ bit) mirrors how girls act when they’re drunk, like talking a lot and having conversations with themselves. His facial expressions and movements are also pretty accurate.”
Alix Ridge, a fourth-year in strategic communication, thinks the bit is relatable because it can transfer over to the opposite sex.
“Sadly, it’s very realistic. D’Elia is consistently crass and upfront, and puts a comedic spin on things so I don’t feel like I need to take him seriously,” Ridge said. “This can easily be a skit about two guys as much as it is about girls.”
D’Elia said he doesn’t have limits on his comedy.
“I like to make fun of anything really. I talk about guys and girls a lot. Its kind of what I pull toward a lot,” he said.
The comedian said he enjoys being physical in his act and has always been — to him, physical comedy is just funnier.
Horan said having a lot of energy in an act helps the audience laugh. Being physical and acting out the bit, like D’Elia, can help draw the viewer in to the show. However, Horan said he feels this style is more effective for comedians with a stronger following.
“A big thing with physicality is it’s easier to do it when you’re more known with a bigger audience. It’s the most awkward thing when there’s only four or five people (in the venue) and you’re not able to win them over. It’s just extremely awkward for everyone,” Horan said. “I really like Chris. He has very high energy, which makes it easier to win people over.”
D’Elia’s show in Columbus is set to take place at the Capitol Theatre at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are available at ticketmaster.com and range from $21.80 to $39.35.