Chris D'Elia JFL42, Toronto ON, September 21

Chris D'Elia JFL42, Toronto ON, September 21
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If there was one takeaway from Chris D'Elia's hour-long set on his Follow The Leader tour, it's that the man knows how to do an animal impression. Dolphins, dogs, deer, possums — D'Elia does them all, and is oddly spot-on with each one. And while the long slew of animal bits packed into a single routine could've gotten old quickly, somehow it didn't. (It did, however, leave me wondering how much Animal Planet he watches.)
 
For a man of his build, swagger and don't-give-a-fuck attitude, D'Elia is far from the comic you'd expect to get silly on stage. His quips about the anger he feels toward a pale, bleach blonde person at the gym, or about how he'll never apologize for jokes, are closer to what you'd expect from the seemingly hardened comic.
 
But the other 80 percent of his set consists of goofy — almost adorable — humour, at which it's cathartic to laugh. When paired, the dichotomy between these two selves makes D'Elia a dynamic performer, one that keeps his consistently loyal audiences on their toes, screaming with laughter at each twist and turn of his set.
 
Take his stories about his dogs, for example. He tell the audience he crates them "because if you piss and shit in my living room, you go in a crate, fuck you." But this display of unapologetic hardness follows an unexpected admission that his two dogs are Yorkies, the only breed he finds cute, and more importantly, the only type of dog that doesn't intimidate him with their strength and seeming masculinity. It also comes after an impression of his dogs "never not looking" at him while holding one paw in the air, and a tale about the time he wore a curtain as a cape around the house and pretended he was Jon Snow, with them watching him wide-eyed the whole time.
 
D'Elia's strength as a performer lies in his creativity, his willingness to show off a child-like side, and in the loud-mouthed energy he brings to every bit. And while you can never walk into a D'Elia show expecting to walk out with new insights on the world, you'll certainly walk away feeling better for having indulged in his silly. And hey, maybe you'll leave with some new animal facts, too.