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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Chris D'Elia chats sitcoms and offers tips to up-and-coming comics

Jet-lagged on a Wednesday morning, professional actor and comedian Chris D’Elia was kind enough to take some time to speak with me about his upcoming performance at the Madison Comedy Festival and his current industry projects.

D’Elia seems to be cracking up whoever is listening or watching him in everything he does, which makes one wonder where it all started. “My whole family is funny. We would get together and just make fun of each other, and always make each other laugh. It was the way we communicated,” said D’Elia, “I thought I got the most of it, though. I was always fighting back as a kid. I loved it.”

When D’Elia first started performing stand-up, he looked to legends like Robin Williams, Eddie Murphy and Jim Carrey for inspiration.

Performing at open mic nights is a challenging and often nerve-racking experience, but essential in becoming a skilled performer. In order to succeed, one must consistently put in the work. D’Elia advises aspiring stand-ups, “Find an open mic, and if you can’t, make your own. Every single day, multiple times even, perform. That’s what I did. When I started that’s all I did and all I thought about.”

The joke-writing process is unique for everyone, and for D’Elia it seems to be natural. “I just let it come to me. If I’m with friends and we are joking around, jokes will emerge. Someone almost always strikes funny.”

He also comes up with material on the set of his hit NBC sitcom “Undateable,” alongside fellow comics Ron Funches, Rick Glassman and Brent Morin. “We’re friends from before the show. The great part about the show is we know each other’s rhythm and act. After we shoot a scene according to the script, we’ll go through it again a couple times adding improvised material that sometimes is funnier.”

An easily recognizable skill D’Elia possesses is his crowd work. Many of his stand-up clips on YouTube are all improvised crowd work. However, on this tour he said he is focusing more on prepared material for his new special that will be recorded later this year.

As for those who know and love him from his character Topher on “Workaholics,” he has neither denied nor confirmed any reappearance, saying, “They haven’t hit me up. People always say you should be back on the show. I’m not sure why I haven’t been on again. Those guys are my friends. I’d love to if they wanted.”

His stop in town for the Madison Comedy Festival will be his first time coming to Madison, and an opportunity you will not want to miss out. To prepare for his appearance, check out his latest stand up special “White Male Black Comic” and catch him on “Undateable,” returning for its second season in 2015.

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