Slice of Life

Chris D’Elia makes sold-out Family Weekend audience laugh out loud

Moriah Ratner | Staff Photographer

Chris D'Elia performed to a sold-out audience Saturday night.

Chris D’Elia said the biggest change that came with growing up is that he can’t pretend he wants to go to people’s birthday parties anymore.

“I’m 36 — I’m not celebrating you,” he said.

D’Elia took the stage of Goldstein Auditorium for University Union’s first standup show of the year during Family Weekend Saturday night.

Perhaps best known for his lead role as Danny Burton on NBC’s “Undateable,” D’Elia has also appeared on the shows “Workaholics” and “Whitney.” He has participated in Comedy Central’s Justin Bieber roast and has been on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and “Comedy Central Presents.”

After walking out to greet a sold-out auditorium of students and their families with his fist raised and clad in a plain t-shirt, jeans and sneakers, D’Elia proved to Syracuse University that his candid and unfiltered sense of humor can make just about any audience member laugh out loud.

“I know I look like a tired eagle,” he began as the audience laughed and clapped.

D’Elia spoke on the subjects which are familiar to him — like girls, becoming an adult, relationships and marriage — often pausing to chuckle at his own joke or run a hand through his long hair and crack a wry smile.

Before D’Elia’s performance, opening act Michael Lenoci warmed up the audience by talking about dating, marriage proposals, student debt and owning a scooter.

“A girl in the audience probably thought I was cute, then I said I had a scooter and she was like, ‘never mind,’” he said.


Moriah Ratner | Staff Photographer

He talked about how girls pretend to be surprised when their boyfriends propose them — but he thinks that really there is no girl who is ever unsuspecting because they will always go to some special or extravagant place to pop the question.

“Take her to a Wendy’s drive-through and propose if you want to surprise her,” Lenoci cracked.

When D’Elia performed, he continued the theme of girls and relationships by talking about his past marriage and all the reasons it went wrong. D’Elia proved to be cynical about love, as he talked about how hard it is to find someone you want to spend your life with.

“That’s what love is — hanging out with someone for too long,” he said.

The movies glorify romance, he said, like the scenes where people stand outside in the rain and declare their love for each other.

“In real life, when it starts raining, people say ‘let’s go inside,” he said with a laugh.

But he ended the bit on a more positive note by saying love is “so shitty because it has to be — because it’s awesome.” Everything that is good in life is equally as bad, he said — like eating too many Kit Kats.

To supplement his frank and sometimes crude jokes, D’Elia switched to some of these moments of serious contemplation as well.

D’Elia had a lot to say about the idea of being a parent. He said he isn’t ready to have a kid because he is “scared and selfish.”

“Having kids changes who you are for the better — f**k it,” he said. “That happened to my buddy, he used to be my best friend; now he’s a dad. That’s how selfish I am.”

He described a scene where his male bravado was compromised when the same friend came to stay with him for a week at his house and brought his four-year-old daughter.

The girl asked him to come see a “secret garden” with him, and although he tried to act tough and cool, the girl got “cuter and cuter” until he finally caved when she looked at him and asked, “Chris, do you want to come to my birthday party?”


Moriah Ratner | Staff Photographer

D’elia doesn’t like when adults tell kids they can do anything they want.

“We look at them in the eye and tell them shit like, ‘you can do anything you put your mind to,’” he said, then added, “No you can’t.”

He said this is why people have such big egos, which makes people think they are the “star of their own movie.”

“I think this is my movie — I’m literally onstage yelling into a microphone at you guys,” he said.

He said everyone wants to “be Denzel Washington,” walking away from their cars to music like an action movie even though — as he pointed out — “when you get out of the car the music stops because it was on the radio in your car.”

Even though he paced the stage with confidence and self-assurance, D’elia seems to know he’s not the star of his own movie.

“In my life I’m not Denzel,” he said. “But that’s OK.”


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