REVIEW: Chris D'Elia's NO PAIN (Netflix)
Powered by the punching intonation of Eminem’s verse on Logic’s Homicide track, Chris D’Elia confidently strolls onto the stage already smiling by the presence of the enamoured audience, who are no doubt expecting an hour of physical gags and tongue ’n’ cheek humour. The roar of cheers is enough to gather that D’Elia has already nailed the show before it’s even started.
D’Elia’s NO PAIN is a performance filled with plenty of confidence and swagger from the get go, with surprising moments of social commentary from a privileged point of view which is only aided by D’Elia’s acknowledgement of his own privilege. With every growling baby gag comes a poignant comment of self-control. We’re brought into the show with this overarching theme of confidence and how confidence separates the patriarchy in life. D’Elia, he tells us, has performed an overwhelming amount of shows that have bombed in order to get his career to where it is is now, a successful career at that; this is important as it allows us to understand that whatever he says from here on out is fully meant and intentional, the culmination of a lot of bad shows. With that said… right, are the art critics gone? Good.
Chris D’Elia fucking rocks, man. He absolutely kills it. One minute you’re laughing at the idea of your friends' grandad soiling himself and playing it off as the coolest person in the room, the next you’re picturing D’Elia getting fucked by a dolphin on stage. On paper, this feels like a stretch and a ‘be there’ moment to find entertaining, but D’Elia manages to combine these ideas with his view on being a privileged white male in an industry of success. You’re laughing at him and his adaptation to situations in his life, but he is also laughing at himself with you! Not to spoil the gags in the show, but D’Elia makes excellent points on PC culture with the idea of a dolphin slitting its fins. I know.
How, you ask? It’s all in D’Elia’s face and confidence. Like an American Lee Evans, D’Elia’s facial expressions are comedic instruments themselves, he uses them as a juxtaposition to the comments he makes. True craft and professionalism exude in this physical format. There are some lulls throughout the pacing, however, where the jokes struggle to segway into the next topic of conversation. These ultimately show more prominently toward the end, where the show finishes on a blunt note. It left me wanting more, but not in a “Wow, I’d like to watch some more of D’Elia’s content!” rather in the way of a “I wish this wasn’t constrained by a 1 hour time slot”. Basically, it could’ve had a tidier finish.
With all of that in mind, during this time of isolation and uncertainty, Chris D’Elia’s NO PAIN is an excellent watch and a sure fire way to liven up your night in. Do give it a watch on Netflix, and continue to stay safe.
PS. Yes, I did google images of dolphins fucking.
REVIEW BY WILL SEEBOHM