Chris D’Elia: Open-mic addict closes sitcom deal

10 Comics to Watch

Most people ditch their New Year’s resolutions. Not Chris D’Elia. Five years ago, he vowed to do stand-up at least once a week, even though he’d only tried it once, years before. “I went to the open mic at the HaHa Cafe in North Hollywood on Jan. 2, 2006, and it went really well,” recalls the shaggy-haired comic. “So then I did it every day.”

And by every day, he means every day. “I’ll sometimes do The Comedy Store, then run to The Laugh Factory, and then go back and do the other room at The Comedy Store,” says D’Elia, who racked up 430 live sets in 2010. “There’s nothing I’d rather be doing than being onstage making people laugh — and that includes sex.”

This fall, he’ll get to do both at once, sort of, as Whitney Cummings’ live-in boyfriend on the new NBC sitcom “Whitney.” Cummings conceived the part with D’Elia in mind (they’ve been friends since their open-mic days), though he still had to audition.

“I think the producers felt our chemistry because I actually really care about Whitney,” says D’Elia, who was previously a regular on TBS’s “Glory Daze.” “Good actors can re-create those feelings, but I just don’t need to.”

Even better, he didn’t have to cut his rock-star locks. “Going in, I figured if you’re a series lead, you’re probably not going to get away with looking like a Geico caveman,” he remembers, “but they were like, ‘Well, that’s Chris’ look.’ That kind of made me feel like I’d made a mark already. If the head of NBC lets you keep your long hair, that’s kind of cool.”

P.O.V.:“I don’t write my bits out. One time, I was onstage talking about how I argue with my girlfriend and how I was at a loss for words. I said, ‘I feel like I turn into Keanu Reeves,’ and then I turned into him. And that’s how that impression was born.”
Influences: Jo Koy, Jim Carrey, Eddie Murphy
Reps: United Talent Agency/3 Arts

Biz taps viral evangelists | Brands frown on fair use | Ha-ha-honorees
Jerrod Carmichael | Chris D’Elia | Josh Fadem | Pete Holmes | Thomas Middleditch | Tim Minchin | Amy Schumer | Rebel Wilson | Harris Wittels | Ali Wong