Chris D'Elia on Open Mics and Why He Hates Hecklers

Chris D'Elia didn't start doing stand-up until 2006, but that's not to say he didn't start working on his comedy well before then.

"My family's real funny, so I had to be funny," D'Elia says. "I really had no choice."

Almost nine years ago, D'Elia began participating in open mic nights as a New Year's resolution. From there, D'Elia found what he wanted to do, and began attending open mics more and more regularly as the year went on.

See also: Comedian Paula Poundstone on Laughter, Forgetting Her Lines, and Cat Pee

In less than a decade, D'Elia has gone from open mics to world tours. He's been on the Oddball Tour with big names including Dave Chappelle and Louis C.K., as well as headlining his own shows all over North America.

"On the Under No Influence Tour, it's just me alone on the tour, and it's still so cool to me that thousands of people will come to see me on some nights," D'Elia says. "But at the same time, it's always fun to do big shows like the Oddball Tour with those guys."

Whether he's headlining some smaller theaters, like the Tempe Improv beginning on New Year's Eve, or one of the openers of a massive stadium tour, D'Elia just enjoys being on stage.

"My favorite part is just being on stage and making myself laugh and making others laugh," D'Elia says. "It's really given me an outlet for my jokes. Before, I used to just be the silly guy trying to make jokes all the time, but now I've calmed down a lot."

Overall, D'Elia believes that one major difference between his style of comedy when compared with many others is the comfortable stage presence he brings to the table.

"When some other comics take the stage, they feel like it's a show and that they're just there to perform for you," D'Elia says. "With mine, it feels like everyone there is just my friend, and I'm telling just jokes and trying to make them laugh."

Fans of D'Elia can expect to see a mix of material they're familiar with and "new stuff," particularly since the Los Angeles-based comedian just filmed a new comedy special earlier this month.

Whether you've memorized every line of D'Elia's first Comedy Central special White Male. Black Comic. or you only know him from his time on television shows such as Undateable, Whitney, and Workaholics, there's one thing D'Elia wants you to know before you go see him.

"I don't like when people heckle. I don't care if it's positive or not," D'Elia says. "People think it's okay because there are a lot of videos online of me interacting with the crowd, but it's not OK. I can't stand it."

Chris D'Elia will be at the Tempe Improv from December 31 through January 3. Tickets cost $30 (or $56 for a dinner package) and are available on the Improv's website.

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