Because I’m something of a comedy snob I have to confess to having doubts as to whether I’d like D.J. Demers set, if only because he was a contestant on America’s Got Talent. I’m pleased that yet a-bloody-gain I was completely wrong for thinking this, as it isn’t predictable gags or obvious crowd pleasing material that you sometimes get from comedians who appear on such shows but a truly fun hour of stand up from a man who’s great at what he does.
After a brief opening where he plays with the audience a little, dedicating the set to his brother Michael by pointing up in the air mournfully, before revealing he’s doing so because Michael’s a pilot, he gets big laughs from the get go before announcing that Michael is dead too, and died what he loved doing, killing hundreds of people. It’s a strong opening and shows that Demer’s has a great talent for unpredictable punchlines, and also that he’s a very confident, assured performer.
A large section of the set is devoted to the fact that he’s deaf, though he can hear to a certain extent thanks to hearing aids. Out of this subject he comes up with a good deal of impressive material, from the advantages of having poor hearing to the fact that he often misunderstands films, and that he can’t understand whispering, with the best part of it revolving around how he doesn’t enjoy hearing tests as he know’s he’s going to fail – he has a unique take on his condition and all of it made me laugh a lot. He also has a fun bit where he toys with the audience over his sexuality after mentioning that he and his partner have broken up and as there was no reaction the audience was clearly “Trying to solve the mystery”, it’s a section he generates a lot of strong laughs out of before eventually revealing he is straight. Carrying on about sexuality he discusses moving to America and how insane it is that gay men weren’t allowed to give blood until recently, and that even then they’re now only able to do so if they’ve not had sex for a year, which leads to another laugh out loud moment.
In the mid section the quality declines a little, it’s still very likeable but it’s not as strong as his opening twenty five minutes is, but he still has a fair bit of decent material about how he hates nightclubs due to not being able to hear people talk, and how his friends screw around with him by saying things like “This is D.J,, he loves having sex with dead people” and because he has no idea what they actually said he just agrees with them and hopes for the best. There’s also an amusing if not particularly astonishing bit on the embarrassment of choking to death, and a routine about sitting on toilets which again made me smile a fair deal and laugh a couple of times, but it wasn’t quite as good as the material earlier in the special. This is only a very minor complaint though, and it’s of course rare that any stand up set is hit after hit, and the final fifteen minutes is a real return to form as he discusses his dislike of airplane travel and his confusion over why everyone isn’t given a parachute, before ending on a story about past performances on a cruise ship that has a fantastic pay off and brings the show to a close.
It’s not the most unconventional stand up you’ll ever hear, it won’t outrage or shock or make you reconsider your political beliefs, but it is an extremely strong set with a lot of intriguing takes on subjects which aren’t covered that often in stand up, his material on being deaf is especially funny and it’s where he really shines, but there isn’t a weak note within the whole set. So if you like stand up which you can rely upon to make you laugh regularly, and aren’t an idiot like I was when it comes to comedians who’ve appeared on talent shows, you’ll really enjoy D.J. Demers’ comedy.