Chris D'Elia and Whitney Cumming
Chris D’Elia has performed on stages in stand-up comedy clubs around the nation, allowing audiences a glimpse into his hilariously dark and comically twisted mind. Though he still lives and breathes for the stage, he now will come directly into your living room once a week to deliver laughs for free courtesy of his role on NBC’s Whitney. Playing Whitney Cummings's boyfriend, Alex, D'Elia and his co-star have a natural rapport—likely from years of off-camera friendship. Here D’Elia tells us how he became involved with the project, how one should handle a heckler during a live set, and his thoughts on dramatic love-making.
You’ve been in countless comedy clubs. What’s the best retort to a heckler?
CHRIS D’ELIA: I was at the Comedy Store in LA and this guy was riding me all night long. Finally, I stopped and said, “I know you guys came here for a show, and that’s great, but lets forget that there’s a show going on. If you want, sir, I will take you outside and we can fight. I am 100 percent serious. If you want to do it, we can go right now. And then I will come back to do stand up.” And I meant it. By no means am I a tough guy, but I would’ve done it then. He was ruining the show. He didn’t say anything after that.
What do you think drives people to heckle in the first place?
D’ELIA: In LA I think everyone assumes they’re going to be more famous than you already so they don’t have respect for you. Respect in Los Angeles is measured by your fame or your potential fame. So they think they’ll be better than you one day, so why not talk smack now?
On your Twitter feed there are a fair amount of posts about overly dramatic love making, which are side-splitting. Where’s the inspiration for those coming from?
D’ELIA: I always say I’ve never had sex I only make love. I think “love making” is hilarious. What’s better than saying, “Without warning I’m holding a mandolin. A spotlight engulfs me as you take my side. I release the mandolin and we make love. A son is made.” It’s even funnier that people out there are doing the same thing seriously. There’s a Playmate or some soft-core Cinemax porn girl on there who tweets similar dramatic sexual stuff, but means it. I think her name is Courtney.
Do you mean Courtney Stodden? The 17-year-old who married the 51-year-old actor?
D’ELIA: Yes! Wait, she’s 17? What? I had no idea. I thought she was in porn or something.
Not yet. What’s the best part about doing a sitcom like Whitney in front of a live studio audience?
D’ELIA: The energy you can feel off the audience. And you can put it right back. It’s tricky because sometimes it seems like the energy is so high that they’re so amped and they’ll laugh at a lot of things.
How did you and Whitney meet?
D’ELIA: We met about five years ago when I was doing stand up. We were fooling around on the mics together for a while. When she asked me to do the show, she said “I wrote a part for you,” but you hear that every three days in LA so I immediately wondered who would really end up playing it. But she was serious and I started the process of going through all the hoops with the network auditions and readings. And I ended up getting it after all.
Catch Chris D’Elia on NBC’s Whitney every Thursday on NBC at 9:30 PM