Adam Pally JFL42, Toronto ON, September 25
Published Sep 26, 2018"Make sure to tell all your friends that this was a trainwreck, but one that you loved," Adam Pally told an audience at the Royal Theatre as he closed his show on Tuesday.
His description of his hour-long Vino Diesel show could not have been closer to the truth. He calls the show an "unlistenable podcast," in that it has the aura of a live podcast recording — surprise guests, improvised banter, audience participation — except it's not recorded or published after the fact.
In fact, this show likely wouldn't work as a podcast episode, considering that at any given time, there are ten to 15 people on stage, walking around and talking over each other, making this show extremely difficult to follow. Pally invites audience members to come on stage throughout the entire hour, grabbing wine from a sommelier, purchasing "merch" (used shirts and jackets he claims to have put logos on, but it's honestly unclear) from Pally's cousin Ben, who is simultaneously DJing the show and for the life of him, cannot stop fucking up.
If that description sounds confusing or difficult to follow, it's because that's exactly what Vino Diesel is — an hour of overstimulation; of voices on voices on voices; of games and drinks and laughs. For this particular rendition of the show, he brought Jackson Heights-based sommelier Emily Aarons all the way up to Canada, after she politely declined the invite on first request and had no choice but to agree when he kept asking.
And because "Canada has a lot of rules," the wine he presented that evening had to be picked by an American sommelier and poured by a Canadian — so he's also got token Canadian named Kathleen on stage with him too. Once Pally and his Canadian assistant opened the first bottle, a line of audience members waiting to taste it formed in the aisles, and remained the same length throughout the show.
Amid this baseline level of mayhem, Pally then invited Anthony Atamanuik, JFL42's resident Donald Trump impersonator, to the stage. Rather than conducting a formal interview, Atamanuik just became another person in the mass of bodies on stage, bantering with Pally and guests, plugging his shows, and attempting to participate in an e-cigarette smoking competition before being told sternly by the venue that they were not permitted to smoke inside.
Pally then invited local band Erika Werry & the Alphabet to the stage, who performed a song that was far too beautiful to fit the bill at this strange show, but the dichotomy between the two was certainly interesting.
In attempting to handle the shitshow he creates on stage, Pally remains a good sport throughout Vino Diesel. He banters and poses for selfies with attendees, intermittently makes fun of his cousin, jokes about losing money on the merch he's selling (despite the racks almost clearing out entirely), and is gracious to all the guests he showcases on stage. Pally is kind and welcoming, and while the show wasn't quite laugh out loud funny, it was surely entertaining to watch.