Dana Gould Comedy Bar, Toronto ON, February 18
Published Feb 19, 2016In his polished performance in front of a sold-out Comedy Bar audience, Dana Gould was as unabashedly animated in his delivery as he was slyly witty. Accompanied by top-notch openers Mike Wilmot and Pete Zedlacher, Gould was an utter thrill to watch.
One of the most enchanting things about Gould was the ease of his stage presence. His words were often bitter, but his delivery was so cheerful that his pessimism registered in the crowd's eyes as comical, relatable realism rather than negativity. Gould tossed the mic between his hands with contagious joy, acted out bizarre characters and situations with exceptionally wholehearted dedication, and unflinchingly held pauses to accent his material with gripping denouements. Most impressively, Gould somehow managed to take his jacket halfway off during the punch line of a joke without letting it disrupt his comedic flow. This naturalism was masterful, and clearly gave credence to the theory that comedians only get better with time.
Likewise, the sharp writing of Gould's hour was impressive. His opening material about the Kennedy assassination and the insanely brutal way that chimpanzees disable their attackers was absurd and darkly witty, as was his portrayal of his childhood with an alcoholic father. On a similarly edgy tangent, Gould discussed the pointlessness of getting offended, and performed a series of short jokes about taboo subjects that somehow never caused the crowd to groan or cringe. Furthermore, Gould comically illustrated why life is never fair, and found raw hilarity in laser vaginal rejuvenation surgery while remaining surprisingly highbrow considering the crude territory.
Having said that, Gould also had a good deal of equally funny material that was far more innocent. He explained his hatred of mermaids with viscerally comical passion, shared an amusingly simple new method for dealing with people he disagrees with, and candidly and cleanly discussed how clueless he feels in the dating world after being in relationships for nearly two decades.
In addition, Gould's openers were also very enjoyable. Mike Wilmot delivered a fantastic local joke about the pointlessness of Chester subway station, and shared an amusing bit about how his fear of his wife has allowed him to detect her approach even before his dog senses it. Pete Zedlacher, another amazing Canadian comic, then shared an extensive narrative about going skiing with his friends who are expert snowboarders. His lively story was told with vivid characters and voices, as well as comically astonishing descriptions of the foolhardy jump he attempted and his resultant injuries.