NBC’s ‘Undateable’ cast struggles to go from screen to stage

Crazy eyes: Chris D’Elia’s physicality and characters are still fun, but his new bits aren’t fully formed (much like the Undateable tour).
Adam Shane
Jason Harris

Two stars

NBC's Undateable Tour March 20, House of Blues.

The cast of NBC sitcom Undateable features some buzz comics, a few of whom have already created great specials. The live version should have been a slam dunk, but Friday night we got the comedy equivalent of an airball.

Cast member David Fynn is not a comedian, which he reminded us whenever something fell flat. He said showrunner Bill Lawrence was supposed to host but couldn’t make it; still, there’s no reason Fynn couldn’t have properly introduced the gang and sent them onstage to enthusiastic applause.

Things hit an upswing with Ron Funches and his easy drawl. Funches, the program’s large, huggable, black friend, had one of the best takes on the N-word I’ve heard. “I don’t believe you should ever use that word to hurt people. But I do believe we should use it to shame our pets. ... If you have a parakeet that thinks it’s better than you. ‘Oh, you think you’re better than me just because you can fly? Flying-ass ni**a, you wouldn’t be sh*t without me. I buy your birdseed. I buy the scarves you refuse to wear.”

Rick Glassman arrived next and didn’t fare as well, filled with reasons he can’t close the deal with women and his fear of “going soft.” When it was time for his closer, he first claimed it would take too much time then said, “I’m pretending to have material, but I really ran out,” before awkwardly leaving the stage.

Brent Morin’s high-energy set picked things up again. His Northeast persona worked perfectly when describing how having too many apps can ruin your life when you’re wasted. On drunk-emailing your boss: “You’ll be like, ‘You know what, Ted? You’re fat. Your daughter smells like toast. Your business plan is sh*t. Your wife’s whorey. I’ll see you Monday. Lol. Smiley face. Angel face. Two Zs. Eight lines down. XX space space for no reason. Huh? Send.’”

If you spent any time in the LA comedy scene in 2013, you knew Chris D’Elia was the “it” comic. His special White Male. Black Comic. was one of that year’s best. Kudos to the talented D’Elia for leaving signature material behind, but his new stuff doesn’t yet pack the punch of his greatest hits. His trademark physicality and characters are still fun, but the bits aren’t as fully formed. It will likely get there, but it’s not there yet, much like this tour.

  • The singer-songwriter, who performs three shows at Encore Theater, hasn’t played a concert here since 2010.

  • An interest in fibers and column pedestals unites the artists, along with a fascination for transforming materials.

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