Tommy Dassalo – An Explosion of Colours [FringeTIX]
Tommy Dassalo @ The Tuxedo Cat – Studio
6:00pm, Tue 23 Feb 2010
This has been a bit of a weird year for me, planning-wise; I scheduled all of my Festival shows very late and, rather than booking all my Fringe shows a week in advance (as I have been wont to do in the past), I seem to be doing my scheduling two days at a time, picking up tickets in wussy batches of sevens or eights.
The Scheduling for this Tuesday was predicated around one show; everything else was at the mercy of that single, inconveniently-timed-and-placed event. Frantically squeezing in Shortlisted shows around it, I’d originally selected Dooda for the 6:00pm timeslot – only to discover, upon picking up the ticket, that it wasn’t a six o’clock show at all, but 8:30pm. Which was, like, a bit shit, and revealed some horrible inconsistencies with my Scheduling that has led to me second-guess every subsequent planning decision.
So I plucked Dassalo from the Shortlist, snaffled a ticket, and donated my Dooda ticket to the TuxCat crew for free redistribution. Hopefully someone out there was able to take advantage of it.
But enough about me! There’s Tommy Dassalo to talk about.
As his bio points out, Dassalo has written a lot of comedy for TV – and it really shows in his act. He’s got a wealth of material that he whips through, intricate jokes with massive amounts of crossover and clever callbacks. There’s an element of – well, if not surrealism, certainly oddness – to his work, as evidenced by his father’s dog-biscuit & balloon escapades, and Tommy’s whimsical toilet-paper designs… but there’s plenty of (young) experiential material in there, too, such as his Wet’n’Wild escapades and “mature” friends’ less-than-escapades.
And this all sounds great so far: decent material goes a long way, especially from someone as young and earnest as Dassalo. But there’s a teensy-weensy little problem with his delivery, with the pacing of the material; the callbacks are really close together, often only a minute or two apart, and that really lessens their potential impact. The closing joke, however, is a brilliant example of a callback done right, reaching back twenty minutes or more to invoke the tale of being spooned by an ultrasound operator during his disease-investigation exploits.
So, at the end of the day, Tommy Dassalo proved himself to be an accomplished writer, but a fledgling standup comedian – but one with a lot of potential. And, as a last-minute ring-in show, I’m pretty happy with that. Mind you, I did have to resort to begging the other half-dozen audience members for one of their ticket stubs to maintain my collection for the year, which was a bit of a bizarre experience.