DARCY MICHAEL GOES TO CHURCH (Shelagh O’Brien). 55 minutes. Now streaming on CraveTV. Rating: NNNN
Darcy Michael Goes To Church marks CraveTV’s entry into the original stand-up comedy special market, and it’s an excellent start (episodes with Debra DiGiovanni and Graham Chittenden follow later this spring).
Produced by Just For Laughs and taped last year at the Berkeley Church during JFL42, the hour-long show captures the BC-based artist’s act beautifully. The out-and-proud comic’s had an unusual career arc, having lost more than 120 pounds since he started doing stand-up (“The secret,” he quips, is “diet, exercise, cocaine”), so there’s lots of ground to cover: body image, keeping his 13-year marriage exciting and raising a daughter and pets.
Along the way there are attempts at doing Bikram yoga, a discussion about having a threesome and one hilarious bit about babysitting his sister’s Boston terrier that ends in a victim-blaming joke. A good chunk of his act concerns his love of drugs and dick, with colourful stories to illustrate both. And Michael frequently sends up the fact that he’s delivering these jokes in a former church.
With his huge grin and gritty voice, he’s got instant audience rapport, and his acting ability comes through both in facial expressions and his convincing deadpan punchlines. Even his emotional closer about how his grandfather didn’t attend his wedding gets subverted with unexpected laughs. Stay for the final credits, where Michael’s family joins him onstage.