JON DORE at Yuk Yuk's Downtown, December 1, late show. Rating: NNNNN Rating: NNNNN
You could argue that stand-ups should be able to fine-tune their set to a room's energy. One comic who thrives on a prickly audience - it pumps him up - is Jon Dore, probably best known for his sidekick status on TV's Canadian Idol.
Dore's forte is the comedy of misdirection. Once we think a joke's going some place, he flips a switch and takes it somewhere else, then somewhere else again.
This isn't nearly as gimmicky as it sounds. When Dore steps on a stage, he owns it. His comic persona is someone so totally full of himself - complete with a whiff of misogyny and homophobia - that you can't help but sit up and listen. He's faux sincere, the salesman with the ridiculous pitch you want to hear just to laugh.
At the show I caught during his Yuk Yuk's Downtown headlining weekend, Dore was in superb form, interspersing his jokes with improvised riffs with the audience. At one point, after he spilled some of his beer, he got on his knees to clean it up. The audience lapped it up, proving that we don't just go to comedy for the jokes, but for how someone deals with the unexpected.
Dore's last two jokes, a pair of extended stories, were brilliant, playing with our expectations and dramatized in a way that created vivid theatre. Not something you see at most comedy clubs.