Eye Weekly
showtimes concert chart listings classifieds
  MEET... 

David Dineen-Porter

ARmeet-4-026-26_11h44WHO IS HE?

David Dineen-Porter, or DDP for short, is a local comedian with an oddly (and amusingly) serious attitude towards comedy. His show, Hexiquest, consisting entirely of material he wrote and performed by a host of excellent local improv and sketch artists (himself included), runs Aug. 26 at the Tim Sims. Ostensibly a birthday show for DDP -- whose birthday may or may not actually be in August -- it strings together a series of sketches loosely intertwined with a plot about paying off evil bill collectors with a penchant for sending mafioso-style death threats.

"I wrote it gradually over the course of a year," Dineen-Porter says. "It's offbeat, pretty conceptual. What actually makes me laugh is ideas that fold in on themselves -- bizarre abstact notions like, say, a skin-coloured saxophone that fixes electronics when you play it. So I took a bunch of those things and put in some soft,
regular-sketch padding around it."

 

NO ONE WRITES THEIR OWN COMEDY SHOW. IS HE SOME KIND OF EGOMANIAC?

It depends on how you look at it. The comedic-auteur approach has more to do with Dineen-Porter's desire to push the boundaries of funny than with hogging the spotlight.

"I decided to do it all myself because in all the groups that I've been in, [including current troupe, The Iliads], I often find that I have difficulty convincing people that an audience is willing to experience some stuff which I think is very good," he says. "When I started out, I was like everyone else -- you have something that you think is the golden nub of all comedy: Monty Python, Kids in the Hall, Jerry Seinfeld, whetever you like. And if you're lucky, you open your eyes and see what's happening now versus what happened then."

 

THIS ALL SOUNDS VERY THEORETICAL FOR A COMEDY SHOW.

That's half the point. When asked who inspires him, Dineen-Porter rhymes off a surreal list of performers, naming everyone from Tony Robbins to Michael Jordan. The styles and tricks he likes best -- layered dialogue, surrealism, pseudo-verité scenes -- read more like a Robert Altman primer than anything to do with a good guffaw, and he names Sealab 2021, Aqua Teen Hunger Force and other Cartoon Network shows as some of his current favourite comedic enterprises.

"I'm a big fan of cartoons and comic strips," he says. "My sketch is somewhat like Gary Larson, if he was a live thing."

 

SO WHAT DOES HE DO FOR A PLAIN GOOD TIME?

In addition to performing with The Iliads, making occasional stops at weekly sketch night Catch23 and creating solo comic masterworks, Dineen-Porter is also a writer (most recently published in lit-hipster mainstay McSweeney's), a musician and a possible heir to the British throne.

"My goal is to reach a point where I'm comfortable with what I'm doing, then move to England," he says. "Oddly enough, my grandmother is British, and she's actually not that distantly related to the Queen. It's something like 219. It's far -- but it's a lot closer than you. That's the point."

JOEL MCCONVEY

Hexiquest runs Aug. 26 at the Tim Sims Playhouse, 56 Blue Jays Way. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students. 416-343-0011.

Torstar Corporation Torstar Digital