FRINGE: Drag deity does deadly Devil

Mike Delamont: The Devil

By Mike Delamont, Victoria, Venue 37 (La Cite Francophone)

Veteran comic Mike Delamont has once again elevated stand-up comedy into a high art form at the Edmonton Fringe festival.

In contrast to his other hit show, God is a Scottish Drag Queen (returning to Edmonton in October), this time he’s that other guy. You know: Lucifer, Satan, Beelzebub, the Prince of Darkness, The Devil!

Don’t worry, he doesn’t want your soul – yet – he just wants to chat. Get to know you. Clear up a few misconceptions.

First of all, the Devil doesn’t look at all like we all imagine, what with the red skin and horns. “I wore that as a Halloween costume ONCE!” he says – after making his grand entrance as a harmless, mustachioed, pudgy, sweatered nerd with a lisping Southern accent. Think Zach Galifianakis’s character in The Candidate. Or Ken Bone.

That hilarious opening sight gag is just the first of many solid jokes in a metaphysical monologue that manages to make you think and cry from laughing at the same time. Delamont is a master. He owns his audience no matter what happens. His work is entertaining and educational (brushing up on your Bible verses), also using improv, audience interaction and recently prepared material tailored for every town, with a wickedly satirical eye towards whole idea of religion. You get the feeling he looks forward to offended Christians walking out of the show – because he has a bit for that, too.

Contrary to popular belief, the Devil isn’t really evil, he says, “But I am a dick. I own that,” he says. The fires of hell? They started as decor and “totally got out of hand.” He points out how popular hell has become: “There’s a highway to hell, and a stairway to heaven – that should give you an idea of the numbers I’m pulling through,” he says, while admitting the place has become a bit rundown in recent millennia. He vows to “make hell great again!” Got to get the Trump joke in there.

That’s enough giving away jokes, but there is one more line that encompasses the core message of this wonderful, inspirational comedy show, and likewise of God is a Scottish Drag Queen.

“Evil isn’t grown,” says the Devil. “It’s something you choose to be.”

Keep that in mind before you meet him again.

5 out of 5