Day 30: Dov Davidoff

Day 30. I’m sharing one stand up set each day in May and discussing why I like it. Today’s is a 2018 performance on The Tonight Show by Dov Davidoff. Here’s some reasons I’m really into this set:

• PASSION. When Dov’s venting on stage, there’s genuine passion behind it because he picks an incident that provokes the rawest emotions in people: an argument with a loved one. This display wouldn’t work if he was just talking about his favorite color, but because the topic is so charged, the expressiveness feels real to me and my eyes are glued to the stage.

• EMOTIONAL SWINGS. For many of the jokes I’m laughing at in this set, Dov gives me an abrupt emotional swing. He leads me down the direction of calm, but pivots into exasperation. Sometimes he’ll mark this turn with a clearing of the throat and a pained face. (After his friend explains heaven: “I thought, [sound/look] is that what we want?” After his wife tells him he knows everything: “I don’t, I don’t know every- I mean, [sound/look] I know this!” After he says he’s taken breaths and calmed down: “Honey, I mean, [sound/look] I mean it’s got a damn light on it!”) The frustrated outburst is unexpected, and I laugh even more because Dov’s look prior indicates how hard he’s trying for it not to come out.

• SELECTIVE PACING. At first glance, it appears that Dov is pacing back and forth on stage all the time. But like the level of his voice, there’s actually a lot of fluctuation. In reality, he’s stationary for most punchlines. The pacing happens primarily when he’s talking through a premise, building energy and reinforcing his passion, so that when he stops to deliver the punchlines, the contrast is all the more visually arresting. Whereas the emotional swings are mental, the ambulatory swing is physical, but both highlight a change and amplify the comedy. (See also: Loud and Soft - Eddie Murphy, Day 18)

Hope you enjoyed it, and for more Dov Davidoff, follow on IG: @dovdavidoff