Chris D’Elia Is Quietly Coming Back to Comedy
In recent years, a disheartening trend has emerged in Hollywood. Former favorites of the stage or screen have horrible allegations against them revealed, they issue an apology and then seem to disappear from the public eye. While some of the accused actors and celebrities are placed on an informal “blacklist,” quickly losing fans and job opportunities, others cling to their careers and work for a comeback. The latest star in this is Chris D’Elia.
D’Elia’s career has come to an abrupt standstill
Prior to the recent revelations about his actions, D’Elia was transitioning his talents to new mediums. The New Jersey-native is the son of a TV producer and the brother to filmmaker Matt D’Elia. Though D’Elia has been dominating the stand-up scene since 2006, his shift in focus to acting has always seemed inevitable.
The comedian’s IMDb page highlights acting credits dating back to 1996, but his larger, recurring roles didn’t begin popping up until recently. In a 2011 interview with Lena Lamoray (via Web Archive), D’Elia described himself as a “standup comedian that acts as well.” In the decade since, he’s fulfilled that vision by taking on leading roles in shows like Whitney, Undateable, and You.
His role in the latter series — a predatory comedian — aged especially poorly. In June of 2020, D’Elia began to face an onslaught of allegations, including a history of soliciting sexual encounters and images from minors. Variety recounts his statement to TMZ, in which he asserts that he has “never knowingly pursued any underage women” and that “all of [his] relationships have been both legal and consensual.”
The comedian recently broke his longtime silence
The internet had a lot to say about the allegations and the apology, but D’Elia fell silent following his initial statement. For eight months, the former stand-up star took a backseat, avoiding social media and the public eye. During that time, the comedian saw his upcoming roles recast and many partnerships, including an unscripted prank series with Netflix, canceled.
Just when it was seeming like D’Elia would never return to the spotlight, he took to YouTube to update supporters and provide further insight into his perspective on the events. The video, entitled “It’s been awhile,” broke D’Elia’s previous era of silence — by about 10 minutes. The LA Times summarized some of the most notable claims made within it. While he stands by his original statement, he also provided many more details about his experience with sex addiction.
“It became a lifestyle that I didn’t know how to stop,” D’Elia confessed. Although he maintains that all encounters and conversations were consensual, he believes that he has a true problem and is actively seeking help for it. He described his addiction as “life-controlling.” What remains to be seen is if it will be career-ending.
Only time can tell if the public will give D’Elia another chance
For an internet apology, D’Elia’s February release was surprisingly well-received. As it stands, the video’s likes far outnumber its dislikes. Even the comment section features hordes of fans defending the star. Since breaking his silence, D’Elia has returned to podcasting and it’s clear he’s trying to make a quiet return to comedy.
Despite this seemingly warm welcome, D’Elia has a long way to go in terms of repairing his reputation and regaining trust. In the wake of the #MeToo movement, Hollywood higher-ups are making increased efforts to protect fans and co-stars from males in positions of power. And though many have called for the star to be seen as “innocent until proven guilty,” there’s still a lot of proving to do. According to USA Today, D’Elia is still facing a lawsuit from a plaintiff who claims she was seventeen when he allegedly solicited pornography and sexually exploited her.