Dan Willis – Control, Alt, Delete

By Colin Flaherty

A frequent visitor to these shores (and soon to be resident?), Dan Willis always puts on a solid hour of stand up. If you’ve seen him in previous years you know his modus operandi: choose a topic, mine his personal experiences relating to that topic for laughs and use lots of PowerPoint.

This year with Control Alt Delete he has delved into his previous life as a Computer Programmer. The majority of the show takes a nostalgic view of computers and their place in society. Those of us that have travelled in similar circles to Dan (as well as youngsters who have never seen or heard about this stuff) can chuckle at how primitive things appear in hindsight.

For computer geeks there are plenty of references and jokes aimed squarely at them but Dan takes the time to clarify most of them for the layperson. In the hands of a lesser performer “explaining the jokes” would kill all humour, but he is such a seasoned professional that he can pull it off with ease. This doubling up can also be beneficial as people who get the joke first can chuckle as the penny drops for the rest of the room, giving Dan more bang for his buck.
The scope of the show goes beyond computers by exploring peripheral topics (no, not printers!) and cleverly using this technology as analogies for other situations. These ideas are amusing in their examination of the ridiculousness aspects of life as well as gently poking fun at nerdier types.

Dan is a performer who partakes in a lot of banter with the audience, none of it confrontational. Fellow Computer Programmers are called on to confirm and fill in details about technical information while others are polled about the life decisions described in his stories. Not too much humour is derived from these interactions but they create an atmosphere of inclusion. He does however tend to attract pedantic hecklers which he has some funny stories about.
Willis presents a dependable hour of stand up for the Techno-savvy, luddites and everyone in between.

Control, Alt, Delete is on at Sahara Bar & Restaurant