JUST CALL LOU DINOS A-OK FOR SHORT
from The Toronto Star
by Henry Mietkiewicz
His brow wrinkled and his mouth curled into a frown, standup comic LOU DINOS is a study in perplexity as he contemplates John F. Kennedy's nickname.
"You know why they call John 'Jack'?" he asks. Then, in a sneering, what-idiot-thought-this-one-up tone, he replies, "For short!"
As the audience erupts in laughter, Dinos continues in exasperation. "My name is Lou. You can call me Ned." Pause for effect. "For short!"
An amusing observation. But hilarious? Uproarious? not when you read it as words on paper. Yet, Dinos manages to devastate an audience with this bit.
The secret is delivery. Dinos, who performs tonight through Sunday at Yuk Yuk's Superclub (Yonge north of Eglinton), is a prime example of the comedian who shines through the sheer force of personality.
Not that Dinos' material is second-rate. He does a delightfully physical bit about trying to retain his dignity after walking into a pole. And there's a fine piece of wordplay on the frustration of learning to type after discovering the keyboard isn't in alphabetical order.
However, more often than not, Dinos uses intonation and body language to give just the right spin to gags that, delivered by a lesser talent, might evoke no more than a titer.
For instance, by hunching his shoulders slightly and adopting a mischievous grin, he outlines a screwy scheme to wreak vengeance on police by tailing a cruiser and getting it to pull over.
Later, he lapses into irritability and a clipped delivery in explaining how to make a killing in business. "Just invent something for women," he advises. "It doesn't make any difference what it is. Just put it in a nice box, slap some paper on it, tie it in a ribbon, and women will walk for blocks to get it."
In the most telling sequence, Dinos slides into a grammar-mangling Greek accent and transforms himself into Stavros, a greasy-spoon chef complete with apron, cap and spatula.
Here's a bit that badly risks outlasting its welcome, thanks to lame malapropisms, corny card tricks and interminable chit-chat with members of the audience.
But Dinos plays Stavros as such a lovable eccentric -- in a Chico Marx-ish sort of way -- that we're perfectly happy to listen to him run off at the mouth for 10 or 15 minutes.
So if you want a nickname for Lou, just call him A-OK. For short!