Photos by Jenn Noga
Dan Howell made me laugh, cry, and frankly a lil horny for Count Chocula all in the span of two hours.
Cleveland was just the latest stop on the We’re All Doomed world tour. Held at the Agora, my friend Mira and I were ready to embark on an adventure. Me, a fan of Dan since I was 12, and Mira, who knows nothing about him. Both of us came away having a good time.
The night got off to a rocky start with the doors opening on time for VIPs and late for the general admission crowd along with the venue prematurely letting patrons in with nowhere to go, which did make us a little claustrophobic since we’re both hyper-aware of crowd crushing situations. Once we were finally allowed into the main auditorium we were greeted with a playlist I think only the devil himself or Dan Howell fans could have created. As someone who creates playlists for a living, it was rough to listen to (although if you’re reading this Dan, could you tell me what music was played during intermission? It was banging and Shazam couldn’t pick anything up).
I also have … questions? What the hell was that roast rap that was played and why did everyone know the words but me?
I’m not here to spoil anything, especially for any Australians reading this, but there are a few things you should know going into the show. Now if you’re like me and have ADHD and tend to get antsy during long shows, bring something quiet to fidget with. You will not be allowed to have your phone out. It’s a two-hour show with a 20-minute intermission, which if I’m being honest was oddly placed but maybe that’s just because I’m used to intermissions being done halfway through the show, instead of toward the end. I personally thought the intermission wasn’t needed but maybe that’s because I’m used to fast-paced concerts.
Dan’s main portion of the show was essentially like watching a social commentary youtube video by a comedian. It was funny and really made you think on a deeper level about what’s going on in the world (which is primarily how I consume my world news anyways).
There was a lot of crowd work which was fun, and he did great with people who were shouting things at him during the show. These can be pretty jarring but the heckling was respectful so it didn’t seem to bother him much.
The ending of the show was the most sincere thing that I’ve seen in a comedy show, and again I won’t spoil it but it did make my eyes a little misty.
Now, there were mixed reviews from the people I talked to post-show. The younger and die-hard Dan fans thought the show was great and had no notes to be given. But if you talked to people like me and my friend Julia (who saw the show in D.C.) you got a very different take on the show. We’ve both been watching Dan from a young age and have subsequently become different people than we were as tweens. I think Julia summed it up best though.
“My main takeaway from [the show] was that I have become old. Like it really hit me when I was a child, Dan was an adult and this is his adult personality that he’s always been showing to us and I don’t relate to it anymore because I have grown up… it was nice for the nostalgia but not much else for me.”
Mira’s takeaway as an outsider? Well, she equated it to understanding motherhood. You know when you’re young and your parents take you to something they haven’t the fondest clue about what’s going on? It was like that. She told me on the drive home that “there were some parts [of the show] that were so hacky and heavy-handed that it felt disingenuous, but there were other parts that I was like okay Dan…But I will say I enjoyed it. Sometimes cringe can be fun, and sometimes spending time with your friends watching Dan can be fun too.”
I think the show was a more mature and polished version of who Dan has always been. It wasn’t a perfect show by any means, but it’s something that Dan created and owned and is proud of and that’s all I’ve ever wanted for him. My little 12-year-old inner child felt fulfilled seeing this show and I’m excited to see where he goes from this tour and to see other content he produces as well.
I’d say if you want to have a good time with your friends then definitely check out We’re All Doomed in a city near you.