Growing up deep in the olive tree mountains of Greece, Anesti Danelis knew that there was more to life than shepherding goats and kneading phyllo dough. So one day he stowed away in a tub of Feta cheese (during the Feta cheese boom in Canada) and he crossed oceans and lakes and arrived in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where he now resides as a musical comedian, actor, and writer.
Anesti Danelis started off in musical theatre before hopping onto the improv and sketch comedy train. After years performing in festivals and fringes across North America he created his solo show Songs for a New World Order and toured it to the Toronto, Montreal, and Edinburgh Fringes where it placed as one of the top eight comedy shows of the festival. He continued to kill this year at TOSketchfest, and Winnipeg Comedy Festival, and even capped it off with a Canadian Comedy Award nomination for Best Variety Act.
He uses his weapons of innocence and affability to disguise the dark and absurd humour of his songs. You’re listening along, thinking you’re laughing at one thing and then he does a humour sleight of hand where you’re actually laughing at something unexpected. He says he’s a musical comedian but really he’s a magician. Every year he gets better and better and is one of the most underrated performers I know. I hear he wrote a really hilarious comedy pilot and I would know because I wrote it with him.
-by Kimberley Wells
P.S. His origin story may or may not be true.
What hood are you in?
I’m in the Dovercourt Village! I’ve been here all my life and I love it. It’s so beautiful in the summer time with all of the tall trees hanging over the streets. It’s got everything: great cafes, beautiful parks, and a great convenient store where I used to steal Jesus candles from as a kid.
What do you do?
I’m a musical comedian, actor, and writer. Hire me!
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on my most ambitious project yet. It’s my second musical comedy show called Anesti Danelis: Six Frets Under. This time around I’ve learned piano for it, brought in the violin (my grandfather taught me the violin for 17 years, so why not?) and as always, my guitar. It’s such a fun and ridiculous show that I can wait to do for Toronto Fringe Festival (July 3rd – 14th) and then the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in (August 1st – 25th).
Where can we find your work?
I recently released my debut live musical comedy album Songs for a New World Order and it’s on all the things! Spotify, Apple Music, Cd Baby, and probably more… I ticked a lot of boxes.
www.anestidanelis.com has all the deets on any upcoming shows and tour dates, and of course give me a follow on social media (@anestidanelis on facebook, twitter, and Instagram).
If you’re around in July you can catch my Toronto Fringe show Anesti Danelis: Six Frets Under at the Tranzac Club’s Tiki Room. Details at www.anestidanelis.com/sixfretsunder.