Dave Chawner lives in asides. He can’t get through the first sentence of a story without a quip or a funny recollection. At first, this disorganization can seem agonizing, but it’s this restless, searching manner that makes him so inquisitive and allows him to see things from new angles.
C’est La Vegan is not a diatribe against meat-eaters or your run of the mill vegan-bashing, but rather a thought-provoking, heartfelt discussion about everything from eating disorders to philosophy, focused on Chawner’s reasons for becoming vegan and just a few of the struggles he’s faced after the transition. He deftly explains everything from the difference between veganism and vegetarianism to his favorite fad diets with effortless humor that makes his basic descriptions seem novel and interesting.
His broader message may seem obscured when he interrupts himself for puns, or pauses an anecdote to explain a nickname he had in the story, and his nickname before that, but by the end it’s clear that Dave Chawner isn’t trying to prosthelytize – rather, he is injecting humour and skepticism into things that we consider natural or normal.
His all-encompassing, context-included purview encourages this kind of thinking. One of the highlights of his show is his “is this vegan” pub quiz, where he queries the audience about whether or not certain items contain animal products. Knowing the context isn’t just key to the humour in his stories, but to the modern world where bananas are coated in marine life and things can’t always be taken at face-value.
Chawner’s show isn’t about knowing the answers. It is about remembering to ask the question. Attending his show won’t just get you an hour of laughs, but a lasting thoughtfulness.
Words: Emily Hall
Photo: Rowan Morgan
C’est La Vegan, Laughing Horse @ The Counting House, Aug 22-27, 7pm