At an open mic in North Hollywood, anxious comics wait to perform their routines. The host welcomes a duo, and the crowd hushes.
One comedian opens a bag and begins pulling out several microphones – all of which are unplugged. The two bicker and exchange nervous laughter while wrapping the cords around their bodies. They manage to spout exactly two one-liners, hand off the broken microphones several times, and ask how much time they have left: one minute. The crowd laughs. By this time, everyone is in on the joke.
The Brothers Belardinelli, consisting of Demetri Belardinelli and Victor Trevino, both from Canyon Country, is a comedy duo crafted by destiny.
“The name comes from me forcing my way into Demetri’s family as a young teen,” Trevino said. “I had a rough patch and the Belardinelli house took me in and treated me like a son (because their real son was Demetri, and obviously they needed more).”
In High School, both Belardinelli and Trevino were active on Canyon High School’s improv team, each serving leadership roles. The two clicked immediately after they discovered a shared interest in stand-up comedy. Because the two are five years apart, Trevino would drive Belardinelli, who was 15 at the time, to open mics in Los Angeles – and the rest was history.
After Belardinelli graduated in 2012, they decided to take the plunge and enroll in Second City’s conservatory in Los Angeles, completing the program in two years – before Belardenelli was even old enough to attend the school.
“I graduated at 18, before I was actually allowed to go. I told everyone in the class I was 20. I turned ‘21’ in class, and they were like, ‘let me buy you a beer,’ and I was like ‘Eh, not tonight.’”
As for their brand of comedy, it isn’t your grandfather’s stand-up – it borders on performance art. According to Belardinelli and Trevino, the current stand-up scene needs a bit of a refresher. “You only hear the same 10 topics over and over again,” Belardinelli said.
Each set they write is designed to be spontaneous and unpredictable. At a recent performance for the Garage Chronicles standup series, the two surprised the audience with a realistic fist fight that was eventually stopped when a referee emerged from the audience and awarded the winner a title belt – only to be revoked onstage due to a urine test revealing “comedy enhancing drugs.”
And as much as their comedy style contrasts with the stand-up status quo, the Brothers Belardinelli has managed to headline shows at several venues – including the Federal Bar in Hollywood.
“The weirdest gig we’ve ever had was showing up to a two-hour show and realizing it was themed around being a father,” Trevino said. “All of the comics were (about) 40 and did traditional material about their kids. Then Demetri and I went up and did 20 minutes about scabies and had our brother Dante throwing pizza into the crowd to an Italian children’s song. Needless to say, the audience wasn’t expecting us, and it tanked.”
The Brothers Belardinelli is currently headlining a monthly comedy series at the Yard Theater in Los Angeles run by John Ennis of “Mr. Show.” Their next performance is May 24 at 8 p.m., and tickets are $5 at the door.
For more information about the Brothers Belardinelli, check them out at Instagram.com/BrothersBelardinelli. Or,