This article was originally published on Humorism, a newsletter about labor, inequality, and extremism in comedy. Subscribe here to get posts like this in your inbox.
When comedian and podcaster Chris D’Elia was accused in June 2020 of sexually harassing and grooming numerous underage girls, his representatives at CAA, WME, and 3 Arts dropped him within a week. His return to live performance last year, a return that began with spots at clubs around Los Angeles and has since evolved into a full-blown national tour, raises at least one obvious question. Who, if anyone, represents D’Elia now?
I’ll tell you. According to documents obtained via public records requests to some of the venues in D’Elia’s current tour, comedy promoter Icon Concerts is working with D’Elia in multiple capacities. On March 15, Carolyn Gitomer—a Los Angeles-based producer and booker who works in the office of Icon’s president, Paul Meloche—contacted the Colorado Convention Center asking if it could hold several dates in its Bellco Theatre for D’Elia. She CC’d another Icon representative, Enrique Salazar, identifying him as both D’Elia’s manager and his tour manager. (These are different jobs.) Salazar then chimed in to ask if November 5 was available. It was; tickets are on sale now.
Documents I obtained from the Cheyenne Civic Center in Wyoming corroborate D’Elia’s relationship with Icon and Salazar. On March 23, Salazar emailed the theater himself: “I am working with Paul Meloche and Mike Bernal at Icon Concerts,” he wrote, clarifying a few emails later that he was inquiring on D’Elia’s behalf. “Can you send me avails for Cheyenne Civic Center For Sept-December please. Looking forward to hearing from you.” The show is set for November 6.
Notably, Enrique Salazar is also the name of an executive at the Hollywood Laugh Factory, one of the first venues to welcome D’Elia back earlier this year. As of November 2021, he was the club’s Vice President of Development. It’s unclear from publicly available information whether these are the same person. Messages I left for him with the Laugh Factory went unreturned; when I posed the question to a marketing staffer at Icon Concerts, she told me Icon isn’t interested in commenting and hung up.
On its website, Icon bills itself as a boutique live comedy promoter that puts the artist first and believes in transparency with the consumer. The company’s “Artists” page does not mention D’Elia. The current and former clients who are listed include Jo Koy, Chelsea Handler, Bill Burr, Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias, and John Mulaney. An artist’s inclusion on this page does not appear to mean Icon is actively working with them: documents I obtained from a venue hosting Mulaney in the coming months involve a different promoter. The company’s “Events” page and its social media both list upcoming shows with Jimmy O. Yang, Becky Robinson, Koy, Steve Treviño, Iglesias, and Handler.
Salazar—the one with an Icon Concerts email address, at least—did not respond to a request for comment. Neither did Meloche or Bernal, Icon’s president and vice president. I will update this post if they do. Inquiries to Yang, Robinson, and representatives for Iglesias and Koy about their promoter’s association with D’Elia all went unanswered.
D’Elia, for his part, seems to be doing just fine despite his controversies. He’s amassed two million followers each on Instagram and TikTok. He has dates scheduled through December at venues like the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh and the Wang Theatre in Boston. In a recent episode of his podcast, he gushed over Johnny Depp’s courtroom performance in Depp’s defamation trial against Amber Heard. “Trust me when I say you do not want to do a trial when a guy who’s gonna be on the stand has acting in his corner,” he said, mocking Heard’s emotional testimony. “Johnny Depp knows something that she doesn’t: stillness.”
It is notable too that both the Colorado Convention Center and the Cheyenne Civic Center are aware of D’Elia’s scandals. In a June email I obtained from the Convention Center, its Assistant Director of Sales, Gregory Lowry, notified Gitomer that the venue received a records request from me. He attached a link to an article I wrote about D’Elia earlier this year. “Okay thanks,” Gitomer responded, asking him to please copy Salazar on all things D’Elia. (Lowry did not return my call.)
Meanwhile in Cheyenne, City Council Member Jeff White emailed the Civic Center’s leadership in May:
I just wanted to give you a heads up that I’ve received a couple of emails from folks protesting Chris D’Elia appearing at the Civic Center later this year.
Apparently, Mr. D’Elia has had several allegations of sexual abuse made against him in the last couple of years. One of the more troubling aspects of that for me is that some of those allegations indicate those alleged actions were against minors. I know I won’t be supporting this show in any way.
Was any of this known prior to booking this individual? I believe some individuals plan to go to the Mayor with their concerns but am not certain of that.
In response, Cheyenne’s then-Director of Community Recreation & Events, Teresa Moore, dodged the question. “In reference to the Chris D’elia show, this is presented by Icon Concerts who is renting the Civic Center,” she told White. “To date there has been no policy established by the governing body regarding who can and who cannot rent the Civic Center. This may be a discussion that the governing body and staff can have at your convenience.”
Interestingly, that response—basically, that there’s no rule against letting an alleged predator rent our space—was roughly the same one offered by Peter Lesser, Executive Director of The Egg in Albany, New York, where D’Elia will perform on November 13. When I asked him over email about the allegations against D’Elia, he replied: “Our organization does not bar any organization from renting the theater unless we are advised that there is a health or safety concern.” Does that mean he rents the space to every single party who wants it, provided the dates work out? “That is correct.” Was he aware of the allegations before agreeing to the rental? “We were not aware of any allegations that we understood would endanger the staff or audience.”
Moore, back in Cheyenne, left her position earlier this year. When I reached her successor, Jason Sanchez, he reiterated over email that the D’Elia show is a rental, not a Civic Center production. “You’ll want to reach out to the tour manager for comments,” he said.
Seth Simons is the writer of Humorism, a newsletter about labor, inequality, and extremism in the comedy industry. He’s on Twitter @sasimons. Subscribe to Humorism to get articles like this in your inbox.