As well-loved actor and comedian Chris Dingli gets ready to take his five-star-rated show Bad Dad across to North America, he’s asking readers for help. He tells Jo Caruana why.

Chris Dingli is easily one of Malta’s most best-known comic actors. From the popular Christmas show he shared with Malcolm Galea (Dingle Bells, Malcolm Smells) to the sell-out success that is the Comedy Knights, Chris has proved himself as an actor, a writer and a stand-up performer.

Among his recent highlights, many of you will remember his one-man show Bad Dad, which ran locally at both the Blue Box and MADC theatres. It’s a show that hasn’t stopped since, and Dingli has enjoyed successful runs in London and Birmingham – and will shortly take it to the Brighton Fringe Festival in May. But even that won’t quite be enough for this ambitious bad dad.

“It’s next stop North America,” Dingli says. “I believe in the show and am excited to share it with the largest English-speaking market in the world, in Chicago, New York and Toronto. We have three venues lined up for a tour this September, and I hope that, once again, this will lead to more exciting things for the project as a whole, while also promoting Maltese comedy beyond our shores.”

The Bad Dad journey actually started a few years ago, when Dingli found out he was going to become a dad and, like many other future-dads, was completely freaked out. He had a theory (which he apparently still holds to be true) that some people aren’t cut out for pa­renthood, himself included. “So cre­a­ting the show was a way of sorting through my emotions and figuring out what parenting meant to me. The show charts the first year of my child’s life and my reaction to different milestones,” he says.

Bad Dad’s first venture outside the Maltese islands was in London in May 2016. Dingli looks back on it as a nerve-wracking experience: “Lon­doners can be hard-nosed cri­tics. As the theatre capital of Eu­rope, London is packed with all kinds of theatre-goers (critics included) who are really quite sophisticated and discerning.”

The way I see it is that we are forging a path for future Maltese productions to tour overseas

Back then, Dingli remembers wondering whether Bad Dad would stand up to the high standards that they expect – but thankfully it did. The reviews were universally positive with 4.5 or 5 stars all round, followed by an invitation to later perform in Birmingham, where it was similarly well received.

Jumping to the present, Dingli explains that he has now set his sights on North America because a show of this sort could spend a lifetime touring these markets alone. “I have chosen the theatre capitals of these markets, and am banking on the fact that the show did so well in London,” he says.

“Chicago was chosen as it is a great centre for comedy, and I will be playing two performances at Second City – one of the most famous comedy clubs in the world, where the likes of John Belushi, John Candy, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey, Bill Murray, Mike Myers, Joan Rivers and Martin Short began their careers.”

“Cre­a­ting the show was a way of sorting through my emotions and figuring out what parenting meant to me.”“Cre­a­ting the show was a way of sorting through my emotions and figuring out what parenting meant to me.”

Then, in Toronto, he will be performing in a well-known theatre that has previously hosted We Will Rock You and The Blue Man Group.

And, finally, New York is a particular focus on this tour as he will be inviting a number of producers to see the show, creating contacts for future bookings, as has already happened in the UK.

But Dingli admits that he can’t make the show happen on his own due to the immense financial input that is required – which is exactly why he has set up a crowdfunding campaign through to encourage backers.

“The way I see it is that we are forging a path for future Maltese productions to tour overseas. I’m trying to create Malta’s first self-sustaining touring show. While touring is very common overseas, in Malta – due to certain disadvantages, not least geographically speaking – this is a very new concept. As far as I know this will be the first Maltese show to play in these venues, creating these contacts, and one of a select few that is performing for new audiences.”

And of course, all support is gratefully received – but backers won’t be giving their money for nothing; Dingli has come up with some hilarious rewards to thank those generously donating to his campaign. “I’ve really tried to create rewards that are fun, useful or embarrassing for me to perform,” he says. “There’s a wide variety to choose from. Supporting the show is the only way Maltese audiences can see the show. There are no public performances planned on the island and the only way to watch it is to be invited to a special performance for supporters who have backed the tour.”

Finally, Dingli is already looking beyond the North American tour to the future of the show and what’s in store for it. “I’d like to book the show into more cities across the UK and North America. I also plan to take Bad Dad to various festivals around the world. Since I wrote the show, I’ve had another child, so who knows, maybe a sequel might be in the works!” he adds with a grin.

To donate to the Bad Dad crowdfunding campaign on and take your pick from loads of hilarious rewards, visit

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