Cute With Chris stars Canadian actor/playwright Chris Leavins of Traders, The Eleventh Hour, and Slings and Arrows fame. Since 2006, Leavins has hosted weekly web videos (posted Mondays and Thursdays) that humorously extol the cuteness of animals, many of them brought to attention by fans and viewers submitting photos of their pets.
An overdose of adorable might sound lamely saccharine, but Leavins makes Cute With Chris worth watching because of his comic timing and deadpan irony. Shot with Leavins behind a desk in a mock newscast style, there are now more than 100 episodes of the web video series, and rare is the one not worth watching. Whether riffing on the stoned look in a cat’s eyes or limning the difference between American kittens and Canadian kittens, Leavins gives the cutefest an edge with just the right amount of sardonic wit.
Over the course of the series, Leavins has developed a reliable stable of repeated gags: opening with a fake newscast (“Can somebody tell me what I just said? Let’s look at a cat sleeping in some hangers!”), reading letters from teenage fans, animating lasers that shoot out of animals’ eyes, and chiming “All your dreams are dead” for feline and canine losers on the weekly “Cutedown” contest.
Even if you couldn’t care less about cute animals, Leavins is a talent impossible to resist, especially when he’s having so much fun performing. For those who can’t get their fill of him and/or hopelessly adorable creatures, Cute With Chris is highly interactive, containing links to Leavins’ blog and MySpace page, direct email to Colty, Leavins’ plastic horse sidekick, weekly polls, and a special offer to sign up for “cool stuff, secret links and special episodes.”
It’s the least animal-related episode of Cute With Chris, but the one of Leavins creating an aural and visual beatbox out of rhythmically spliced video fragments is an obvious standout. How can this guy not win you over?