Friday, 9 May 2014

Abandoman - at the Udderbelly Festival

COMEDY shows come in many guises but surely one of the most inventive must be that of Abandoman.
Abandoman, aka Rob Broderick, creates hilarious freestyle hip hop and rap style songs based on random topics suggested by his audiences.
The Irishman, who has made London his home for the last 10 years, is showcasing his comedic and quick witted talent at this year's Udderbelly festival with his latest show Moonrock Boombox.
He is bringing with him a three-piece band who will join him in the purple cow tent for the five gigs which start on May 20.
“It’s a comedy, rap and improve show all mixed and mashed into one,” he explains.
“I go out into the crowd and chat to them, ask questions and encourage them to give me bits of information about themselves. It could be anything at all – their likes and dislikes and what they want to do with their lives.
“I then turn what they’ve told me into a rap, which is a celebration of their lives. It can be both exhilarating and terrifying because you never know what you are going to get," he laughs.
“We look for people who are smiley and make eye contact. If they are confident I will continue the conversation but if not I’ll go and talk to someone else. It depends who really wants to be on that stage and chat!"
And he says no two shows are the same because it depends on what the audience gives him to work with but that can also mean it can be quite a challenge.
“Even if you came two nights in a row it would be different each time. Not a single lyric will be repeated,” he says.
The show has developed from one he took to the Edinburgh Fringe where it was a huge hit. But with the Udderbelly performances he’s taking the concept a step further and introducing a loose narrative into which all the stories and songs need to eventually weave and knit together which adds to the challenge.
“This one will have a story to it," he laughs. "I’ve set it in the future and will be taking everyone to the moon. We will be on a virtual spaceship in which the crowd is the captain and they steer the course.
“It will still be wholly improvised but it will probably freak them out a bit at first because I need their co-operation and contributions to do the show, but hopefully when they realise the fun we are all going to have they will go with it!"
Rob says he realised he loved freestyle comedy rapping before he fully knew what he was doing.
“When I was about 13 I got into hip hop and was listening to rap all the time,” he says. “It was definitely different – Ireland is hardly full of hip hop!” he jokes.
“I was listening to gangster rap like Snoop Dog but didn’t understand the lyrics. A few years later I tried to rap along but was doing my own version and making people laugh.”
But it was a move to London and meeting rapper, hip hop artist and Breakin’ Convention director, Jonzi D which really set him on the path to Abandoman.
“Jonzi did a workshop for dancers and rappers,” he says. “Everyone else was much more macho and authentic and slightly aggressive but they laughed at what I was doing.
“Jonzi was the best guy and I ended up doing a hip hop theatre show for 18 months to build my confidence. He really guided and encouraged me towards Abandoman.”
And although Rob says freestyling can be a terrifying rollercoaster, he admits he wouldn't have it any other way.
“Sometimes it gets really nerve-wracking and there can be moments of sheer panic because I can be in the middle of a song and really not know where it’s heading but you have to keep going.
"Fortunately I generally get to what I call the Hail Mary song where it all comes together!” he laughs.

Abandoman is on at the Udderbelly Festival between May 20 and May 24. Tickets cost £15.50. Visit or call the box office on 0844 545 8252.

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