WHEN A performer's raison d'être is creating on the spot rap songs inspired by audience suggestions, that performer needs the crowd to be able to come with something fresh, something the performer can really get stuck into, and something that will inspire humour filled rhymes.
Abandoman - Irish comedian Rob Broderick- who takes improv comedy and refashions it as freestyle rapping with musical beats - knows only too well how vital good audience suggestions are. "The act of creating stories off the top of my head is not the bit that worries me," Rob tells me during our Tuesday afternoon interview. "What worries me is finding good stories in the room. Before the show I'm looking out at the audience and thinking 'I hope they have the craic in them'."
When Rob takes to the stage of the Róisín Dubh to headline the Vodafone Comedy Carnival Galway Programme Launch Party on Thursday August 27 at 8.30pm, he knows he will not have cause for worry. "Galway is always good for stories," he says, before relating one incredible incident at one his previous shows here.
"I was asking the crowd about what 'irks' them and we would use that to create a comedy 'rage against the machine'," he says. "Then this voice comes from the back and it's this guy who says 'Bouncers'. He said the bouncers wouldn't let him in with trainers on. So he was in the venue with no shoes on and he got up on stage and he had no shoes on, and it just became this vitriolic celebration. Then he whipped his trousers off to reveal tracksuit bottoms underneath! The bouncers also told him he could not come in with tracksuit bottoms, so he had gone home and changed his pants, except he left the tracksuit bottoms on and wore the pants over them!"
While Rob loves audience suggestions, they are vital to his shows, he is particular about just what he will accept to build a comedy rap on.
"We won't take a suggestion we have had before," he says. "We'll take fresh suggestions so every show we do has different songs. You don't want to repeat something as you will only be comparing it to, and trying to re-create, a routine you came up with before. The creation of something fresh, on the spot - that makes you feel alive on stage. We did Norway recently so people were suggesting all these words and names I'd never heard of, but those are things that make you feel, 'Cool, my brain is going to have to work now', and audiences are also supportive as they know you're under pressure. Every show is live and so it's easy to remain inspired."
Other than that Rob is promising "part comedy show, part music concert" for the Comedy Carnival launch party. "Expect raucousness," he adds. "I've recently bought an instrument called a xylosynth, it's a mixture of a drum, synthesizer, and other wonderful things, we'll be using that at the gig."
Born and raised in Dublin, Rob's evolution to Abandoaman came through his love of emulating rappers during his teens. "We free-style for 25/30 minutes to warm-up before going on-stage," he says. "I was always free-styling as a teen, but I didn't know any professional rappers. It was only when I went to London that I started to met rappers. I was at an audition for a hip-hop theatre show and got a part. There was a script but the lyrics for the songs were all improvised. The whole Abandoman thing came from that, trying this freestyle thing and eventually bringing into the shows."
From such beginnings Rob would eventually go on to win the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year, the Musical Comedy Awards, and the 2012 Adelaide Fringe Festival’s Best Comedy Newcomer Award, support Ed Sheeran on tour, and perform in Australia where he was nominated for the Adelaide Fringe Festival Best Comedy and Best Comedy Newcomer awards, winning the latter. He has also appeared on numerous TV and radio programmes for the BBC. Rob, though is genuine when talking about the Vodafone Comedy Carnival Galway as a highlight of each year.
"Every time we go over is incredibly interesting," he enthuses. "The last night of each year of the festival, that's always one of the most incredible shows. Last year I was there and there was Tommy Tiernan, Sean Locke, Kevin Bridges - guys who would fill large venues, who regularly perform in front of thousands, who sell out the Edinburgh Fringe - and each of them have just 10 minutes and are performing in an intimate venue. It's always an incredible line-up of comics and it's always such fun. Those are the ones I take a photo of and Tweet out."
More acts for the launch party are to be announced. The full programme for the Vodafone Comedy Carnival Galway will be announced on the night. Tickets are €15 and available at www.roisindubh.net, the Ticket Desk at OMG Zhivago, Shop Street, and The Róisín Dubh.