So Rob, here you are again at the Edinburgh fringe. How many shows have you done?
Well in terms of solo one man shows this will be my 7th show. See if you can spot the theme.
2006; Krypton to Clapham , 2007 HeroQuest , 2008 The Dork Knight Returns, 2009 Rob Deb vs Army of Dorkness, 2012 The Dork Knight Triumphant , 2013 The Big Bang Theory of Life.
So explain the title, 20th Anniversary Edition.
Two things. It’s been 20 years since I first started gigging and it seems everything has some anniversary special, even if you don’t want it. I’m sure people are not queuing up the block for the 25th Anniversary of Sherlock Holmes and the Pyramid of Fear, but someone stuck it on a sleeve to sell the DVD’s. I plan on taking in the last 20 years as a history of stand up, albeit hazy and lazy, just like me.
Will you be talking about comic books and role playing as you have done in the past?
No, I will be talking through them. Since my first show in 2006 the audience is so “cape literate” I don’t think they need to be talked about. I will be talking about Stand up and how one goes from open spot, to one man shows and paid gigs through my own adventure. So the show will be geeky because I’m geeky, but I think it’s going to be more for fans of stand-up than anything else.
The last time I saw you perform at the fringe you had geeky groupies hanging on to your every word after the show. Some of them scared me by showing me the 28 sided dice they had in little cloth bags attached to their belts. Do you still have such a “niche” following?
I don’t know if the gang would think of themselves as groupies except for Alan, and bless you Alan I’ll see you soon, but that was more the ‘usual suspects of ‘Black Lion Games’ and Deadhead Comics. I’ve known them all off and on from before doing shows and their support has been amazing. And again, given there’s now so much to geek over I find it flattering they make an effort to see me, over one of the myriad of genre shows going up.
How has the comic book industry changed over the last 20 years?
It seems to have halted and become a big middle act with no closure when it comes to the big two. Marvel has the edge with Marvel Now! and has much more energy in their titles, but DC has done the Superman origin four times in the last five years and needs to grow out of it. The indie scene has got a great deal of talent coming through though and I can’t help but suspect the recognition of the female readership has probably something to do with the higher writing standard these days.
How has comedy changed over the last twenty years?
I think its role has been subdued and the industry polish has lost us some of that grit that made it worthwhile. It’s become more conservative and has paradoxically gone from being a personal journey to a profession. Also despite having more people practicing it than ever, it seems to have dropped in diversity a great deal on a proportional basis.
So will there be a 25th Anniversary Edition?
No. This is very much what Spider-Man fans would consider ‘One more Deb’. I’ll be away from full shows for a bit after this and be coming back with ‘Brand New Deb’ in a couple of years. By which time some Kaiser Monkey who’s all hair gel, teeth and jeans will have won the Fosters award with the nostalgia fest ‘Ben and His Ten’ a rose tinted look at his childhood with shitty cartoons.
Rob Deb 20th Anniversary Edition
Back in June 1994, young, in love with stand up and being a Cosmic Comedy Club semi-finalist, 18-year-old Robin Deb started a voyage of comedy for the next 20 years. This show is an alternative history of the last two decades of stand-up comedy. ‘He’s really engaging, a fast-talker with shabby charm … Deb could become the Lenny Bruce of the sci-fi and role playing convention scenes’ (Skinny).