Like his Barrick the Bard character from D&D Live, Rob has a way of romancing an audience. He is equally adept at playing characters you love to love (Hungry Hungry Games) and love to hate (Throne of Games)… because either way, Rob is a bankable comedic presence in pretty much any situation.
He is passionate about exploring the possibilities inherent in improvisation and about pushing the artform – without ever forgetting that the first priority is entertaining the people there to see it… a drive that has led him to create and helm a number of Bad Dog’s most memorable shows including the Canadian Comedy Award-nominated Battleawesome Awesomestar, Mouthmoney: Formations (an experimental show that fostered new format creation) and FILTHY (our debaucherous monthly sleaze-fest). Most recently, Rob spearheaded the development of Bad Dog’s new 32-week Narrative Studio Series - a 4-level training program with a focus on epic storytelling and self-directed narrative.
What takes good improv to great?
Discovering stuff as opposed to inventing stuff. I like it when I see someone open their mouth, say a bunch of dumb words, and when they’re done talking they see something in the scene they didn’t see before. That’s much better, than walking on stage and saying “I’m a doctor. Here we are at the hospital …”
What makes a player a joy to improvise with?
Someone who is interesting in creating the same things as their scene partner. Someone who is interesting in protecting the rules of the world they create together. And someone who makes the effort to find the fun with the person they’re playing with!
Have you ever gone through a rough patch as an improviser? How did you handle it?
Drinking lots of single malt scotch. And lying to myself that I was doing better than I actually was. That’s a lie. It wasn’t scotch. It was Schlitz Gold.
If you could suddenly gain a new improv skill, what would you pick?
Can I have magic? Is that an improv skill? If magic is a choice, I’d feel stupid if I said something like “Listening”. I can improv my listening on my own but if you’re giving away basic conjuration powers I’ll take those instead.
Any advice you’d give someone who’s just starting out in improv?
Learn the improv vocabulary of as many different shows as you can. Get good at them. Wait around long enough. You’ll be fine…