HAVING built a loyal following for his alter-ego Abandoman, Rob Broderick’s challenge has become keeping his unique brand of improvised rap comedy fresh. His skill at crafting witty rhymes off the cuff remains as impressive as ever, and the Irishman retains a garrulous charm that makes him easy to warm to. Yet after existing in a niche of essentially one for almost a decade, for returning audiences he no longer enjoys the degree of novelty he once did.
The Stand, Glasgow ****
Rather than breed disinterest though, familiarity seems to have emboldened his crowds into getting involved – there’s a nicely judged balance in participation between those seeking the spotlight and the more hesitant, whom Broderick has to coax out of their reticence. Unlike other improvisers, the nature of his act tends to mean that people aren’t simply shouting out suggestions for him to riff on. Instead, they’re up on stage for the entirety of a routine, requiring the swift building of relationships – connections he rarely fails to make.
Requesting ideas of unlikely news headlines, small adversities and the understated talents of loved ones, he spoofs hip-hop braggadocio by hyping the mundane and minor, while always championing his volunteers. Although he’s toured with accompanying musicians in the past, Abandoman is currently just A Band O’ [One] Man, employing a bling-looking, Bluetooth-enabled medallion on his chest to control all the music and lighting cues.
Messing about with autotune and other sound effects as well, these quirky bells and whistles help to ensure that Broderick isn’t losing his edge or his originality.