- The Robot Johnson Show
"The Robot Johnson Show" is a weekly
sketch comedyshow put together by the members of Robot Johnson, based out of Charlotte, North Carolina. Since May of 2008, the show has been performed in Spirit Square, located in downtown Charlotte. The show -- performed twice nightly on Fridays and Saturdays -- consists of sketches, commercial and song parodies and original comedy songs, and lasts roughly an hour and ten minutes. Founded by Sean Keenan and A. Blaine Miller, two original members of Charlotte stalwart comedy group The Perch, Robot Johnson is made up of Perch alumni along with local actors and comedians. Relying on local humor and pushing the envelope on racial, sexual and political issues, Robot Johnson claims to provide "good humor by bad people."
The initial concept for The Robot Johnson Show came out of a series of conversations Keenan had with Douglas Young, Director of Theatrical Programming of the
Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, of which Spirit Square is a part. Given the previous success of The Perch (which had folded in 2006 after fourteen years of performing in Charlotte) and Keenan's national notoriety as the voice and puppeteer of MTV2character The Talking Baby, Young thought that the time was right to start a new sketch comedy troupe in the city. Although initially reluctant to get involved, Keenan eventually agreed, calling Miller to gauge interest in the foundation of a new group. [http://www.charlotte.com/444/story/625586.html] The Robot Johnson Show debuted in the Charlotte Comedy Theatre on December 7, 2007, with its first show including favorites like "Quay Rogers: Surrogate Black Guy," "Of Maple Leaves and Human Suffering," and "The Incredibly Sad Indian." The show performed in the Charlotte Comedy Theatre through April of 2008, when the group went on hiatus to prepare for its move to the big stage. On May 16, 2008, The Robot Johnson Show gave its first performance in the Duke EnergyTheatre in Spirit Square, beginning an all-summer run lasting until August 2.
The founding cast and writing staff of The Robot Johnson Show is as follows:
*Sean Keenan, producer and co-founder
*A. Blaine Miller, director and co-founder
*Candice Cortinas, associate producer
*Bill Little, writer
*Tiffany Apple, performer
*David Golden, writer/performer
*Graham Odom, writer, "Magic Voice"
*Jason "Bear" Blackman, performer
*Quay Rogers, performer
*Meghan Lowther, writer/performer
*Brandon Ballard, writer/performer
*Luci Wilson, performer
*Pork Chop (AKA Mike Dickson), writer/performer
Robot Johnson's house band is Space Monkey, consisting of the following members:
*Martin Garlitos, lead guitar
*Dave Lindsay, bass
*Julian Ortiz, drums
Space Monkey performs between sketches and at the beginning and end of shows, as well as during musical numbers.
The show typically opens with a monologue by Sean Keenan, addressing the audience and introducing the show. The monologue's purpose is twofold. Its first job is to introduce Space Monkey, and its second is to inform the audience of "The Rules" they must obey in order to properly enjoy The Robot Johnson Show.
#Tip the band on the way out.
#Turn off all cell phones and other ringing devices.
#Use the restroom between sketches. If you get up during a sketch, the cast will then include you in the sketch at your own expense.
#Circle your favorite sketches. Audience members are given crayons with which to circle said sketches on the programs, which they are encouraged to return to the cast.
The show will then open with a song, whether a parody or an original musical number. Most of the songs used in Robot Johnson shows are composed by David Golden. Each show typically contains an opening song, a song in the middle, and a musical finale featuring the entire cast. The sketches used in each show are combinations of commercial parodies, local humor, national humor and recurring characters. The last sketch before the finale is The Talking Baby, a foul-mouthed baby doll who reviews movies.
*Gordon, the Marginalized Redneck (Sean Keenan)
*Becca Norwood, Channel 5 reporter (Tiffany Apple)
*Father Arlo McAfferty (Jason "Bear" Blackman)
*Paula and Skalene, the "Double Wide" girls (Tiffany Apple and Luci Wilson)
*Gene Shalit (Brandon Ballard)
*The Talking Baby (Sean Keenan)
*Disembodied Voice (Graham Odom)
The Talking Baby
The Talking Baby is described by creator Sean Keenan as an "R-rated puppet show," though the baby in question is not actually a puppet but rather an anatomically correct baby doll. During the Talking Baby segments, audience members are able to see Keenan's hand as he operates the baby, changing its hand positions and turning its head. The ostensible function of Talking Baby is to review movies, but the character often goes off on tangents about characters, actors, directors or concepts involved in the movie and quite often has not seen the movies he reviews. The Talking Baby segment is the raunchiest and most profanity-laden of each show, with the Baby promising to "clean it up" for children and the elderly before descending into a tirade of obscenity. One of the most popular sketches in the show, Talking Baby was eventually made the spokesman for
MTV2in the early 2000s. [ [http://www.charlottemagazine.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3386&Itemid=306 Charlotte Magazine - CharlotteMagazine.com - Conversation with Sean Keenan ] ] The sketch typically starts out with Disembodied Voice paraphrasing a pop song to introduce the baby (one segment featured Disembodied Voice singing the entire first verse to "More Than Words" by Extreme) before introducing the first film to be reviewed.
At their July 26th shows, Robot Johnson filmed a national 30-minute pilot. [ [http://robotjohnson.com/?page_id=82 Robot Johnson | Press Releases ] ] The pilot is currently in post-production and there are plans to shop it to two major networks as well as smaller cable stations. Robot Johnson recently launched its own [http://www.youtube.com/user/robotjohnsoncomedy Youtube channel] and plans are in the works for a national tour and a comedy album. [http://www.charlotte.com/663/story/672730.html]
In September 2008, the troupe partnered with Collaborative Arts Theatre to produce "SITCOMS LIVE," which featured three weeks of three separate sitcoms from the latter half of the twentieth century, including episodes of "
Three's Company," " The Facts of Life," and " Married...With Children." Robot Johnson performed the commercial breaks for each sitcom, along with a new hour-long sketch comedy show after each performance. [http://robotjohnson.com/?page_id=82]
On September 21, Robot Johnson announced that they will move back into The Charlotte Comedy Theatre in October of 2008 to begin workshopping shows for 2009. [http://charlotte.dbusinessnews.com/shownews.php?newsid=166972&type_news=latest]
* [http://www.robotjohnson.com Robot Johnson's official website]
* [http://www.myspace.com/rjsketch Robot Johnson's Myspace page]
* [http://www.blumenthalcenter.org The Blumenthal Performing Arts Center]
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