Abandoman: Hot Desk

Udderbelly Festival
May 6th-10th, 2015

by Richard Hamer

In what must surely be a crowded marketplace, Abandoman have earned themselves a deserved reputation as the number one Irish, comedy improv hip-hop team. It goes a little like this: front man Rob Broderick – ably assisted by his band – improvise comedy rap songs on any subject you can think of, incorporating random information and ideas from the audience, often on the fly.

This time out, the whole thing is wrapped in the very loose premise that multi-millionaire rapper P.Diddy has hired Abandoman to write the greatest rap song of all time, and if they don’t do it within the course of the show, one of them will be killed. Naturally.

So for the next hour, members of the audience are asked questions about romance, favourite party tricks and silly pet peeves, before being pulled out on stage and given front row seats to rap songs on everything from backward somersaults to salty hummus.

It’s all about a million times more entertaining than that description can possibly get across. And if that description did sound really entertaining, well then it’s still at least ten thousand times more entertaining than that.

The thrill of the thing lies not just in their improvisational skills – though these are hugely impressive – but in their unique rapport with the audience. Abandoman is audience participation honed to a fine art; Broderick is a naturally charming, likeable performer, gifted in bringing a crowd together, remembering and recalling all their little details like he’s everyone’s actual friend.

In the actual rapping they excel, able to incorporate even the most asinine of audience suggestions with consumate ease. Such is their ability that you find yourself secretly relishing the moments when they’re almost stumped, cheering all the harder when they somehow manage to incorporate ‘Iona’ from ‘Equity Consulting’ – which, in their own words, “rhymes with fucking nothing” – into the lyrics without missing a beat.

Admittedly, if you’ve seen them before, then there is a sense in which their act is a little changeless. Even over the course of a single show the tricks and techniques they use can start to become a little transparent, and a part of me wishes they would mix up the formula of their show a bit.

But such a slight niggle means very little in the face of what is a highly enjoyable hour. At their best, Abandoman are like the MC’s of the Funnest Party Ever, in a show that is virtually guaranteed to entertain.


Our 2011 interview with Abandoman.

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