Comedian, musician, quiz show champion and all-round genius Rob Deering tops the bill at this month’s Laughter Factory. We find 10 things to know before seeing him perform.
1 He started off as a musician. Then he became a comedian. Now he’s a musical comedian.
“I wanted to be a serious musician. And this was without any recourse to my actual personality – I thought I would get over myself and become this serious artist. That didn’t happen, my personality continued to exist and I became a comedian without music. And then the music crept into my set incredibly slowly, over an almost geological period of time.”
2 Along the way he played in lots of questionably titled rock bands, including Wax Lyrical, The Jemimah Stepdads, The Glass Needle, Galar and Giant.
"I was in lots of bands, all with terrible names. There was one point where I wanted to call my band Feisty Heffer – that's disastrous, isn't it? Donkey Monkey was another point of silly, pointless wordplay. Absolutely terrible. But then a lot of famous bands have got terrible names. U2 – what a dreadful name for a band. Me and my wife, if either one of us says: 'I love you, too,' the other one will say: 'Yeah, I dunno, The Joshua Tree was all right.' That's an indication of what it's like here at Deering HQ."
3 He was first on television at the age of 12, representing his school on game show Crack-It (he lost).
“I was always seeking an audience, long before I was a comedian. I think I was on telly because I did a lot of showing off at school, so they were clearly just responding to a need that existed. I often used to get up in assembly to make spurious announcements about nothing because I just wanted to try to get a laugh. The whole thing is a product of showing off and attention deficit disorder. But I try to use my ADD as a power for good.”
4 He claims to be the world’s first looping comedian.
“I am a one-man-band, but by saying that, I conjure up horrible images of mouth organs strapped to faces and cymbals between knees, and generally being slightly outside of society. I am very much a looper – my loop pedal is my best friend. I love to loop. But then I think that sometimes in music people go: ‘Oh, look, I looped’ and it’s really dull. I very much use it as a means to an end, so I can play songs rather than say: ‘Look what I just did.’”
5 He’s 42 years old.
“I say to audiences: ‘I’m 42, I’m a grown-up now,’ and everyone just laughs in my face. It’s not meant to be a joke, but there’s a compliment there for me, I think.”
6 He was a regular on UK breakfast show RI:SE, in which he frequently fell over.
“Falling over is funny. It’s empirical – one’s perspective doesn’t change it, it’s an observable fact. When Madonna fell over, a lot of people said it wasn’t funny. Yes it was, being pulled backwards down a flight of steps by a giant cloak – that’s funny on paper, that’s mathematically funny. Yeah, if she’d been hurt, it wouldn’t have been funny. But she wasn’t, so it was.”
7 But he had to retire the move from his act in 2011.
“I genuinely have got a chronic knee injury from falling over, particularly when I was ‘falling over man’ on the TV and I really threw myself into it. I smashed my left knee into various pavements and stone steps all over London and it’s never been quite the same.”
8 He likes Dubai.
“It’s a crazy place; there’s nowhere like it. It’s very immediate, brightly coloured and expensive – it suits me, I like things brightly coloured and superficial – I’m a magpie in that way. Shiny and sparkly and sunny – it works for me.”
9 He claims to have an IQ of 148.
“They did a test at the Edinburgh Festival to see if comedians were clever and I think they were disappointed to find that we were. My IQ came in at 148. The evidence is there, it’s all on paper somewhere. Mensa is just about that level – I think I just missed the invitation.”
10 He is the first person to win quiz show The Weakest Link without getting a question wrong.
“[Presenter] Anne Robinson tried to use my IQ against me. I guess she was thinking I’d go out and then she’d say ‘not so clever now’, but I didn’t go out. I’m best in a quiz. I’m much better at pointless stuff – don’t ask me how the engine of my car works, but do ask me to quote adverts from the 1980s.”
• Rob Deering performs as part of The Laughter Factory, at Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach, Thursday and Friday at 9pm; at McGettigan’s JLT on Wednesday at 8pm; and Grand Millennium Tecom on Thursday, June 11 at 9pm. Tickets are Dh140, visit www.thelaughterfactory.com to book