You can't go to any of the Canadian Fringe Festivals and not hear the name Chris Gibbs. Formerly with the British duo Hoopal, Gibbs is the dryly funny creator of such shows as The Power Of Ignorance, Antoine Feval and the recent Toronto Fringe hit Gibberish. Now he takes to the big screen in Run Robot Run!, Daniel O'Connor's charming low-budget sci-fi comedy about an office worker (Gibbs) who seeks vengeance on the robot who's taken his job. It's screening on three consecutive Thursdays at the Royal, and Gibbs, co-star Christian Potenza and other cast members deliver live comedy sets after the film.
Robots are really hot this summer, what with Transformers. If you could transform, what would you morph into?
A really comfortable bed with some kind of built-in air conditioning.
How has technology affected your job?
As technology improves, it gets harder to do the kind of clunkiness that I enjoy having in my stage shows. That said, I co-wrote my book The Power Of Ignorance mostly by e-mail.
With all the comics on the set of Run Robot Run!, was it hard to stay focused?
There were a few times when we'd ruin a take by laughing very hard, but it was shot on digital, so it wasn't like each chuckle cost $10 million.
Why aren't there more low-budget sci-fi comedies out there?
As soon as you put one special effect in a low-budget movie you're screaming, "We have no money!"
You've been doing three or four Fringe shows this summer. Are you the official Fringe King?
That's going to be TJ Dawe for a while, partly because he helps so many other people by directing their shows or co-writing them, so he ends up with three or four shows bearing his name in every festival.
You became a dad during this year's Fringe. How is fatherhood going to affect future Fringes?
I have a new loved one whose every movement I can exploit for material. And it's a great push toward braver choices - more dramatic shows that can have a life outside the Fringe.
How many times per day do people ask you about your accent?
I don't get so many questions per se except the occasional "What part of Australia are you from?" Sometimes when I start speaking, people start speaking in a British accent, too.
How do you respond?
"Pip pip! Cheerio!"