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Rob Callahan


Location + schedule

U of M Rarig Center Arena
330 21st Av S, Second Floor

DateTimeMy FringeAccess
Thursday 8/58:30 p.m.  
Saturday 8/74:00 p.m.  
Sunday 8/810:00 p.m. ASL
Saturday 8/148:30 p.m.  
Sunday 8/152:30 p.m.  
About the show

For ages 16+
Solo, Spoken word,

Created by Rob Callahan

Overall rating

We've uploaded a clip of one of the show's stories for you to enjoy. "Worst Friends Forever" is a tale of friendship, obsession and physics jokes.

In Idiosynchronicity, Rob Callahan revives and reshapes the intricately-twisted storytelling style that has defined his published fiction, and puts it into a one-hour one man show full of broodingly funny short stories, fervorous beat poetry, odd one-liners and subtle self-enjabments; all undertaken with one keen finger on the pop culture pulse and another poised over your personal like button.

Rob Callahan's 2008 debut novel "Hellbound Snowballs" unleashed his odd style and vision upon the literary masses. His 2010 one-man show will do the same, but live. We'd say more, but there's a character limi
Idiosynchronicity is "a plethora of spooky tales, dark poems and a heaping helping of irreverent humor" (l'etoile Magazine) put together and performed by "the David Sedaris of science fiction" (Courtney McLean) and "the Joss Whedon of spoken word" (he actually just said this, and rather wishfully so, about himself once) that will draw you into vivid worlds full of lovers and losers, winners and runners-up, good guys, bad girls and ugly onlookers.

Rob Callahan
Role: Storyteller
Rob Callahan is frequently mistaken for a talented author, a journalist, a performer and a storyteller. His debut novel, Hellbound Snowballs, has been enjoyed by tens and tens of readers worldwide. He has performed his subtly dark and geeky fiction on KFAI Radio, Minnesota Public Radio, at the Minnesota State Fair and as a recurring guest of the Rockstar Storytellers.

Jonah "The Destroyer" Rees
Role: Foil
Jonah the Destroyer is the mind behind the show's musical interludes. You will hear him playing ukulele, accordion, bass guitar and the saw as we transition from one story to the next. Outside of the Fringe, he can be seen playing with the gypsypunk band Cantankerous Folk and as a member of El Le Faunt & His Traveling Circus, as well as under his own name.

User reviews

I, too, was dizzy.
by Murray WithTheFringeOnTop Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
I enjoyed "Idiosynchronicity", and I like Rob's distinct style of humor and his sci-fi-nerd-pop-culture-steampunk oevre (I don't think I'm spelling that right...oooovruh? You all know what I mean.). I liked the music breaks, and I liked that Rob didn't want to just stand at a music stand. However...this show made me so dizzy! All that walking around and around and around, the spinning, the twisting, the turning of the music stand...even the incessant coffee drinking...there was something about all of that that put me on edge. As crazy as this might sound to say, I was uncomfortable during this show. And I think the fact that it didn't have a lot of HUMAN elements (Not a lot of emotion, not a lot of vulnerability or "heart" -- definitely a lot of brain and analysis, but not so much "heart") increased that sense. There wasn't a lot of comfortable energy in the show to settle down into. Still, it was smart and clever, and stylish for sure. That's worth 4 kitties.

Some original humor, please?
by amihan huesmann Follow this reviewer
Rating 2 kitties
Okay. The music was great, the delivery was great.

But I would have been happier, and gotten out much earlier, if the references to pop culture had been excised. The only pieces that really held up on their own were the first and last. Definitely not a show for anyone over, uh, 37.

I'm a physics nerd and was looking forward to this. What a disappointment.

by Kassie Church Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
While the stories were okay the delivery wasn't good. The constant walking in circles was annoying. The music was really good. I don't know what everyone sees in this show.

Interesting Story, Presentation Lacking
by Sid Solomon Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
While the sci-fi fans in the room appreciated the themes explored, I found myself distracted by the constant circling of the space by the storyteller. Great writing, telling left me wanting more.

by Publius McGee Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Very eclectic collection of stories, from nerdy to tragic, all precisely the right length and narrated in a storyteller's voice - that is, a voice that draws you in and makes you want to know what's coming next. The right amount of volume and inflection for each moment. Pacing and timing appropriate for each story. Couple that with the storyteller's very subtle facial expressions, and you have a masterful show.

I'd cut off half a kitty for his handful of stumbles in his own show - having to run to his music stand to correct himself distracted.

good enough
by mark browning milner Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
geek story telling (mostly read from a notebook), hipster music, and turn-of-the-century costuming. all the nerd obsessions proudly on display.

Caffeine required
by David Trudeau Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
and Callahan kept himself awake through his weird monotone deliveries with cup after cup of that free iced coffee they were handing out. The rest of us had to struggle to stay awake through the strange twists of his imagination tales of brain eating spiders and black holes delivered with hypnotic flat affect and too fast reading. By contrast the three word jazzy finger snapping acoustic bass accompanied and off script rhymes about nerds in love were wonderful.

by David Woolley Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Callahan's geeky, science-fictiony stories are well crafted and a lot of fun. I wished he had known his material better - he read most of it and there were a few stumbles, and he tends to read everything at an unvaried fast pace, so he's not the most masterful storyTELLER I've seen at the Fringe. But the show was enjoyable.

Don't Go--or the Adore-bulon gets it!
by Bob Subiaga Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Seriously. I have a gun to his little turtle head right now. I just can't take all the available (and I suspect even "unavailable") women and their "I want to marry Rob Callahan" gushing.

Of course if you prize great storytelling and a good time you'll go anyway. Just know cute little turtle blood is on your lustful hands.

Being Rob Callahan
by Emily Murphy Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I am not Rob Callahan. You probably aren't either. But sitting in the humid dark of the Rarig Center Arena performance space, we can catch a glimpse of what it might be like to be him, at least for the span of an hour or so. The man, the mystique, the hyper-meta cognition. Mr. Callahan's show is a well-oiled machine, part doomsday, part self-deprecation, lubricated with caffeine and linked together with delightful musical interludes, courtesy of Mr. Destroyer. It is evident that a lot of thought went into this production, not only on the level of each individual piece, but also the overarching flow, the segues, the fugue of movie references and romantic aspirations. Not unlike a mixed tape, every selection was chosen with attention and intention, to great effect. Well done, gentlemen. We can't be you, but I for one was glad to see you.

by Heather Baldwin Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I’ll admit: I have a weakness for cute artsy geeky guys...guys like Rob Callahan. (And yes, I know he is spoken for.) I also have a weakness for sci-fi comedy and drama. I have enjoyed Rob’s writing and performances at recent Rockstar Storyteller shows, but when he performed his poem “A True Story (Of False Images)” during the Fringe-For-All preview showcase, I pretty much had a nerdgasm. (Darn it, another reviewer used that word before I could.) Not all of the excerpts in the show are strictly sci-fi, per se, but being a fan of that genre helps. Here’s a good test: if you appreciate the absurdity of the phrase, “Firefly season two”, you’re going to love Rob’s writing...and this show.

Hey, Being a Geek is Hip
by Chuck Beeson Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Storytelling at its worst is some person reading off a piece of paper in a monotone at a speed that no one in the audience can comprehend nor care to. At its best, it takes you on a journey and you forget where you are and what time it is. Rob Callahan’s performance of “Idiosynchronicity” was beginning to go down the first road the other night at Rarig Arena, in front of a crowd of about forty. But then his cohort on upright bass (Jonah The Destroyer) came out and started plucking a groove that Rob could snap his fingers to and tell and oh so cool story about his life (it was in three parts throughout the show, ten little stories in all). His subject matter surrounded awkward relationships, Star Wars, a woman who could hear her dead son buried underground, and some stories about spiders crawling into your brain (don’t worry, both the program and Jonah with a musical interlude on mini-guitar warn you if you are squeamish). I noticed some Rockstar Storytellers in the crowd and they were enjoying it. The references to Zelda brought a few sharp jerks of laughter from knowing audience geeks. But this guy is smart, and confident and makes being a geek a cool thing. In fact, it makes it downright irresistible (But watch out for spiders).

Not just for nerds!
by David Kornfeld Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Having seen Rob perform one of his poems twice at Fringe showcases, I was eager to see the whole show, and my anticipation was met splendidly! I have a pretty decent knowledge of science fiction but am by no means an aficionado. Though many of Rob's jokes were references I was not entirely familiar with, I still laughed my ass off at his deadpan, earnest and somewhat self-deprecating delivery, and marveled at the amount of iced coffee he consumed in an hour. He also used the round theatre quite well to make the audience feel more a part of things.

Rob's stories all stand neatly on their own but were tied together superbly by recurring jokes, the interspersed poems and quirky incidental music provided by the impressively mustachioed Jonah the Destroyer (yes I want to be him). The stories themselves were a great mix of humor, both light and dark, more serious drama, and even a little bit of horror at the end! I might have to start sleeping with a mask over my mouth...

All in all, a wonderful show, both in text and performance! I can't wait to hear more from Rob (and Jonah!).

by Jenna Papke Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
As he chugged Red Bull at a rate that made MY heartrate speed up, Rob Callahan spun elegant, fascinating and slightly bizarre stories that made this one of my favorite hours of the Fringe. I suggest this show to nerds, sci-fi lovers and anyone who enjoys a good story.

Also has a musical saw in it as an added bonus.

Everything but the kitchen heat-sink.
by Gabriel Heller Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This is another show I wish I could give 4 1/2 Kitties. In this case I'm giving it 5 and in full disclosure this may be because I know the guy. I'm not wearing a hat, but if I were I would feel the need to take it off to Rob Callahan, a man brave enough to stick with geeky until it finally became cool, a guy who dared to dream that day would even come. I was personally just hoping for socially acceptable. Regardless, geeky is now in and if there is even a smidgen of geek in you, you will thoroughly enjoy this show. For fans (like me) of esoteric musical instruments, a number are expertly and tastefully employed by Jonah the Destroyer to make for no boring moments in this one-man variety show of truth, science fiction, fantasy, poetry, humor and horror.

Fan Girl!
by Carolyn Elerding Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
My friend and I thoroughly enjoyed this unusual mixture of powerful writing, strange and dark comedy, and strong performance. There was even a tasteful frisson of Fringey kookiness. I am looking forward to reading Mr. Callahan's book, and I want Jonah to join my band.

Geek stories. What's not to love?
by Careswen ferch Madoc Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Eclectic, geeky, funny, beat poetry. A good balance of stories in the various departments of humor, romance, drama, etc. Entertaining musical interludes. Professional presentation and delivery. Rob's voice has a nice cadence, and he's able to communicate intensity without histrionics.

Storytelling in-the-round is challenging, which I think Rob handled very well, though I wouldn't recommend spinning in circles quite so often or fast. It was a bit distracting.

by Jesse Field Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
If you like Allegra Lingo and/or the other "Rock Star Storytellers," you should check out Rob Callahan's first foray into this idiom. It's a sequence of short creative writings about relationships and the struggle for self-confidence, with a healthy dose of silliness delivered in unabashedly "nerdy" motifs: Firefly, science fiction conventions, girls who wear mostly black, spiders.

Rob's love for the conventions of sci-fi and fantasy writing is infectious, and he's a born doggerel poet -- there are two limerick sequences here that scan impossibly well. If there is any serious weakness, it's just that we gradually get tired of hearing about straight guys with problematic self-image.

A really nice feature of this show is music supplied by a charismatic steam-punky guy who appears to have learned all the instruments that look or sound weird: accordion, saw. Amplified ukelele. Shame on Rob and Fringe that the dude and his band are not mentioned on this page. Who was that anonymous accordionist?

Clever tales
by Peter Erickson Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Stories--Sci-fi, fantasy, relationships--read and told by the author. This is not a show for the actor, but well crafted stories and jazz poems, effectively told. The Rarig Arena was well suited to the intimacy of this telling. The audience was responsive and apparently quite familiar with the author. The dense and rapid pace of the stories require attention. One may have to be in the mood for this, but I enjoyed them. Many movie, music, and Star Wars references.

A delightful journey
by Nadine Sehnert Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Very clever use of sci-fi culture in a nerdy kind of way. Words are chosen to make you wonder how he's going to work in the next reference. It was a gleeful experience.

Callahan makes good use of the arena space and the music adds nice accents.

More than just nerd humor.
by Alex Higgin-Houser Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I love nerd-humor, sci-fi references, obscure shout=outs and exceptionally clever puns as much as the next guy, and Idiosynchronicity has those in spades...but that's not why I loved it. Rob Callahan's beautifully crafted performance strikes unexpected chords--both literally, through his eclectic accompaniment, and in the hearts of the audience. In the end it is his transcendent storytelling, made personal and honest through his lens of well-honed geekery, that makes Idiosynchronicity a solo show worth seeing twice.

Nerdy Fun, Great Storytelling For All
by Mark Long Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Rob works the round of the Arena stage wonderfully. He has crafted his stories to be engaging for all, but with special treats for Sci-Fi nerds.
Anyone who is a fan of great storytelling will appreciate the cadence and style--very enjoyable.

And, the music is nice, too.

Nerds of the World, Unite!
by Jen Tuder Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
With snappy storytelling, cool instruments, and endless sci-fi references, you can rule the world. Rob Callahan proves that in this sly, smart show. What makes it unique is that Callahan surprises laughter out of the audience, as he takes you down the twisty alleyways of his stories. Staging in the round is always tough, and it's the one small flaw in this otherwise strong performance. It forces Callahan to turn constantly; seeing him tell a story standing still would, I think, be compelling. So, my fellow nerds, get into the Rarig Arena to share some geeky solidarity with Mr. Callahan. You won't be sorry you decided to engage, Number One.

Good storytelling by a good author
by Kasee Kozel Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Very entertaining spoken word performance. Loved the beat-poetry style. Loved how Callahan engaged the audience and yes, he hates to do it, but I think he read the last few reviews about his projection. I'm slightly deaf and I heard him just fine!

Only A Dalek Wouldn't Like This Show
by Laura Stratford Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
When I walked into the Arena and realized that it was, indeed, in the round, my admiration for and trepidation on the part of Rob Callahan grew. It's hard enough to perform a one-man show, but in the round? Luckily, Rob (aided by four cups of iced coffee) rose to the challenge, without looking like a record (that spun right round, baby, right round--if you recognize the song, you'll like the piece about high school years). What's more, his turning didn't distract me, because I was too busy laughing at his jokes and sci-fi references. Also, I found myself moved by his evocative prose and explorations of longing and loss. But don't worry--there are plenty of funny (and meta-theatrical) moments to balance out the seriousness. Rob is a consummate storyteller. If a dull moment occurred, I was too far outside the event horizon to tell.

The Doctor would travel light years through space-time to see this show. You only have to drive from your house. It's worth it.

Warning: Marrying Rob is Imminent
by Maxwell Collyard Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
As we saw many previews of Minnesota Fringe shows, several began to stick out. One of them was Rob Callahan’s “Idiosynchronicity.” His sci-fi comedy storytelling was an experience I thought no nerd should miss. Yet when I went to see the show, the variegated tales, though still with a geeky twist (and certainly not nebbish), were tailored to any audience with a sense of humor and a heart. The stories were connected by musical underscores and the motif of a writer's mostly-failed attempts at finding love. Jonah the Destroyer's 'stache-burns and otherworldly instruments (to fit Rob Callahan's otherworldly stories) greatly enhanced the experience, as did his own song warning us of the final story. But this song should have warned me of the perils of falling deeply in love with the impeccably-attired nerdy Hercules and his amazing stories. I, too, want to marry Rob Callahan. This is a show that should not be missed.

Do Not Miss
by Lillian Tillson Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I am slightly embarrassed to say that I actually caught about 98% of the sci-fi and fantasy culture references. Rob and his partner Jonah work really well together, mixing up rhythm, music, and stories into a well-craftd show. Rob handles the difficulty of being in the arena beautifully.

Charming Storyteller
by Richard Shields Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
This series of short stories is presented by a charming storyteller. There is a strong science fiction tone to many of them, but humor dominates the presentation. Rob does fairly well commanding the arena space - a space many performers fail to master.

Two problems: Rob needs to be a little louder, I did have trouble hearing at times. Secondly, the transitions from story to story were not always as smooth as they could be crafted to be. He might want to review the order he is presenting the material or make some other concession to those of us who are challenged by transitions.

This is a show you should consider based on the merit of both the material and on that of the performer.

Callahan Has a Way With Words
by Andrew Fafoutakis Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
The show was full of style and panache. While it could get quite heady for this tired Fringer, Callahan has a remarkable power to own the stage and deliver his material in a way that hypnotizes the audience into wanting more. A very nice addition to the fringe from a master storyteller.

by Bill Stiteler Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
And that's a *good* thing. Callahan's storytelling is sharp, and just when you think you see where it's going, he throws a curve. No, wait, that's not a good metaphor that's nerdy as hell. Uhm... just when you think you've found a way through the dungeon, a wandering monster shows up. The show is tweet-friendly, but I didn't even bother; I was enjoying the stories too much.

Really solid, enjoyable show
by Tim Wick Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Rob has a very natural delivery when he is telling a story and it makes his show just a treat to watch. There were tons of geek references for folks who are in to that sort of thing but the material is certainly accessible to all. The writing is clever and varied.

This is a show I will be recommending to my friends. Check it out!

Great storytelling - hard to hear
by Pat Lindgren Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Rob Callahan is one of the best storytellers at the Fringe. If you can hear him. The arena is a difficult venue; please dig down and find your stentorian voice. Rob is charming and seems to engage you in some shared secret that is hidden just behind the lyrical words he is reading. The music was a great addition (loved the variety) but it further drowned out Rob's weak voice. Go to this show, but sit in the front.

by feesh ette Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I was going to write a review describing the excellent music and the clever, witty, smart and nerd-cred loaded show that I saw. Then I ran into Rob Callahan after the show, and this might better describe the awesome-ness of this guy:
"Are you going to review the show? They told me to ask people."
"Well, I could, but I might have to wait a day or 2. Since we had this conversation, you might know that it was me."
"I am on the fence about reading reviews of my own show - it's sort of a Schrodinger's conundrum - they might be good or bad, but until I read them, do they really exist?"

Geektastic Nerdgasm!
by Fringivitis Vulgaris Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This is a splendid show for folks who love MST3K, who know why Han shot first, who know that Trillian is more than a chat function. Rob tells tales of geek heartache, geezers in space, and insidious arachnid conspiracy. Jonah the Destroyer is a whimsical multi-instrumentalist with a dashing visage. Together they turn a storytelling show into a hilarious hour of quirkiness and fanboy namechecking.

sci fi laughs
by Robyn Hendrix Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
light hearted, fun, lots of nerd jokes and even when I didn't understand a few of them (being not a nerd myself, *ahem*) they were still amusing. lots of laughs.

Quirky Fun
by Tim Voss Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Well crafted, low key, good timing, even music! The title fits. More Fringe magic.