“When I became a father, which was about five years ago, I had a reaction … I can’t be a dad there’s no way I can do this.”
That’s the shock that inspired this one-man show.
“It’s the moment where you realize there’s no growing up point … technically I’m 42-years-old, but really I’ve just been 14-years-old for 29 years. It’s something that I think a lot of people feel and that really comes into focus when you become a parent.”
He recalls a line from another comedian about going to a high-school reunion.
“It’s coming up in two weeks and ‘I’ve got two weeks to make something out of my life,’ and in some ways parenting was like that times 10,” he said.
Another meaning behind the title is the idea of the child being just like Gibbs.
“Him being just like me -- ‘oh no, how could I do that to someone?”
Hence, Like Father, Like Son? Sorry., about that.
While the show is born from some serious anxiety, really it isn’t too serious, Gibbs assures.
“In it’s deepest sense it’s just a whole bunch of jokes.”
Gibbs has been in Canada for 11 years, yet his boy is very conscious which of these things does not belong.
His son points out the Canadian flag.
“’That’s my flag, not your flag’.”
“Oh wow, are we kind of naturally these really horrible, right-wing people? And then, you know we hopefully teach them not to do that?” Gibbs wonders.
While new to fatherhood and the trials of guiding the moral compass of a five-year-old, Gibbs is not new to entertaining audiences.
“The comedy thing I started in 1991, as a street performer actually.”
He had some acrobatic skills that he used in his shows.
Street theatre employs comedy, but differs from indoor performance.
“You have way less control and you have to go with whatever happens … because you don’t know what’s going to happen and the audience knows you don’t know what’s going to happen -- so it’s very exciting.”
“Oh wow, are we kind of naturally these really horrible, right-wing people?" Gibbs asks about young children -
He recalls a street show he did in Saskatoon that took an unexpected turn as he prepared for his big jump and flip finale.
“I took three steps back and ‘wait a sec, I need a bit of a longer run,’ and then I took 10 steps back and then ‘hang on a sec, need a bit more of a run than this’, so I opened up the crowd and then basically just ran … until I was out of sight.”
As he was running away from his audience he decided he might just leave them to fend for themselves along with his tips.
“If I can’t come up with a funny way to get back to the show, I’m not gonna bother,” he remembers thinking.
As luck would have it, he met a woman got her to drive him back to his audience.
“At the time I think I still had a bit of an acrobatic build, and I had no shirt on.”
By the time he made it back to his show, he had been gone so long the crowd had thinned, but he got out of the car, ran up and performed a series of backflips and tumbles for the remaining audience, which was well received.
“People would come up to me for a few days … ‘I’ll never forget that cause it’s so weird,’ and … ‘I have to ask, cause I had to go, did you ever come back?’”
“When I first went indoors, I really missed that,” Gibbs said.
Stand up provides whole new parameters.
“You have … a bunch of people that have committed to stay and watch for an hour and a half and you can take them on a journey that you can’t take a bunch of people who just happen to be there,” Gibbs said.
He loves both styles and to some degree, combines them.
Gibbs says that his current show about life and parenthood seems to find a cord of resonance with a lot of people.
“My goal is to make people laugh. In this one I happen to be doing it around the terror of becoming a father.”