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Performer defies description

Robert Post once tangoed with a pair of red long johns on the "Today Show." The performance artist looped the ankles of the underwear over his feet, and then led the stretchy fabric across a stage in front of the popular NBC morning show crew in ...

Robert Post
Robert Post will perform April 30 at the Playhouse's fundraiser. Post says he plans to reprise his tango with red long johns. Submitted photo

Robert Post once tangoed with a pair of red long johns on the "Today Show." The performance artist looped the ankles of the underwear over his feet, and then led the stretchy fabric across a stage in front of the popular NBC morning show crew in a man-on-the-street version of "America's Got Talent."

After Post simulated being groped by his red partner and took his final bow, Matt Lauer said:

"I like him because he's insane."

Post's style defies a precise description beyond eclectic -- a difficulty he admits to, adding that it requires a lot of slashes. The actor/physical comedian/pantomime artist is the main event at the Duluth Playhouse's fundraiser on April 30 at the Depot, 506 W. Michigan St. The fundraiser includes a silent auction, entertainment by the Divas, "Post Comedy Theatre," a champagne toast and live auction. Tickets are $65, and reservations can be made through Monday.

Post is coming off a packed schedule and said he recently received a great compliment from a woman in the audience of one of his recent performances:

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"I saw your show and have no way to describe it," he quoted her as saying.

WHO IS HE?

Post grew up in the 1950s and '60s, a time when variety shows and physical comedians were the entertainment du jour, and he latched onto the style: Ed Sullivan, Jerry Lewis, Jonathan Winters, Sid Caesar and Peter Sellers. Plus, there were still the residual effects of silent movie actors Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin.

Post said he always was funny. Not class-clown funny, but funny.

"I remember listening to my uncles telling stories and they were so boring," Post said. "I started critiquing them. 'Why is this so long?' "

Post has made a living as a performer since 1977, touring around the world with skit-like performances that include sleight-of-hand and character acting. Over the course of his career, he has performed in every state but North and South Dakota and Mississippi -- though he said he isn't opposed to performing in any of those places. Post does one-man shows and has gotten into directing. He also is working to compile 20 years of on-the-road footage -- interviews with the characters he has met from around the world -- that probably will be produced in the next few years.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Post said he has enough material for two "Post Comedy Theatre" shows, and he also likes to include an improvisational aspect in his performances. He's got a few sure things mapped out for his 45-minute show at the Playhouse fundraiser: He'll reprise the tango with the long johns, an act that was born when he saw the underwear stretched into a display at L.L. Bean.

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He also will play a wacky TV chef, who incorporates juggling, jokes and dialects into a bit called "Pasquale's Kitchen" that includes a lively seafood dish. "A Rather Unfortunate Incident of Burglar Burt," includes his man-made sound-effects.

In "Beyond the Wall," he stars as six characters in a murder mystery. It's this one that caused a bit of mayhem at a recent show when the fog machine set off a smoke alarm. The show went on for Post, who spoke over the automated instructions to leave the building, and the sirens from fire trucks.

"It was just hilarious," he said.

Go see it

What: "Post Comedy Theatre" during the Duluth Playhouse's fundraiser "A Comedy Feast."

When: 6 p.m. April 30

Where: The Depot, 506 W. Michigan St.

Tix: $65, available through Monday. Call (218)733-7555.

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Online: www.robertpost.org .

Christa Lawler is a former reporter for the Duluth News Tribune.
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