Rob Little
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Rob Little

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The best kept secret in music

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"Big on laughs"

Rob Little has a gret source of material for his standup comedy: himself.
During a telephone interview it's readily apparent that Little's a guy who takes pride in not taking himself too seriously. But then, this is someone who says of his appearance, "I don't mind being bald. Look at all the money I save...by not going on dates."
"I just keep it about me because that way nobody ever can say you're talking somebody else's joke," said Little, who performs tonight through Saturday at the Skyline Comedy Cafe in Appleton. "And plus, that's what's funny to me, is all the crap I ever go through and me just putting a little funny spin on it. And more people can relate that way. That's the kind of humor I like, the stuff that people can relate to."
Anyone can relate to Little. He's like that big, goofy cousin who always tells jokes at family get-togethers, or the dude from down the hall in your college dorm who was really funny at the party last night.
"I'm just goofy and silly and I just want to have a good time," Little said. "I want to have as good a time as people are having when I'm on stage."
Little has been having fun on and off stage lately. He's got a reality show coming out on CBS called, "Fire Me...Please." In a sort of reversde of "The Apprentice," the objective is for two people, starting the work day at 9 a.m., to get fired as close to 3 p.m. as possible. Whoever gets the axe closet wins $25,000. The show is tentatively set to debut in the spring.
He also recently shot a pilot that's being pitched to Spike TV that is in the spirit of the old Benny Hill show, "except with more gratuitous sex," Little said.
And, as if to prove the phrase, "no pain, no gain," Little subjected himself to torturous conditions in the name of gaining exposure on Comedy Central's new game show "Distraction." In the show, contestants answer seemingly simple questions while uner the pressure of physical abuse that would draw assault charges in most states. In Little's case, that meant attaching 38 clothespins to his face and having bottles broken over his head.
Hey, it beats working for a living, although Little is familiar with that world, too. The Michigan native has a degree in management informations systems and worked for IBM and General Motors before embarking on a career as a comedian.
As it turned out, that was exactly what Little planned to do. Before graduating from high school, Little wrote in his senior will that he was going to get a computer degree and after that, learn how to do standup comedy. Little actually had forgotten about his prophecy until someone mentioned it at his 10-year class reunion.
Though he left the comfort of his regular job for the cut-throat and unpredictable world of show business, Little wouldn't change a thing.
"Even when it's the worst, (comedy) is so much better than what I was doing," he said.
Not only that, if Little wasn't doing comedy he'd probably never have a reason to come to Appleton and the Skyline, where he's been a frequent performer over the years.
"It's really my favorite place to play because the people are so fun," he said. "There's a lot of clubs where you almost have to prove yourself to (the audience) and here they're just so happy that you're there to perform. I love it."
- Post Crescent (Appleton, WI)


"Comic just can't stay away"

"Growing up, all I ever wanted to do was stand-up," says Rob Little, a Detriot-born comedian who will perform at Comix Café Wednesday, Jan. 18, through Sunday, Jan. 22. "But … I didn't know how to get started."
Little, 33, a former computer programmer who now lives in North Hollywood in L.A.'s San Fernando Valley, has since figured that out. He not only won $25,000 on the CBS reality show Fire Me … Please!, but he's set to be a regular on Discovery Health's new Strictly Sex with Dr. Drew and has appeared on The Best Damn Sports Show Period and Last Call With Carson Daly.
Still, he doesn't feel he's quite made it.
"In my mind, I'm about one step away from making it," says Little.
He recently chatted with insider about his career and why he keeps returning to Rochester. (He's performed here eight times before.)

What's the source of your comedy?
My source is life itself, I try to relate everything back to me, so I talk about my family, life experiences, jobs, relationships, and I do it all with a giggle. Like, I am a bald guy, but do I let it get me down? Heck, no. I save a lot of money … by not going on dates.
I like people to be entertained immediately without having to think too hard on a joke. If you don't get my material, then you are either way too smart for your won good and should step away from the computer for a few hours or you're so gullible that you should not answer any e-mails that have a subject line, 'I have a deal for you.' I like to talk about things that people can relate to. Like, I used to pee the bed growing up, and I'm not proud of it, but my parents helped me quit - they bought me an electric blanket.

Any particular inspirations?
I love physical comedy like Steve Martin, Chris Farley, Jack Black, Dane Cook and Kevin James. The intellectuals make me laugh, too, like Bill Cosby, George Carlin, Ray Romano and Jim Gaffigan.
Then there is the guy that does both and leaves me laughing so hard that my brain hurts. My favorite comedian is Brian Regan.

What was Fire Me … Please! Like? I mean, we all know you won, but was it hard to piss people off enough to get fired by 3 p.m.?
Pissing people off isn't the hard part. … The real trick is to do it just enough to drive them crazy all day and have them fire you as close to 3 pm. as possible.
A lot of people were telling me how easy they thought that would be, and I would just laugh because until you are in that situation you really don't know. I mean, I had no one around all day telling me if what I was doing was funny to the people watching or not. Your really have to pace yourself. I started work at 9 a.m. and had them trying to call the owners at 9:30 a.m. to fire me. Since the owners were in on it and watching on the hidden cameras they would not answer their phones.
I actually had the employees so mad at me by 11 a.m. that I had to start working kind of hard to win them back. … one literally wanted to punch me in the face. That made for great television.

Did you actually think you'd win?
I had no idea if I won or not. We taped the show almost a year before it aired and they didn't bring me and the other contestants together till about two months before it aired.
… Boy, it was hard to keep that secret - that I won - from my friends and family. They were constantly bugging me about it. But if it leaked that I won, CBS could have pulled my winnings.

What can you tell me about Strictly Sex with Dr. Drew?
I was basically brought on for comic relief because I am no sex expert. I am more of a sex apprentice. And believe me, women are telling me 'You're fired' after a night of passion.

You've performed in Rochester a number of times. What do you think of the city?
I love Rochester. If it wasn't so damn cold in the winter I would try to come back more often.

Why do you keep coming back?
A huge part of my fan base is here … and people love to drink and have a good time here. I love that. Plus (Comix Café) just really treats me like a comedian should be treated. … The owner is really cool, and it's nice to work with one that realizes you are the reason why people are coming out.

How has the transition from geeky computer programmer to cool stand-up guy been?
Well, first of all, I was a cool computer programmer. I worked with a bunch of geeky programmers, and I can tell you - I didn't belong. I worried too much about cracking jokes than cracking code.
But I love my life now. I am so glad I don't have a 9-to5er anymore. I get fewer headaches, travel the country and meet more ladies than I ever did programming. I actually met my future wife doing comedy. She doesn't know it yet, but I've been watching her through her window since I followed her home from my show a few months ago.

- The Insider (Rochester, NY)


"Comedy of Course"

Although standup comic Rob Little, who has been performing for six years and who headlines on the road, doesn't believe that the talentless can learn to be funny, he defends their pursuit of onstage happiness - except when it interferes with his stage time.
Says Little, "Since I've moved to L.A. I've just seen tons of guys who somebody told they were funny; so they've gone out and tried to be funny, and it just is not working. But you know what? I don't ever want to tell somebody to quit doing something or, It's never gonna work for you,' because who am I to say that? If the person's having a good time, thats cool."
"But," he adds, in a different vein, "there are people out there who are devoting their lives to this, and they're working as hard as they possibly can. These guys are just taking up that stage time that the guys who really want to do it really need." - Back Stage West (Los Angeles, CA)


"Rob Little wins big"

Most individuals despise the thought of being fired, but Rob Little actually tried to get canned from his last job.
And that he did.
Little, formerly of Pinconning, heard the words, "You're fired," and got $25,000 richer.
How do you earn money from being fired? You compete on the new CBS televisioin reality show "Fire Me...Please."
"You basically start work at 9 a.m. and have to try to get fired as close to 3 p.m. as you can without going over," Little explained. "You go up against another person that's in another job somewhere else and whoever gets fired closest to 3 p.m. wins $25,000."
Little didn't know where he was going to try to get fired until the night before the taping of the show.
"I had no idea where they were sending me." Little said. "And once I got there I still had no idea where I was going to be working til I pulled up at the restaurant the night before to meet the owner of the establishment and case the joing."
Even though the owner knew they were participating on a hidden camera show, the managers did not. Little had to try to get the managers to fire him before 3 p.m. with a few rules restricting how that could be done.
"We couldn't ask to be fired," Little said. "We couldn't do anything illegal, and we couldn't tell them they were on a TV show."
So how does it feel to try to get fired from a job when your managers don't know you're part of a hidden camera show?
"It was super stressful because I wanted to keep messing with the employees but my guys were on the fence all day with firing me," Little said. "But it was nice to really not think about things they were wanting me to memorize like the menu and over temps and how much to give in change to customers."
Knowing he had to get fired as close to 3 p.m. as possible, Little had to come up with ideas on how exactly to do that.
"They gave us a little note card of the employees pet peeves right before we go into the restaurant," Little said. "I read that they don't like drinkers so the first thing I told them when I came in was that 'I had been out all night drinking and I had the runs so don't expect a lot out of me today.' So that's why I kept going to the bathroom all day.
I also had no idea I was going to rip on them about being rednecks until Cowboy (one manager) said he was a redneck. I looked at that as a gift from God and ran with it."
If you wanted the show, you saw Little's strategies of going to the bathroom and "forgetting" to wash his hands before he touched the food, making jokes about NASCAR, country music and rednecks; but there were some things that didn't make it through editing.
"One time they told me to take out the trash and I just stayed out there for like 20 minutes," Little said. "They finally came looking for me and asked what the heck was I doing and I just told them I wasn't feeling well.
Also when they said they had nicknames I told them they could call me Mr. Fuzzy Pickles and even made them call me that for like the first half hour."
Since the show was taped in Aug. 2004, Little had to keep quiet about his winnings until the episode aired June 14, 2005.
To keep the secret, Little said it was "Unbelievably hard. I like to talk and keeping secrets is not my strong point, especially with my family and friends. I wanted to tell so bad but I think I did pretty good not saying."
Little has to wait up to 30 days before he gets his winnings, but he's already planning on how to spend it.
"After taxes and paying my manager her cut, I should be able to fill my gas tank twice," Little joked.
"Well I wish I could say I am going to go on a huge vacation but I am going to do what most people would do, go to Vegas and let it all ride on RED," Little laughed. "No, actually I am going to pay off my debt. Then we will build the debt right back up with buying some toys and traveling."
Now that this project is done in Little's career, it's time for him to work on his next goals.
"Well, since the show has been such a big hit, the producers are goign to give my Comedy CD it's own show. It's going to be called, 'Buy Me, Please,'" Little laughed. "I hope to start show casing my comed on some of the late shows such as Conan and Craig Ferguson. The final goal is to get on or have my own sitcom. Then we can build up the tourism in Pinconning and get us a Wendy's next to out McDonalds."
If you missed the episode of "Fire Me, Please" that little appeared on, you can go to his web site, www.roblittle.com, to view video of the show.
- The Pinconning Journal (Pinconning, MI)


"A little laughter goes a long way"

When Rob Little was an executive at IBM he made "big money." But it wasn't enough to keep him away from his true passion: comedy.
So Little left his day job and threw himself headlong into the hit-or-miss existence of stand-up comedy in Detroit, where he had been doing comedy part-time for three years, while plotting his escape from corporate America. "It was a huge, scarier risk," remembers Little of his decision to initially take a six month leave of absence. "The only thing that really sucked was getting a roommate."
Roommate or not, Little had decided to do comedy professionally. And to do that he knew where he needed to be. He headed for L.A.
Needing to get his name out there, he started trolling the open mic scene, searching for that elusive break into the bigger L.A. clubs.
"I've only gotten into a couple so far," says Little. "Out here you can brag yourself up all you want but people want to hear from your manager." Getting one of those, says Little, is his next goal.
Little says he is just a "big, hyper, happy guy" who often gets compared to the dearly departed Chris Farley and sometimes to Jack Black. Although he says he gets "animated and goofy" in his act, you won't hear a lot of fat jokes or funny voices. And nothing too political.
"I don't do anything that makes people think," says Little. - The Shreveport Times (Shreveport, LA)


"Pinconning alumnus makes way to Hollywood"

Some may remember Rob Little as the smiling teenager behind the counter of the Standish McDonalds, asking customers if they want fries with their Big Mac. Others may recall him as the likeable, talkative "Social Rob," running around the campus of Central Michigan University. But today, Mr. McSmile, Mr. McOpener and Mr. McService is making a name for himself in Hollywood and is known as the newest reoccurring character on teh Fox Sports Net show, "The Best Damn Sports Show Period" hosted by Tom Arnold.
Little, a 1991 graduate of Pinconning High School and a 1996 graduate of Central Michigan University, snagged the TV role after six years of stand-up gigs across the country and Canada, including a feature spot at the 2002 Chicago Comedy Festival.
The comedian started his career in 1998 at Joey's Comedy Club in Livonia, while working full-time on computer systems.
"It went great," Little said of his first performance, "I got a really big laugh."
From that point on the comedian's career snowballed, allowing him to eventually quit his day job, perform and travel across the country and Canada and move to California.
"I travel all over teh United States, but I'm also trying to get more TV work," he said. "My goal is to either get my own sitcom or a big part on a sitcom...It's a lot of butt kissing and a lot of work," he said, adding that in Los Angeles there are millions of open mics and comedians.
"Basically your a salesman," said the high-energy comedian. "It's tough."
As a professional comic, Little says he writes all his material, which he believes plays a role in a comic's success.
"You have to write your own stuff," he said. "I try and write jokes so everyone has a good time. I talk about my life, my family and experiences - stuff everyone can relate ... Everyon has they're own style."
And while coming up with enough funny material may sound easy, Little said he is continually learning how to write better jokes.
"I could be working on a joke for the rest of my life," he said, adding it takes time, practice and learning from other comedians.
Laughs Per Minute (LPM) is another important componet of being a successful comedian. Little said comedians must be able to read their audiences and have the ability to make them laugh at least once per minute.
"Goig on stage is the hard thing," he said. "We're trying to make them (audience) laugh with our words."
One of Little's toughest critics is his new fiance Jennifer Arnold, 29, of Rochester Hills, formerly of Gladwin.
"I try and get a lot of gigs in Michigan," he said, adding he will be performing aroudn the state during the entire month of June.
On June 18 and June 19, Little will perform at Shooters in Saginaw. For more information on upcoming performances visit Little's webs site at http://www.roblittle.com.
- The Arenac County Independent (Standish, MI)


"Comedian Rob Little Finds Job He Can Keep"

Hate your job?
Rob Little is here to help. He was the winner of the CBS summer reality show "Fire Me...Please!"
If you need advice on how to get canned, this is your man.
"I knew I could get fired - that wasn't a problem at all," says Little, who won $25,000 on the show for receiving his walking papers. "I had jobs before where I got fired. I used to work for IBM!"
Little, 32, toiled as a computer programmer in Detroit before becoming a successful comedian.
"I used to send emails telling (the entire staff) I was Employee of the Week. Or about Transvestite Thursdays," Little snickers. "Just p---ing them off."
Finally, Little says, he sent an all-company email that proclaimed, "If you aren't happy here, quit your job and follow your dream."
Ooops. Little got sent packing for that one. So he took his own advice and pursued a full-time career in stand-up comedy.
That job has worked out so far. In additionto winning "Fire Me," he's appeared on "Strictly Sex with Dr. Drew" on Discovery Health Channel, done sketch comedy on "Last Call with Carson Daly" and filmed a new pilot for Spike TV - all during the past year.
And as for the $25,000 he won?
"Do you want the funny answer or the real thing?" Little replies with a laugh. "The real thing was I just took it and paid off all my bills. I was damn near 25 grand in debt after moving from Michigan to L.A."
"But what I wanted to do," he declares, "was take it to Vegas and let it ride!"
- The Idaho Statesman (Boise, ID)


Discography

My DVD "Born 20 Inches Long" and I have a new DVD/CD on the way called, "Rob Little: Seats Six Comfortably"

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Being positive is what life is all about for Rob Little. The force of negativity doesn’t bother him. “In elementary school, kids would always pull food away from me at lunch time saying mean hurtful things like… ‘Let go of my sandwich!’”

And it’s a good thing Rob knows how to turn everything positive, because he was “Born to be Fired.” Working as a computer programmer for IBM, the Detroit born comic sent out an ALL- company e-mail saying “If you aren’t happy here, quit your job and follow your dream.” IBM gave him his walking papers, but getting fired led to a successful career as a standup comedian. And now it’s led to a network television show, earning him a role on the CBS Summer hit “Fire Me Please.”

Once described to as “a Bald Chris Farley with a smack of Jack Black,” Rob responded “I don’t mind being bald, look at all the money I save… by not going on dates.”

A sketch comedy player on the Fox Sports Net Show, “The Best Damn Sports Show Period” and “Last Call With Carson Daly” Little uses his training at the World Famous Second City to create comedy that is inventive, funny and spontaneous. He headlines clubs and colleges all over the country, has appeared in National television commercials and on such shows as Strictly Sex with Dr. Drew, Comedy Central’s Distraction, Fox News and SiTV’s Latino Laugh Festival to name a few. His recently released comedy CD is Born 20 Inches Long
A shot in the arm to any comedy line-up, entertainment bookers call him “The Future of comedy” with “More contagious energy than the Energizer Bunny.” Little brings excitement wherever he goes … and audiences just can’t stop laughing. It's no wonder Rob was selected Michigan’s BEST Up and Coming Comedian by the Detroit Free Press, has been a finalist in both the Seattle and San Francisco International Comedy Competitions, featured at The Chicago Comedy Festival and will soon appear at The Boston Comedy and Movie Festival.
Don’t let the “Little” name fool you. Little is BIG! But that has never slowed him down. “Yeah, I’m big, and all my relatives are too. Heck, we just got our family portrait done by aerial photography. And there are only three of us.”