At its core, the entertainment industry is about unique and exceptional talent. While it’s too true that much of the entertainment industry is about the dollars available in cloning unique and exceptional talent, there are still the performers in the vanguard of creativity who will be the trend setters for the future generation that will follow suit. A generation of comics was molded around George Carlin; unheeded masses have sought to replicate The Beatles in one way or another, and droves of creepy eyed monotone tricksters set out to become the next David Blaine or Chris Angel. In this sense, Bob Stromberg is perhaps not a name immediately familiar, but is certainly a person upon whom 24, AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT, March/April 2009
much credit will be given in the future for his unique contribution to the arts. While the majority of Bob’s career has been spent occupying the stage as a stand up comic, the truly unique gift he has is in presenting his delightfully amusing stories to audiences through the form of shadow puppetry. Much like the simple dog or rabbit we make as a kid in the lamplight, Bob demonstrates in front of a backlit three-foot screen (often projected for larger events) the magical and amazing ways he can manipulate shadows into life. He takes one of the simplest (and probably oldest) idle pastimes and transforms it into something that can truly be considered art, even if you can’t post it on a canvas.
While the puppetry-in-motion Bob performs is nothing short of amazing, the true gem of what Bob does comes in his ability to add the ever important entertainment value to a nifty visual effect. “Well, I’m a comic and that is what I do, but my signature piece has become my hand shadow work. But, I have been performing for far longer than that. I am a storyteller, that is the nature of my comedy, the shadows are just a compliment to that.” Bob has been performing his entire career and while he is a little clean for most comedy clubs and his storytelling style is somewhat unorthodox, he is truly a trained comic. It wasn’t until well into his professional career that fate, luck or providence stepped in, and turned out the lights. “About 15 years ago,
March/April 2009, AMERICAN ENTERTAINMENT, 25
The official publication of IACEP.