"I’m a comedic singer-songrhymer,” says Rob Deez, “which basically means that I can appeal to many different audiences. The comedic side fits in at comedy shows, the singer side works at coffee shops and bars, and the rhyming side does well at hip-hop shows.”
A longtime vet of local musical theater, particularly at City College’s Saville Theatre, Deez self-released his full-length Fisher-Price: My First CD in late 2011. Shortly after its debut, however, toymaker Mattel asked Deez to change the name. “I ended up calling it Trademark Infringement instead,” he says. Since then, he’s been cooking up a new batch of comedic cuts, including “Check Into Cash,” “Friend Zone,” “Deezeriffic,” “Hairy Palms,” and “Self Deprecating Love Song,” which includes this memorable verse: “I’m about to renew my subscription to Maxim/ and read all about the female orgasm/ If there’s three in a threesome, and two in a twosome/ I guess that must mean that I’m handsome.”
“As long as there are people who want to laugh, I’ll have an audience to play for,” says Deez, whose day job as a medical assistant at Mercy Hospital (“I deal with cannulated bile ducts and remove gallstones”) affords very few chuckles. “Making people smile is one of my favorite things to do, on and off stage. It’s a euphoric feeling for me. It’s a high. I can’t get enough of it.”
A San Diego native (“I’ve lived in North Park my entire life”), Deez has collaborated with other local lights such as Josh Damigo, Jeff Berkley, and Kenny Eng. “Sure, I’ve played serious songs at concerts. But, the whole time, the audience is just listening intently, not really reacting at all until the song’s over. So, in my head, I start to panic. Do they like it? Why aren’t they doing anything? What am I doing wrong?
“Funny songs, on the other hand, come with an immediate payoff.”
WHAT’S IN YOUR MUSIC PLAYER?
- The Cool Kids, When Fish Ride Bicycles. “Just discovered these guys, and this is their first album. Good driving music.”
- Okay at Best, Live at the Tin Can Alehouse. “These local guys are one of my favorite acts, period.”
- Big Boi vs. the Black Keys: The Brothers of Chico Dusty. “A funny mashup by Wick-it the Instigator.”
- Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Return to the 36 Chambers. “This album never leaves the player.”
ANYTHING YOU WERE EMBARRASSED TO MENTION?
“I accidentally downloaded a Chamillionaire album once. But the winner has got to be the karaoke version of ‘Adelaide’s Lament,’ from Guys and Dolls.”
WHERE CAN YOU HANG OUT FOR FREE?
“The Handlery Hotel on Hotel Circle. They’ve still got a Jacuzzi. Lafayette Hotel, if you’re reading this, bring the Jacuzzi back and I’ll hang out there, too!”
“I’m gonna say Bushwalla at Twiggs back in 2006. Bushwalla always puts on a great show, and the other performers that night included Jason Mraz, MC Flow, and Eric Schwartz, aka Smooth-E.”
STUFF YOU NEVER RUN OUT OF?
“I always keep my fridge stocked with a bottle of Tapatio Hot Sauce and a bottle of Sriracha, a Thai chili sauce. Might not have any food, but I always have my sauce.”
YOUR MOST AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SONG?
“One called ‘A Look Back,’ which starts like this: 1981, not a lot of room/ I woke up to find myself inside of a womb/ Discovered my arms, legs, hands, and feet/ Instinctively started rockin’ to my momma’s heart beat.”
WHAT REMAINS ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?
“Escape through the roof of an elevator, crawl through an air-conditioning duct, go to Alaska, hike the Narrows in Utah [Zion National Park] from the top down, find a good woman, and have some kids.”
WHO DO PEOPLE SAY YOU LOOK LIKE?
“I’ve been told I look like a cross between a Cabbage Patch Kid and a hobbit. Perhaps my hobbit name would be Brown Paper Baggins.”
WHERE DO YOU TAKE OUT-OF-TOWN GUESTS?
“In no particular order, Phil’s BBQ in Point Loma, Balboa Park, and City Heights.”
DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC?
“I’ve seen me in the bedroom, so, yes, I definitely believe in magic. Now you see it, now you don’t!”
“My answer to the previous question.”
BRUSH WITH FAME?
“My first real job was working at Jamba Juice in Horton Plaza, and I once made a smoothie for Marlon Wayans. I was tempted to ask for his autograph, but I was a professional. A pro juicer, but a professional all the same.”
FAVORITE MOVIE BASED ON A BOOK?
“The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I’m such a nerd.”
“I’m definitely a fan of Tenacious D, Bo Burnham, the Lonely Island, and Jon Lajoie.”
“My favorite local funny songwriters are Allison Gill and Bushwalla. Allison’s got a song called ‘Fat Girls Give Good Head (Because They’re Hungry).’”
SOMETHING WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?
“I’m man enough to cry.” ■