LEWISBURG, PENNSYLVANIA — It's not often that a character comedian can waltz into an open mic full of strangers in an unfamiliar town and totally blow the audience out of the water, but two Thursdays ago the lovable Ralph Dobis read his delightful Dad Poems to an audience of 40 and crushed it.
Dobis, a character conceived of and performed by Mark Vigeant, Famous Comedian from New York, has been having somewhat of a renaissance lately. In April, after a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign that raised over ten times as much as was expected, Ralph and his fellow Dad Poet Zeke Anderson (played by Sam Reece) and their good friend Drew Luster published "Leaves of Grass I Trimmed With My Mower: A Collection of Dad Poems." Since then, Ralph has been touring comedy clubs around New York (and rural Pennsylvania), reading naive yet adorable poems about his satisfaction with his suburban lifestyle.
"He is a perfect encapsulation of what Dads were like in my hometown growing up," said Mr. Vigeant in between sets at Union Hall in Brooklyn. "He's never taken a risk in his life and he's very satisfied about that."
In addition to the book, Dobis and Anderson recorded an audio book and also published two special editions of the book: one "Kid Friendly Commentary" edition that has post it notes sprinkled throughout the book to explain their process, and one "Dirty Daddy Edition" with a supplemental section of XXX poems.
"The poems are well loved everywhere we go to perform them," said Mr. Vigeant. "Whenever the audience finds anything objectional in the content of the poems, I remind the audience that Ralph is a white man from the suburbs and these are his values."
Behind the scenes, Vigeant and Reece have bigger plans for the Dad Poems universe. They have a podcast in development with the Forever Dog network debuting in the fall, and are helping to produce a comedy book fair at the Brooklyn Book Festival in September.
"We'll probably do another printing of the book soon, which you can sign up to hear more about at our website," said Mr. Vigeant. "In an ideal world, this could turn into something even bigger that I don't have to run out of my apartment."