Caro Meets Comedy Interview

Dave Bibby: Baby Dinosaur

By | Published on Friday 14 June 2024

I was quite excited when I heard that Dave Bibby would be heading to Soho Theatre this week with his J-Park related show ‘Baby Dinosaur’, because I had heard so many good things about it, not least from one of my own reviewers, who saw it at the 2023 edfringe. 

It’s not the first we’ve heard of him – we’ve seen him performing with sketch troupe Lead Pencil back in the day – and, of course, he has a varied and interesting career as an actor, comedian and improv-er, that’s seen him helping out Derren Brown and pranking Ant & Dec… 

I fired some questions his way, to find out more about the show and the man behind it. 

CM: Can you start by explaining the premise of the show? Why is it called ‘Baby Dinosaur’ and what happens in it? 
DB: I set out to make a one-man ‘Jurassic Park’, but then we had a baby and I just haven’t had the time. So, instead, I make it live every night with the audience.

People play parts, do sound effects and totally rewrite the original movie for a modern audience. I would say my finest moment is playing the role of ‘shaking glass of water on the dashboard of a jeep’.

CM: I had a sense that you might involve the audiences in all this shenanigans – to what extent?  
DB: The audience are the sound design team. When a sound effect appears on the big screen they do it.

It might tell them to stamp their feet for a stampede, make the sound of a waterfall or squawk like birds being sucked into an engine and dying a terrible death. There’s also a folder containing numbered sound effects and classic lines that is passed around the audience.

But it’s all voluntary. I don’t force anyone to do anything I wouldn’t do and the joke is always on me. It’s totally friendly audience interaction – people don’t usually believe that until ten to fifteen minutes in and they see the Bibby regulars having a lovely ol time.

CM: What made you want to do a show like this, based around a film? 
DB: The pandemic. Everyone pivoted to online comedy – I was awarded The New Online Comedian Of The Year Award in 2020 – but I hated Zoom gigs and TikTok skits.

So I decided to come up with the most live live show I could think of. Something involving the audience that is constantly changing. In Edinburgh the show was wildly different depending on the crowd / alcohol levels each night. I love it and I don’t get bored of it.

CM: Why THIS film? 
DB: Because ‘Jurassic Park’ is a perfect movie.

But it’s 1993 scary – oh you’ve got raptors killing six people in a two hour film? We had a health secretary that would happily kill off hundreds of thousands of people as long as his pub landlord got a little bit richer. You know what’s even scarier than ‘Jurassic Park’? Normal adult life in 2024.

Also, I bought some ‘Jurassic Park’ Reebok Pumps and needed to make them tax deductible.

CM: Is this a concept you could use again with different films? 
DB: You better believe it is! Maybe even more than one film in a show. In fact, and this is an exclusive for you guys, the current working title for the sequel is ‘THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK TO THE FUTURE… LABYRINTH’.

CM: Our reviewer saw this show in Edinburgh and loved it – how did the Edinburgh run go, from your perspective? Do you have plans to return to the Fringe? 
DB: I did three Edinburgh runs with my sketch group Lead Pencil and this is my third solo show. This was by far and away my best and most fun Fringe.

I didn’t have PR, comedy management or even any kind of production team behind me. But the Free Fringe is a beautiful thing – people come and word spreads so fast. 

Because I’m a dad now I also didn’t do the final week. I’ve always felt that the final week is for those acts who are nominated or winning awards.

Ironically this is the first Edinburgh where I actually won an award and I promptly left a week early before I could cash in at all. Still, it was great while it lasted.

I won’t be in Edinburgh this year but hope to return in 2025 with an even bigger, better and more interactive show.

CM: Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Have you always wanted to perform? How did your career begin? 
DB: I guess I always wanted to perform, yeah, but I’m not from a showbiz™️ family or anything, so never really knew how to go about it.

I didn’t go to drama school but I did study drama at university. I specifically chose Middlesex University because they did comedy as part of the drama degree.

It means I’m a jack of all trades rather than a master of acting / comedy / presenting / voiceover, but I do a little bit of all of them and have managed to make a career of it.

CM: Which is more important, acting or comedy-ing? And which is more interesting to you: live performance or doing stuff for TV/film?  
DB: I think live performance is where I thrive. Where people can actively see me thinking on my feet and adapting for each unique audience.

But I love acting and would like to do more. It was always a dream of mine as a kid to play a character in a long-running sitcom like ‘Cheers’, ‘Porridge’ or ‘Only Fools And Horses’.

CM: What have been the highlights of your working life so far? 
DB: I did a film called ‘Knuckledust’ where they had some real acting heavyweights – I was brought in to play a comedy character with a darker side, and I was really pleased that I could do both and keep up with the more established acting names.

But I’m very proud of bringing my improv style to TV. I have done hidden camera shows for Channel 4, I did the Derren Brown show ‘The Push’ – still on Netflix if you want to watch! – and recently was hired by Simon Cowell to custard-pie Ant & Dec live on ‘Britain’s Got Talent’.

What a weird and wonderful niche to have carved out for myself in the industry!

CM: What aims or ambitions do you have for the future? 
DB: Next time I make a show like this I would like to tour it and take it everywhere – theatres, festivals, a small tent at Glastonbury, a village fete, whatever!

I’m so proud that I do everything myself but am envious of those comedians who have people to do the admin side of the business for them.

And I think I have a sitcom in me.

CM: What’s coming up next for you after this? 
DB: I am going to write a sequel to this show. I’m also working on a play about a man who fakes his own death. And then I am going to retire.

Dave Bibby performs ‘Baby Dinosaur’ at the Soho Theatre from 19-20 Jun. See the venue website here for info and to book tickets.

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