Book cover of Mayan Horror (Anvil Press)
Veteran comedy writer Bob Robertson has made a living satirizing the Canadian political landscape.
Along with wife and comedic partner Linda Cullen, Robertson is one half of the dynamic comedic duo (and show) Double Exposure -- the radio and television program known for its dead-on impersonations of celebrities and political figures.
Now Bob has focused his comedic talents on a different subject altogether, that of the post-apocalyptic landscape and the prophets of doom who are warning us of the end of days.
While for some the end of the Mayan Calendar is no laughing matter, for Robertson it has become the ultimate satire, as his new book Mayan Horror: How to Survive the End of the World in 2012 will have you laughing in the face of doom.
SCENE caught up with Bob on his whirlwind book tour for a Q & A on just what kind of comedy the cataclysm can bring.
What was the inspiration behind writing a book about surviving the apocalypse?
First of all, I was getting fed up with all these various loonies who were predicting the world would end on such and such a date. Remember Y2K? Remember Harold Camping, etc etc. There's always such hysteria around these dates. The media, of course, help give them legs.
About a year ago I was reading an article in a Toronto paper. They were interviewing Seth Rogen and he told them that he'd been talking to Steven Spielberg and George Lucas about a project and, in the middle of the discussion, George Lucas started going on about the world ending when the Mayan Calendar stops, and, eventually, they realized he wasn't joking. I thought, well, if a supposedly sane man like George Lucas seriously believes this is going to happen we'll have full blown panic in 2012. So, I thought, I should write a book based on the assumption that I thought the world will end too, and then really poke fun at all this nonsense.
What is it about impending doom that can make such good comedic fodder?
Comedians love human foibles and there's no bigger foible than thinking that God (if there is one), or the Mayans have some incredible power that could bring the world to an end and why would they want to anyway? In the face of those beliefs, Mother Goose is much more credible.
Were the Mayans simply the ultimate pessimists?
From what I know there were some Mayans who were brilliant mathematicians and astronomers, but most of the Mayans spent their time attacking other villages and eating the residents. The only thing they had to be pessimistic about was not getting enough brains to eat when they were passing them around.
The book teaches some points on not only surviving the apocalypse, but that you can prosper from it financially. What are some good end of days investments to be had?
The biggest and one that I recommend is that after the dust has settled on the post-apocalyptic landscape, you should start going through the thousands of wrecked cars and trucks. Open the glove compartments and you'll find all sorts of Canadian Tire money stuffed in there (if it's anything like my car). You will be the owner of the only currency on earth and you will rule.
What are some must have items to be sporting for doomsday?
Plenty of life jackets if there's a biblical flood. Screens on your windows if it's a swarm of flies. If it's an earthquake, you should quickly get underneath something that won't come down, a door frame, a desk...Google shares. And, always, Popeil's Pocket Fisherman. You'll eat when others are trying to pick berries.
You are presenting in Winnipeg tonight, are these prairies ideally situated to survive out the Armageddon?
I've got a chapter in the book called the Ten Safest Places in Canada to Wait out the Apocalypse. #1 is the Diefenbunker but #2 is the HudBay Mining smelter in Flin Flon. It's way underground, but also that's where they grew medical marijuana for a few years and I reckoned there might still be a few plants left lying around. Another point I make is that if the earth freezes over, Prairie people are the only ones who know how to drive in it.