Rob Becker: Financing the 'Caveman'
Becker has been a live performer for more than 20 years, and his
trajectory of success has been, for someone in a profession traditionally
marked by the longest of odds, spectacular.
Becker started performing stand-up comedy in 1981
in San Francisco. He worked hard at his craft, and within seven
years was a top headliner earning a very comfortable living.
While his career was going smoothly, though, his personal
life was a bit rockier. He and his then-fiancée (now wife)
Erin had been a very "modern" couple. Raised in Northern
California, both held the view that gender differences were imposed
by society, and that men and women, if stripped of societal roles,
were inherently alike. They married under the impression that they
would never fight because they were enlightened enough to understand
the true nature of the relationship between men and women.
And then they started fighting.
After an elongated period of mutual blame-placing,
they realized men and women were not inherently alike; that they
were, in fact, quite different. They began to have in-depth conversations
about the nature of gender. Over the course of these discussions,
Becker began theorizing that men and women were so different they
had separate cultures. Not only did their fighting subside, but
Becker noticed he was making his wife laugh with greater frequency,
causing her to be more affectionate.
Becker and his wife began discussing their situation
with friends who laughed and related so intensely that Becker decided
to talk about it in his stand-up act. And as he did, the response
-- and laughter -- he received from audiences was greater than ever.
Based on this and a period of intense research, Becker
developed the one-man show "Defending the Caveman" about
how differences between men and women evolved from our time as hunters
Becker has performed "Defending the Caveman"
around the country for 12 years, including a 2.5-year stint on Broadway
that made the show the longest-running solo show in Broadway history.
Bankrate.com spoke to Becker about his phenomenal
Bankrate: Back in your stand-up comedy days,
were you making a living from stand-up?
Rob Becker: Yes. I was making about $100,000
a year. I was headlining and working at comedy clubs around the
country, and I also did some corporate stuff, which was very lucrative.
But most of it was from comedy clubs.
Bankrate: So what would you get as a headliner?
Rob Becker: I would get about $2,500 a week.
Bankrate: How long had you been doing stand-up
until you got to that point?
Rob Becker: I started doing stand-up comedy
in 1981 or '82, and by around 1987 or '88 I was making about $100,000
a year. Thinking about it now it's kind of phenomenal, but back
in that time I thought it took me a long time. By 1989 I'd been
on David Letterman, and I was headlining all these comedy clubs
and making a good living.