Mark Leiren-Young remembers the day that Bob Robertson changed his life.
It was Feb. 14, 1990, and Mr. Robertson and Linda Cullen were about to perform their first live-to-air show at a venue in East Vancouver. Double Exposure, their young radio comedy series, had just surpassed the Royal Canadian Air Farce in national ratings and the two were at the top of their game.
Mr. Leiren-Young’s musical comedy duo, Local Anxiety, opened the show, performing a half-hour set before rushing back stage. The fledgling duo had a few parody songs on the radio but had never performed live. They thought the Valentine’s Day gig would be their first and last one.
“We suddenly found ourselves going from a completely unknown, really non-existent act, to having about a 10-year run doing this. Bob basically set us up.”
Following Mr. Robertson’s death last month, friends, family and colleagues are remembering him not only for his decades-long career as a political satirist – whose spot-on impression of figures such as prime ministers Joe Clark, Brian Mulroney and Jean Chrétien brought the humour of Canadian politics into living rooms across the country – but as a man with a big heart and boundless generosity in an industry that is so often cutthroat.
Mr. Robertson died on March 19 at Nanaimo General Hospital. He was 71. He had been diagnosed with breast cancer in January, 2016, and since then, underwent intensive radiation and chemotherapy treatments.
He leaves his wife, Ms. Cullen; two children from his first marriage, Patrick Robertson and Jennifer Robertson, an actress who stars in the TV show Schitt’s Creek; and three grandchildren.
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Next of kin were very candid to share Bob’s cause of death from breast cancer.
Likely because of false stereotypes (it only strikes women) and therefor a reluctance of patients to go public, male breast cancer deserves much more attention. If in any way Bob’s passing can increase focus on this media blind spot, it will be one more feather in the cap of a great human being who brought so many smiles to listeners and viewers across Canada.
Bless you, Bob. Full condolences to Linda, Patrick and Jennifer.
When that duo first appeared on radio in the late 80’s,
they were so “fresh”, and original, and laugh out-loud-in-your-car funny.
Cullen couldn’t have done it without Richardson.
And Richardson could’ve had done it without Cullen.
As Jerry Lewis said about his very first nights working with & Dean Martin.
“We … caught lightning in a bottle.”
And when that happens
you let it sparkle
until it ends.