Today I’m welcoming Todd Robbins, host of Investigation Discovery’s television series, True Nightmares. Thank you, Todd for stopping by!
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am a performing and creative artist that has spent a lifetime immersed in the shadowy worlds of arcane popular entertainment, dark illusions and sinister realities.
You have quite the impressive background from being an actor, an author, magician and even a carnival performer. What has all that been like for you and what has been the drive that got you to where you are today?
I have always been drawn to character. I like life that has twists and turns. The safe and easy has never called to me.
You’ve worked for Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Tell us about that and what were some of the highlights of your performances?
Ripley’s is a brand that has presented reality as its most interesting and amazing for almost a hundred years. I love everything that this brand stands for, and it is an honor to have done a few things under its banner. It was a real challenge performing in their show in Branson, MO. That is a town where everything is false, and our show was a bit too real for their taste. When that show ended, I was very glad to get back to NYC, where anything is possible…good and bad.
You’re also the host of the television series, True Nightmares on Investigation Discovery (ID). What was the spark that got you into this role?
True Nightmares grew out of my theater show called Play Dead. I created that show with Teller (of Penn & Teller) and he directed me in it. That show was filled with stories of people, some good and some not so good, that had a relationship with death during their lives. We used magic as special effects to give a sense that these dead people were gone but they were not far away, and when they came back to visit the living, the resulting spectacle was terrifying. I was approached by Discovery Studios to develop a TV project along these lines and Investigation Discovery saw that I told true stories of dark people with a twist that was complimentary to the content of their channel but also an expansion of that they currently present. In the first meeting with the network I brought up the idea of have me “ghosted” in the reenactment scenes, popping up when things take a turn towards the evil. With Executive Producer Eddie Barbini, I developed the concept into a series. The result is a show that presents quirky stories of murder and mayhem that all have an ironic twist to them. I look upon my role not so much as a host or narrator, but much more of a storyteller. This lifts the series out of the docu-drama genre and puts it into a whole different field.
Share with everyone what your book, The Modern Con Man: How to Get Something for Nothing is about and where can readers get their very own copy.
This book is about the mind of the con artist, and the best way to understand it is to try out some simple cons and scams that you can perpetrate on your friends and family. The book, along with three DVDs that compliment it, are available on Amazon.
What have been some of your most memorable moments throughout your career?
I came upon the world of the sideshow when I was a teenager and was lucky to have learned how to do all the classic stunts like sword swallowing and fire eating from performers that were the last generation of true carnival and circus sideshow entertainers. It’s true that I have devoured somewhere in the neighborhood of 5,000 light bulbs. I learned it from a fellow that did an act called The Human Ostrich and it consisted of him consuming things like lit matches and cigarettes, razor blades and tin cans.
Do you have any upcoming projects?
Yes. I am working on a wicked storytelling podcast that will be titled Dark Illusions, Darker Reality, and there are a couple of TV projects that are in the planning stages right now. One is a travelogue that tells the twisted history of places I visit called Down a Road, Darkly, and a few others that too early to speak about. Yes, the word “dark” does seem to be theme in much of what I do!
Where can fans follow your work?
They can follow me on twitter @toddrobbins, on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Todd-Robbins-923440934335323/ and at my website www.toddrobbins.com
Any words of wisdom you’d care to share?
Live each day as if it was your last, because one day it will be…and for many, it’s later than you think!