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Music

Beloved kids' show Yo Gabba Gabba! brings live show to town

Nick Jr.'s most indie-friendly program successfully translates adult favorite music to the kids

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The program's cameos come from personalities who have a genuine stake in entertaining and helping kids, emphasizes Jacobs (who currently has four children between the ages of 3 and 13). In a 2009 blog entry on the Travel Channel's website about children's television, Bourdain – the father of a young girl, too – heartily praised Gabba, going as far as to say, "I know every song and every lyric by heart." Jacobs and company then contacted him to appear, and Bourdain "flipped out."

As a license past the small screen, Gabba is also doing very well for itself. The show's success has led to a handful of live shows that have embarked on national runs. Get the Sillies Out!, the third and current live show, stops by Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre on Wednesday afternoon. The live event will include the TV show's main crew – namely, host DJ Lance Rock and creatures/buddies Muno, Plex, Brobee, Foofa and Toodee – plus ample eye candy, fan-familiar songs and Biz Markie. In terms of merchandising, Gabba has teamed with skate shoe/clothing brands Vans and Volcom and designer toy company Kidrobot, further enhancing its credibility among teenagers and adults past the typical viewing age. Jacobs tells a story about a business partner who wanted to license Gabba to Walmart for footwear, but Jacobs vehemently disagreed because it didn't fit the indie-leaning spirit of the show and its makers. "We all grew up wearing Vans. If the characters had shoes on, they'd probably be Vans," he says. "It just makes sense."

When Gabba was originally developing, the show's marketing and merchandising weren't of great concern to Jacobs, but as deals have fallen into place, he believes that for the large part, everything has synchronized with the show's sensibilities.

"I think having integrity as a brand has always been important to us, but even thinking of it as a brand is something new for us because we just wanted to make a fun show," he says. "We're just trying to make a fun show for kids and for us and have a good time, but at the same time, I think what you do put out there as a brand shows [whether] you have integrity or you don't."

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