Comedy blog

John-Luke Roberts: Edinburgh Fringe 2016 interview

john luke roberts edfringe

John-Luke Robert’s 2015 show about his dead father was a sublime mix of silliness, sadness and balloons that showcased his new found clowning abilities, allowing his surreal imagination to blossom. 

This year he’s building a monster. A metaphorical one or literal? We shall see.

Hello. How are you today?

I’m all right. I had quite a bad night’s sleep when I kept going back to an anxiety dream which mingled Brexit despairs with RuPaul’s Drag Race. Which is weird, because I watched Nightmare On Elm Street for the first time last night, and that didn’t feature at all. My unconscious is either missing an open goal there, or playing a much smarter long game.

Are you ready for another month of Edinburgh Fringe action?

Yes. There’s a real buzz about my show and I’m taking every Wednesday off so I don’t die. The main take home for you should be the buzz though. And remember: you didn’t hear it from me. You heard it from trusted friends and industry chatter. Buzz buzz buzz. Almost too much buzz, in fact.

At this stage, how closely does your programme blurb match the content of your show?

Pretty close because I was very careful to write my programme blurb as vaguely as possible.  

What are your tips for getting people to see your show?

Do a really good show, and have John Kearns do his show in the room next to yours, starting just before your show, so that the people who can’t get into his show, because it’s too busy, will come and see your show.

Who are you sharing a flat with this festival and how will you help each other survive the month?

I rent a room from a nice man, and this year I’m sharing that room with my partner. God knows how we’ll help each other survive. Affection? Giving each other some space? Motivational huddles Getting a gym pass to a gym with a steam room and jacuzzi?

Any shows you’re particularly excited about seeing?

I loved Zoe Coombs Marr’s show last year, and her new one sounds fantastic. I’m also looking forward to seeing all my friends from Gaulier, the prestigious clown school where they let anybody in: Elf Lyons, Tom Walker, Neil Sinclair, Nicola Cross, Natalie Leduc, Zach and Viggo.

Other than the great shows, what else are you looking forward to about your trip to Edinburgh this year?

I like going to the cinema and pretending I’m not even at the Edinburgh Festival.

Salt and sauce on your chips?

I’m really trying to cut down on carbs actually, so I’ll just ask for the salt and sauce in a styrofoam box.

Here’s a space to write about anything you want. Go for it.

The more I try to engage politically with the world, and the more informed I become, the more I despair. Is the only way to avoid depression to devote myself to my art, and ignore the world? And is the act of making people laugh enough for me to say I’ve done something to counteract the hatred and fear running through our country’s public discourse and behaviour? Or is it just a self-serving distraction – an opting out of actually *doing* anything, playing right into the hands of the hate mongers and pricks? But what else could I do anyway? But isn’t that the problem – that I believe I can do nothing? If more people believed they could do something, then could something not be done? Very vague, isn’t it – that last line’s maybe tautological I think. And none of this is currently discussed in my show, John-Luke Roberts Builds A Monster, about which there is a lot of buzz.

John-Luke Roberts Builds A Monster
Voodoo Rooms
6-28 Aug, 6.55pm

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