Comedy blog

Rob Auton: Edinburgh Fringe 2017 interview

rob auton edinburgh fringe

With Daniel Kitson and Scroobius Pip among his fans, Rob Auton has built up a cult following in Edinburgh for his shows that take an unnaturally deep focus on specific subjects.

Themes of previous year’s include water and sleep. This year it’s hair.

Hello. How are you today?

Hello. I am alright thank you.

I feel like I should write more of an answer here but if you asked me that question in real life that is what my answer would have been. Well, actually, I would have asked you how you are too but you can’t answer can you. This is not a Q & A & Q & A.

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

My programme blurb says “This show is a comedy/theatre/spoken word show about hair and hairs. This show is suitable for people who have, or have had hair and hairs.” At this stage it matches the content of my show exactly.

Have the momentous events of 2016 affected your act in any way?


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

I am sharing a flat with a comedian, a lighting technician, and a dancer. I don’t know what the others will do to help me survive but I can tell you what I will and will not do to help them survive. I will tidy up after myself. Whenever I go to the supermarket I will ask if anybody needs anything. If they go to the supermarket and ask me if I need anything I will list enough heavy items that make them say “just go yourself if you need that type of thing.” It will have been meant as a joke but this is exactly the type of joke that is not funny and can put real pressure on new friendships.

I will not ask them how their show is going every time I see them. If I am making a cup of tea I will ask them if they want a cup of tea too. I will try to be quiet if I get in late. I will be patient with noise up to a point. I will take the bins out when it’s my turn. I will respect people’s quiet time, especially about two thirds of the way through the fringe. I will think before being openly negative.

Any shows you’re particularly excited about seeing?

I am looking forward to seeing Kevin McAleer, Kriss Foster, Lucy Hopkins, John Osborne, Luke Wright, Sage Francis and B.Dolan and loads of other people too. There’s a magician on the Royal Mile near the Tron who is brutal to passers by and kids and he’s always a highlight for me.

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

Lidl probably. I don’t have one near me where I live in London so when I’m up there I always enjoy filling up a basket and being surprised. I enjoy the train trip up there. Windows really come into their own once you get past Newcastle.

What celebrity death hit you the hardest in 2016 (mine was Wogan)?

Weird question.

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

OK well I was thinking about this recently. I went to Wetherspoons to get out of the house and do some work and I was sitting on my own with an elderly looking couple on the next table. They each had two glasses of white wine on the table. I overheard that it was because the guy ordered the drinks first and then ordered the food without knowing he was going to get a free drink with each of the meals. It was great seeing them facing each other with their glasses of wine. They were making staying alive for as long as you can look pretty desirable to be honest.

After their meal they were doing a crossword. I wasn’t listening on purpose but my ears were doing it and I didn’t get in their way. You can’t put your fingers in your ears in Wetherspoons and get away with it. After doing well for quite a sustained period of crossword time, they got stuck. “Rounded roof. Four letters.” They were doing that thing when you say letters and not the word like “fuh”. I had the answer. Without thinking about it too much I looked in their direction and said “dome”. They didn’t realise I was speaking. I said it again a bit more loudly. “Dome.” The lady looked up at me and said “pardon?”

I regretted what I had done. I didn’t want to say “dome” again, but I did. I said “rounded roof, four letters…dome”. She laughed and said “oh yeah so it is.” She pointed at me with one hand and gave me a thumbs up with the other. It was great to be on the receiving end of those hand movements. The man on the other hand said “well it’s easy when you know the answer.” I laughed but he wasn’t joking.

I looked down at my book I was writing in and started writing again. They continued to do the crossword. “Name of a man who wishes he had never got involved. 3,5.” Rob Auton. Correct . It was awkward now and I felt they couldn’t get on with their crossword with me there so I picked up my pen and pad and left the pub. I shouldn’t give far from prime time events like this a second thought but it stuck with me for a while. I had wanted to connect but once I’d done it I had regretted it. This kind of thing happens when you have too much time on your hands and too many question marks in your head.

Rob Auton: The Hair Show
The Caves
3-25 Aug, 3.55pm

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