John Robins issues hurricane warning

Quick-witted, insightful and with a roguish charm, John Robins is always worth a watch in Edinburgh – and  he is back at the Fringe with a new show … 


1. Tell us about the new show.
It’s called This Tornado Loves You. It’s from the name of a wonderful Neko Case song that I recommend you check out ASAP. The show is about the fantasies we have about life and relationships, and how they differ from our actual experience.

2. What’s your favourite bit (so far)?
Ummm, there’s a bit I really love which I can’t mention here (it’s far too groundbreaking). There are two set pieces I set myself the challenge of writing and I’m really pleased with how they came out. I have a really self-loathing rant about weddings as well, which is tremendously satisfying to perform.

3. Any props/visuals/silly hats?
I so nearly had a video! For the first time in six shows! It was of a Ladbrokes advert that made me physically sick, selling gambling as an aspirational lifestyle. Disgusting. But I really try to keep that sort of thing out of my shows because a) You have to really justify breaking that one-to-one engagement with the audience, b) I’m not very technically gifted, and c) I’m phenomenally lazy.

4. What’s the John Robins 3-point plan to happiness? Or are you the last person to ask?
Never drink before 4pm. Then Guinness. Then dark rum and Diet Coke WITH ICE NO LIME. Or, as Max Fischer said in Wes Anderson’s Rushmore – “I guess you’ve just gotta find something you love to do and then do it for the rest of your life.” That is the best advice you can give to anyone. For me, I guess it’s comedy … and watching Ronnie O’ Sullivan play snooker … and being with my friends.


Photos: Idil Sukan

5. The trademark T-shirt has gone and the suit is looking sharp. Are we seeing “serious” John now?
How is a t-shirt a “trademark”? Does everyone who wears a T-shirt owe me money? If so, can you sort out my royalties? How is what I wear of any relevance? YOU WOULDN’T ASK THAT QUESTION TO A WOMAN WOULD YOU?!

6. Is that title a Neko Case reference? If so is that integral to the show? I’d hate for you to paint yourself into a corner.
Yes it is! Ten points! I always name my shows after songs. If anyone knows the song, or listens to it as a result of me using the title, they’ll get why I called it that. ,But it’s mainly for me, to set a mood in my own mind when writing. That said, if this show makes just one person listen to Neko Case …

7. What will your daily routine be in Edinburgh?
Awake. Check emails. Check reviews. Make tea. Google own name. Google comedians I like. Google comedian [singular?! – Ed] I dislike. Laugh maniacally / swear at injustice. Play iPhone game for two hours. Text best friend new high score. Do an afternoon show to old people / children. Return home. repeat steps 2-8. Listen back to last night’s show. Laugh at amusing ad-lib. Be annoyed at line I fluffed. Head out for show. Do show. Drink. Drink. Drink.

8. Do you enjoy the Fringe?
A very good question. Put it like this. I have never felt emotionally lower, or as fulfilled and invigorated creatively, as I have in Edinburgh. And that dynamic suits my character. So I love it, both the highs and the lows.

9. What would you be doing this summer if you weren’t in Edinburgh?
I would be going to Green Man festival with my friends having the time of my life and watching the best bands on earth and wishing I was in Edinburgh.

10. Which 3 shows would you recommend to any punters reading?
Never “read” a show, you’re getting ideas above your station. That’s for critics to do. But under no circumstances are you to miss James Acaster, Henry Paker and Sara Pascoe. Those three people have a real monopoly on talent. I mean, I’d say, 25% of all the inspiration, hilarity and craft is owned by those three comedians or their subsidiaries.

• Aaaaaaand John Robins’s new show, This Tornado Loves You will be at 9.45pm at the Pleasance Courtyard

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