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JOHN ROBERTSON The Prodigal John

John Robertson - Photo by Mark Dawson
John Robertson – Photo by Mark Dawson

Formerly a fixture around the Perth traps, comedian John Robertson is now based in the UK. He’s back now to perform two of his signature shows, A Nifty History Of Evil and The Dark Room, on the same night at FTI on Friday, October 24. That struck us a good excuse to have a quick chat.

So, how’s Britain been treating you?

It’s cold, it’s wet, none of the plumbing works properly and people keep talking about something called “football,” which is what they have instead of sex or brains. I really love it there – I was in London a month and I got a job hosting a TV show. It’s called Videogame Nation and I’m responsible for the one official complaint it’s ever had (you can’t say, “Look at the eyeballs ooze out of that boy’s face” at 9:30 on a Sunday morning.) Things are good!

How does the professional comedy scene differ over there?

The UK’s a tiny island with a big appetite in a corner of the world that contains a lot of world, so if I’m not in London, I’m in Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Europe, the Middle East, South-East Asia… a week can involve shows in theatres, bars, basements. I performed in a 300 seat inflatable cow back in April. Also, if you end up doing any telly, you get recognised on the street pretty fast. My first one was, “You! I know you! I like you! My wife doesn’t like you! Hey, Claire, tell him!” She told me.

How long has it been since you’ve been back? What are the big changes you’ve noticed?

I came back in May to mourn the passing of my best friend, but I moved to the UK in August last year. The biggest difference is our current government seems like a talent show called, So You Think You Can Racist? They’re an embarrassing parade of scumbags who’ve learned that to sell fear you just wear a suit and pretend to be normal. Also, Family Feud’s back on.

So, we’re getting a two for one deal this time around – tell us about that.

Well, A Nifty History Of Evil is my new show from this year’s Edinburgh Fringe – 2,000 years of history’s biggest bastards in one hour of stand-up, with demons and angels and the Marquis De Sade and an exceptionally cheap assassination joke – I won the Critic’s Choice Award at the Wild West Comedy Festival for an earlier version back 2010, so it’s good to bring the new one home. The other show, The Dark Room, is the live-action video game with a grand prize of $500; imagine a game show hosted by an evil 1980s computer that takes the form of a floating head that yells at you. It had 4,000,000 YouTube views, I did it for a crowd of 250,000 live on Twitch – and I’ve performed it 270 times in theatres all around the world, so it’s pretty good. Also, Perth’s where it all started, so it’s good to be home and screaming.

Oh – and both shows will be signed for the deaf! Huzzah!

There’s also this roast happening on Sunday, October 26, at Lazy Susan’s Comedy Den….

Yep! A couple of buddies decided my ego needed lowering, so we’re gathering some of my favourite comedians in one room to slowly erode my self-esteem. It’ll be excellent fun with a few mates taking the piss, although, they do give me a microphone at the end, so that could be interesting…

What else is on the horizon?

When I go back to the U.K, I’m there a day, then I do two days of filming, then I’m touring the Middle East and the Netherlands.

Tickets for The Dark Room + A Nifty History Of Evil are available here. Tickets to J-ROAST: The Roast Of John Robertson are $10 on the door from 7pm.




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