John Robins: Speakeasy
  • By Will Pope
  • |
  • 17th Aug 2015
  • |
  • ★★★★★

Burgeoning Fringe comedy legend and self-professed borderline alcoholic John Robins indulges his audience with a startlingly self-referential hour of stand-up comedy. The Bristolian comic wastes no time in bringing the audience up to speed; his girlfriend has just gone on a month-long visit to Australia, and he’s alone for the first time in months, suddenly realising that his friends have grown up around him without him noticing.

By the end of a hilarious hour, he brings his audience to the epiphanic conclusion of his existential dilemma.

With a diligence akin to Jerry Seinfeld when it comes to his material, Robins shows a masterful command of language. Every word seems deliberate; there is no room for bluster in this comic’s set. He sets up callback after callback and knocks them for six, squeezing every possible laugh out of his jokes and anecdotes with the apparent effortlessness of a natural storyteller.

Robins’ set is intensely enjoyable to watch, precisely because he appears to enjoy performing it so much. He tackles the everyday issues inherent to living in the 21st century; beaming with delight, he dissects Twitter biographies word by word with hysterically funny quasi-sadistic satisfaction. Equally, he is able to make modern phenomena appear trivial – he dubs our fictitious personae on the Internet as “self-penned synopses of the people we want to be”.

Fundamentally, Robins’ set isn’t merely a string of highly entertaining and blisteringly funny anecdotes; by the end of a hilarious hour, he brings his audience to the epiphanic conclusion of his existential dilemma. He has come to terms with the idea of growing up, and that bingeing on Netflix and Polish alcohol – while tragic when done alone – is totally acceptable with your girlfriend. 

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The Blurb

All new show from comedian, firebrand, sometime DJ and all-time vibe magnet. A festival favourite returns after critically acclaimed, sell-out shows in 2013 and 2014. One half of The Elis James and John Robins Show on XFM. Heard on The News Quiz (Radio 4) Seen on Russell Howard's Stand-Up Central (Comedy Central), Alan Davis: As Yet Untitled (Dave). 'Humane, interesting and consistently funny' **** (Independent). 'Hugely entertaining' ***** (Mirror). 'Comedy in its rawest form: one man, one microphone, one fantastically funny show' ***** (ThreeWeeks). 'Perfectly crafted, intelligently put, cynically hilarious...a sublimely entertaining show' ( Chortle Award winner.