Rob Auton has a unique approach to the writing of a stand up show, working around an abstract theme, spring-boarding off something as simple as a word. Auton’s style of comedy is a playful and sentimental take on performance poetry, unlike anything else you will see at the Fringe this year. He will be performing The Hair Show at Just the Tonic at The Caves throughout August.
1) What excites you most about the Edinburgh Festival?
I’m not sure if it’s excitement that I feel but it’s somewhere between excitement and dread. I got excited about a gig once and really regretted it after so now I just go into gigs and try to focus on doing my job. I am pleased I will get to to test myself as a performer though. Learning stuff on stage from doing things I shouldn’t have done or remembering new ways to say things. Finding out what the show is and if my instincts have screwed me over or not. I’ve got the material that I want to perform and I’ve done it in previews but doing it day after day is great because by the end of the Fringe it’s normally a different show from the first day up there. Going into the room every day with the same plan but not knowing what the audience is going to be like. Will it be a good show that I remember or will it be a nightmare that I remember? All that stuff fills me with the same emotion. Makes me shut my eyes and swear quietly.
2) What was/is your first Edinburgh show about?
My first Edinburgh show was about the colour yellow. It was called ‘The Yellow Show’. It was the first of my themed shows that I’ve been doing. I’ve done shows on yellow, the sky, faces, water, sleep and this year is about hair/hairs. I did them in the Banshee Labyrinth and I enjoyed it in there but have moved venues this year.
3) Does your comedy attract a certain type of audience?
I don’t know to be honest. The people who like it seem to come back and the people who don’t like it don’t come back and probably tell their friends not to come. It works both ways though. I’m just trying to find people who are up for looking at the world and being confused/amazed by it. When I started I wanted everyone in the room to like it but I learnt quite early on that that is not what is going to happen with my stuff. I’m alright with that and just want to say my piece. If people are into it then great, if they are not then that’s alright too.
4) What is the worst experience you’ve had with Edinburgh accommodation?
I had one that was so bad that I can’t talk about it for fear of getting my head kicked in. I got out alive though so it can’t have been that bad. Another was in 2015 when I was staying with my old uni mates who live in Edinburgh. They have a nice clean flat. I got food poisoning one night and was in the bathroom after it gave me a good going over and I couldn’t find anything to clean up with. It’s alright when you’re in your own house because you can kind of let it take you and get in the foetal position in the bath but when you’re in someone else’s house it’s a different story. Well, it was for me anyway.
5) What is your most treasured memory of your comedy career so far?
Vanessa Feltz calling me ‘Just sad’ live on Radio 2.
6) What show will you definitely be seeing at the festival this year?
Kriss Foster’s show. The Mug Tree. 6pm at the Globe Bar. I went to his show four times last year. He’s a funny chap.
7) What do you hope to gain from the Edinburgh Festival this year?
I want to gain a bit of knowledge of how to be a better at what I’ve chosen to do with my life. Will that happen? I don’t know. Can I make that happen? No. I’ll get on stage and take it from there. I also want to see a load of shows that I know nothing about and I want to order some Indian food I haven’t ordered before.
8) What do you imagine your last ever show will be about?
It could be about hair. We will have to see how it goes.