Tell us about your show, What A Man, What A Man, What A Man, What A Mighty Good Man (Say It Again Now).
It’s a show about men and masculinity, but also (and mainly) a love letter to my Dad, my son, and my best friend Dave. My Dad’s never seen me do stand-up so I wrote a show about him to try and force him into coming to watch.
What inspired you to write a show that takes a critical look at masculinity?
I think over the past few years, a lot has been spoken about it, through #MeToo and the election of ‘strongman’ leaders, but also having my first child – a boy – that was quite a crystallising moment for me.
Your show calls out double standards when it comes to gender roles. What sort of contradictions do you explore?
I look after my son during the daytime as my wife has a proper job because she’s a proper human being, so I take him to baby classes and get unbelievable amounts of praise simply for being there. Whereas she’ll sometimes go to the same classes and get no attention at all. She hates it. I love it. Love me some attention.
Did writing this show this show teach you anything significant about what makes a good male role model?
I think speaking about the topic and speaking up, and being honest in talking about your feelings – that’s a very “un-masculine” way to behave, and can only help in a number of ways, both from an inward perspective in terms of mental health, but also discussing these topics with other men.
What’s your trick to finding the funny side of the oppressive nature of the patriarchy?
I think pointing out the ridiculousness of it all. How men act on stag dos despite the fact that 99.9% of men surely don’t want to act like that. How corporations are trying to tie in patriarchal attitudes (or opposing them) in their products. Plus stories from my own life about trying to be better, and failing. Audiences love hearing about other people failing. And I’ve done that a lot.
What do you hope people take away from your show?
I suppose the idea that things these should be talked about. And that men don’t have to act in a certain way, if they don’t want to.
Your show is influence by your relationship with your father. What do you hope he takes away with your show?
That he’s a lovely man who has not failed because his son has gone into stand-up. It’s fine, Dad. Dad? It’s fine! I’m doing fine Dad! Dad? Dad?!
Do you have any advice for anyone looking to break into comedy?
Go to your local comedy club or theatre and watch it live. There’s no substitute for that. And then find out which open mic nights are nearby, go down and watch, introduce yourself, book yourself in, write 5 minutes of material, hone that for a while, get 10 minutes, hone that, 15, then 20, then take a show up to Edinburgh and then tour it and then do Q&A’s in the press.
And be nice to people. Turn up on time. Treat the venue staff with respect. Don’t be a dick. Those ones are more important than being funny, to be honest. I’ve made a career out of that.
Robin’s tour starts on Wednesday 5th February in London.
Find out more about him and if his show is coming near your by checking out his website.