Rhod Gilbert The Book of John - Time and Leisure

Interview – Rhod Gilbert: The Book of John

It may have been seven years since Rhod Gilbert was on tour – but he’s back for a mammoth 52 dates across the UK. We chat to him ahead of appearance at Croydon’s Fairfield Halls

Welsh comedian Rhod Gilbert never thought he’d do stand-up again after his last tour several years ago. But he’s back in a brutally honest and hilarious show, Rhod Gilbert The Book of John. He chats to us about touring and what he’s got in store for next year…


What are you enjoying most about your tour?

Being back on the road for the first time in seven years.  I didn’t think I would ever do stand-up again, so it’s exciting and terrifying in equal measure. I’d forgotten the buzz you get on stage, and re-discovering that has been great.    

What can audiences expect?

A lot of ranting and raving and eye-popping, vein-busting shenanigans, as usual, but this show is a lot more personal than my previous stuff, and it’s getting a very different reaction from audiences.  I think people are surprised by how honest and intimate this show is. 

Do you know the Surrey area at all – if so, what are you looking forward to when you come to the area?

I have been loads of times on tour, and it’s always amazing.  I do say this about everywhere though, so it means nothing.

Time Out has called you ‘one of the best comedians anywhere in the world’ – what do you think makes a good comedian?

Either being funny, or if you’re not funny, having a funny hat. 

Who are your comedy heroes?

Eddie Izzard and a bloke called Simon who used to work in B&Q in Llantrisant.  

What is the best thing that has happened to you?  

Giving up my job and trying stand-up.  Oh, and my wife.  

Your most toe-curling moment ever?  

Soiling myself on stage at The Comedy Store.  Too much information?

What’s next for you?

If you mean in my comedian life, I am working on another series of Rhod Gilbert’s Work Experience for the BBC which will be out next year, and a documentary that I am too embarrassed to talk about. Oh, and now I am back doing stand up, I might try and do another tour in a few years. If you mean in my personal life, I am about to put a breaded haddock in the oven.

After your adventures in Nepal and Kilimanjaro, anything else planned?

Yes, I am leading a charity walk to The Great Wall of China next year.  Each year I lead a trek somewhere in the world to raise money for a cancer hospital in Wales called Velindre.

Your openness about social anxiety and shyness must have helped many, what feedback have you had from people?

The feedback has been amazing; I have had handwritten letters from all over the world from people of all ages.  ‘Shyness’ is a such a vague term, but so many people relate to a lack of confidence in different situations, and it does seem to have struck a chord with many.  That’s a really gratifying feeling to think that something you have done has actually helped somebody.  Most of what I do is a total waste of time!

What would be your ideal way to spend 24 hours

Walking the dog…not for 24 hours…maybe two hours, then 20 hours sleep, then two hours of legal recreational activity.

• Catch Rhod Gilbert The Book of John at Croydon’s Fairfield Halls on the 14 November