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Mottingham comedian Rob Beckett chats to Vibe ahead of UK tour
HIS face may be familiar from TV shows like Mock the Week, 8 Out of 10 Cats or the I’m a Celebrity spin-off; or you may have just spotted Rob Beckett around town.
The comedian – who is regularly told he looks like people from Boris Johnson to Pat Butcher and the Milky Bar Kid – grew up in Mottingham and lives in New Cross.
His new show Rob Beckett Live comes to The Broadway Theatre in Catford on October 29 and the Leicester Square Theatre on October 30. Vibe caught up with the cheeky comic...
Tell us about the tour?
“It is basically about me and my family and growing up in south east London and stories and observations and stuff.
“Basically, I’m an adult but I shouldn’t be really. I’m doing things that I should not be in charge of but there’s no one else to do them.”
What was it like for you growing up in south east London?
“It was alright. It’s weird because it’s not really Kent and it’s not really London. We’re just stuck in the middle in our own little world.”
Have you got a favourite spot?
“I used to go down to Furniture Village by the Orpington bypass because they used to give you free cookies and squash.
“Me and my brother used to get on the bus and go in there pretending we were looking at sofas when we were about 13 so we could get squash and cookies.
“The Village Store does quality sandwiches down by the war memorial in Chislehurst.”
How did you get into comedy? What did you do before?
“I had to do odd-jobs. I worked at markets and supermarkets – Sainsbury’s Chislehurst, I used to work there. I used to go Up the Creek in Greenwich on a Sunday.
“I was watching an open mic act and I thought ‘oh god, there’s no way I can do worse than that’. And he wasn’t getting booed off either.
“I thought even if I am as bad as that, I’m not going to get booed off. I went on, I was as bad as that but I got better!
“I just carried on doing it and it’s like a hobby that got out of hand. Imagine going to five-a-side football and you play your £5 to pay, then after a few weeks they say ‘don’t worry about paying’ and you think ‘quality’.
“Then they say ‘here’s £10 to play’ and before you know it you’re lining up for a proper team.”
How does comedy rate as a career?
“It’s better than going to an office, isn’t it? I don’t like being told what to do, so it was best for me to leave the world of an office.
“I just used to wander round chatting. I was quite good for team morale but any actual work getting done, did not happen.”
It must take a lot of discipline to write a show, how tough is that process?
“I write a lot on stage. I do a lot of new material nights. If I’ve thought of something that’s made me laugh, I’ll go on and do it and see how it goes.
“I record it and listen back. Anything that got a laugh I write down and anything that didn’t get a laugh I blank out of my memory, forever.”
Have people genuinely told you that you look like Pat Butcher and the Milky Bar Kid and all the people that you made part of your act?
“I used to get heckled. Obviously it wasn’t like in Sainsbury’s ‘Have you got a Nectar card?’, ‘You look like Pat Butcher’.
“I do look like a lot of people. The reason I started that list was because I used to go out and start doing my jokes and people would start shouting ‘Oi, it’s Boris Johnson’ or ‘Oi, it’s Jack Swagger’ and all these people. So I used to go out and said ‘let’s get this out of the way and then crack on with the jokes’. Then it turned into a funny bit.
“It is very rare I get a name that I haven’t heard before. I had Natasha Bedingfield the other day, I’ve not heard of her for years.
“I’ve got an exclusive for you – I am Natasha Bedingfield. I’ve just had a career change.”
Go to Robbeckettcomedy.com
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