In The Hot Seat with Stand-up Comedian Rob Rouse24. 02. 2021
Rob Rouse is from Mansfield and trained as a geography teacher before getting into comedy. After realising that teaching wasn't for him, he moved to London to pursue a career in stand-up. He won Channel Four's 'So You Think You're Funny' at the Edinburgh Festival in 1998. He is now performs at major venues across the country.
Rob is married to author, Helen Rutter (read her interview here) and lives in the Peak District with their two children and 2 dogs.
Describe your personal style:
I’d go for ‘Plasterer Chic’ - basically all of my clothes have been destroyed in lockdown, doing various DIY tasks). My kids have just described my personal style as “Embarrassing” and “Ripped and dusty”. They have so much to learn about fashion.
For special occasions over the last year, I’ve worn a velour ellesse tracksuit, which is the most comfortable thing I’ve ever worn. The lady who organised the photoshoot for this brought me a new one, I think, in order to bamboozle me into being calm for the day. It is rich black velour and has gold piping and is now the greatest piece of clothing in my wardrobe. I parade around the house in it and feel like an absolute Prince who’s just found a fiver down the back of the sofa.
What was the first item of clothing you ever bought for yourself?
Pants that weren’t Y-fronts.
Any faux-pas you'd rather forget…?
Many years ago a photographer friend of my parents took some pictures of me and my sister for their golden wedding anniversary. I was about 18/19 at the time, and decided a big white grandad shirt with a rust coloured waistcoat (open of course) was the way to go. We posed in some woods over various fence posts and logs and my wife Helen finds them absolutely hysterical. I’m still traumatised and I think that’s why the nice lady brought me the tracksuit.
Tell us about the oldest item in your wardrobe:
Like most male models, it would have to be underpants. There’s a couple of pairs that Helen keeps trying to throw out if she finds them in the dryer, so I have to be on guard if she’s emptying it. Something happens to the cotton in old pants where it can become incredibly soft and smooth like silk, however this stage is very close to the fabric ‘fully perishing’ or becoming ‘detached from the waistband’ so the extra comfort is always laden with a dollop of anxiety.
What's the most expensive thing you've ever bought, clothing-wise?
This will come as shock to many of you, but I’ve never really spent very much on clothes. I know! The most expensive thing I’ve ever bought was pair of Oliver Sweeney Brougue boots, which I wore solidly for about 6 years, and they’re still going strong. Other than that it would be motorcycle leathers which you can’t scrimp on.
This season you'll be wearing...
Well, if it’s for best, it’ll be the new black velour tracksuit with gold piping that the nice lady gave me. And if not, them the black velour tracksuit with green and yellow piping, which the nice lady gave me. Above Rob wears Eric from the Yogi x Hikerdelic Collaboration.
Which Yogi shoes will you be adding to your Spring/Summer wardrobe?
Well, I nabbed a very comfy pair of Caden (below) from the shoot, which my daughter calls, “The Croissants” they are unbelievably comfy just like slippers. I’ve got pair of brown Winstone boots that go with are great too.
How do you style your Yogi shoes?
I find them very adaptable. Velour tracksuit (obviously), jeans, possibly a hi-tech walking trouser (living in the peak district) but If I’m travelling down to Shoreditch I’d go for an eye-wateringly high cut-off denim short. It all ‘just works’.
Yogi was born in the 90s, what were you doing, what were you wearing and what were you listening to back in the day?
I was a student listening to and eating ‘Grunge’, then I trained to be a Geography teacher, panicked at the prospect of becoming one and barrel-rolled out and went to London to try and become a comedian.
Who are your style heroes? (past and present)
Well, the nice lady who gives me tracksuits ALWAYS looks very stylish. I always though Vic and Bob looked stylish too, whilst clearly having a great time.
Perhaps people look good in anything if they look happy?
What fragrance do you wear?
‘The intense and overwhelming musk of man’ I’ve been working on it in lock-down
When did first realise you were great at making people laugh?
Well, that’s a very lovely thing to say. It’s more of a compulsion to want to try and make people laugh, that’s how I’d describe it. I’d be trying to do that whatever I ended up doing in life. I’ve always thought it was a good way of telling people you like them.
What was your first gig?
I was in a play when I was in teacher training. The set fell down and I was the only one onstage. So I just started talking about it as I helped the stage hands put it all back together, so that little door of it being a possibility opened up to me by chance.
Tell us your favourite joke:
My dog Ron, farting in his sleep so loud it wakes him up and then barking at it like he’s under attack would be hard to beat.
My favourite jokes are ones that happen in the wild, which I think is proof that it’s a state that we’re meant to live in
How has lockdown affected you?
On one hand it has completely destroyed my career as I knew it for the last 20 years or so! On the other hand, it’s forced me to find completely new ways of being creative and being a comedian. I’ve started posting sketches and comedy films and songs online every day Mon-Friday on patreon.com/robrouse There’s about 9 months worth on there now and people can join and regardless of how much they pay they can access all of it. It’s been one of the most productive periods I’ve ever had. One day, we’ll all be allowed in rooms together again and it’ll be amazing, but I’m loving working online and will keep doing it once things open up again. This has been a tough time for so many people in so many different ways and it’s completely out of our control. All I can ever do, is see what daft idea pops into my head and just make the next thing.
To watch bon's comedy special, Funny in Real Life, or listen to Rob and Helen's Date Night Podcast, head here. Follow Rob on Instagram here, Twitter here and find his website here.
Shop the Yogi Footwear Men's Collection here.