Rob Beckett

Rob Beckett

Finalist in So You Think You're Funny 2010.
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We've made having a tube stuck up your arse into art...

Rob Beckett and Romesh Ranganathan on the return of their Sky One series

Ahead of the second season of their Sky One series Rob & Romesh Vs., Mssrs Beckett and Ranganathan talk about the experiences they had experiencing basketball, ballet, cricket – and colonic irrigation.


This is your second trip together, how did it compare to the last series? 

Romesh: It was easier because I now know what Rob’s like to travel with… I mean it still surprised me. There are still new quirks and new levels of energy that you thought even he would be squashed down by, but he doesn’t seem to be. We were excited about doing the first series, but it was new. This one was different because we had so much fun on the last series, we knew what to expect, it’s just a proper laugh, you can’t believe it’s a job really. 

Rob: It was weird though because we didn’t know much about the activities this series, whereas boxing and DJing we were passionate about in series one. Basketball for example, I was completely new to, but I loved it, it was amazing. 

Did you do anything differently this series? 

Rob: Separate flights, which was something you insisted on, wasn’t it Romesh?

Romesh: Listen, I didn’t request that but I was delighted when it happened! 

One of Rob’s favourite things to do is, when we’re together on a flight, whenever I say anything, he’ll say to the staff on the flight "Oh sorry about him". He just makes it look like I’m being a prick regardless, even if I’m just asking for something reasonable like, "Is it possible to just get a Diet Coke?" 

The other thing he’ll do is, he’ll keep checking in on you to see if you’re going through the exact same emotions that he’s going through: "Are you feeling so hungry that it’s making you nervous?"'; "Are you feeling tired, but you’re frightened to go to sleep in case you’re tired when you get there?" It’s just constant updates! 

Why do you think you work well together?

Romesh: We complement each other as people. Rob’s attitude is often what I need to counteract and vice versa. So sometimes I can be a bit too negative about stuff and Rob gives me a pep talk and I think Rob is positive despite the complete lack of evidence that there’s any reason to be positive at all. I can often provide him with some much-needed realism. 

Which was your favourite topic this series?

Romesh: Basketball. I think it was, weirdly, kind of life-changing. Not in a deep way but in terms of, like, I’m obsessed with basketball now, I’ve got all the subscriptions, follow all of the games, I’ve set up my own NBA Basketball group… Having said all that, the experiences we had getting to work with the Birmingham Royal Ballet and with the cricket team, they’re such amazing experiences, that actually, we did feel lucky the whole way through

Rob: It’s such a dream, that’s why we try and humiliate ourselves with the colonic irrigation because otherwise I’d hate watching it, just looking at two people having the time of their lives. 

Romesh: The producers basically said, "look, you’ve had a great time, I need to see a mushroom coming out of you" 

Rob: That was my fault! When I had a meeting I said, "We need to make sure that we are doing stuff that other people wouldn’t want to do because otherwise it looks like a holiday, doesn’t it?" And yeah okay, we did go to LA to watch basketball, which is a dream, however, you can do that, but you’ve got to have a tube up your arse and be pumped full of water. Most people would say "no I’ll just save up." So, it makes it a bit more palatable I think. 

Romesh: Absolutely no justification for that to happen apart from our humiliation and setting fire to our own dignity. 

Rob: Dignity is overrated! Where has dignity ever got anyone? 

Romesh: That’s like your fucking catchphrase, that one. 

Rob: But what do you need dignity for? 

Romesh: Erm, to tell you not to have a colonic irrigation on television I guess. 

Rob: Why not? Who cares? 

Romesh: Listen, I’m glad people find it funny but do you know how hard we work on our acts and material trying to craft stuff, and then all you’ve got to do is stick a tube up your arse and a mushroom comes out… 

Rob: Because it’s us doing it Romesh. You could shove a tube up any old Grand Joe’s arse and a mushroom could come out, but people wouldn’t be as interested!

 Romesh: I get ya. We’ve made it art. 

Rob: We’ve made it art by sacrificing dignity Romesh: Yeah, you’ve totally changed your attitude to that Rob… 

What was your worst moment this series?

Romesh: The mushroom by a long stretch. Let me tell you something, none of that was put on for the cameras, if anything I was trying to tone it down for my embarrassment sake. 

I zoned out. It was so awful. But genuinely, the production team sat down with me and had a chat with me afterwards to sort of see if I was alright. It was so horrific. Awful. 

Rob: You really hated it. I didn’t like it, I found it quite uncomfortable to do and there were repercussions down the line with elasticity – let’s say that. What I felt was totally overshadowed with what kind of dark hell Romesh was going through. I’ve never seen him like that. He completely zoned out. Then he just sat there. And he couldn’t take it.

Rob Romesh Ballet

It turned out that Rob was quite good at ballet, how was that? 

Romesh: It’s horrendous because you suddenly realise that not only are you going to have to go through that experience but you’re going to have to go through that with a cocky Rob Beckett. After that training session, the swagger on this prick! Absolutely insane! 

Rob: Do you know what? I’ve always thought I’ve got the right body type for ballet, but I wasn’t born in the right family. I’m a bit like a Billy Elliot type… 

Romesh: The worst thing is, he’s not even rude about it, what he is, is patronising, to have somebody talk to you like they’ve mastered it, he’s just going to me "go on, go on, you can do it Rom!" I’ll accept that from the Grand Master or whatever he’s called but I’m not having it from somebody that got to grips with it 45 seconds before I did

Romesh: I don’t have a great arse compared to normal humans but male ballet dancers, their arses are just breathtaking – wholly breathtaking. 

Rob: You know on Bake Off when Prue Leith shows you how to do a Victoria sponge? So f***ing bulbous and fluffy and big? Incredible. You know like that? A big bastard on the lower back. 

Romesh: Yeah. And they look so muscular, I’m convinced they could write their names with them. They could write a memoir with their bums.

 Rob: If I was starving on a desert island enough to eat a human, I’d eat the arse of a ballet dancer. Is that a bit much? 

Romesh: No, I think that’s absolutely the thing you’d say about ballet. 


Rob Romesh basketball

Who is better at basketball?

Rob: No one!  We’re both terrible at it. There’s no comparison, even if one of us was better, you wouldn’t be able to gauge it. Awful! 

Romesh: No. And I was glad about that, because Rob is one of these people who when we come to do these challenges, it’s very much "we’re in this together" - until he has a sniff that he might be better than you at it, and then he’s just an absolute competitive monster… As soon as he shows any sort of natural ability the eyes change and it’s like "fuckin av it!" "oh, what’s that you’re struggling there a bit aren’t ya mate!" – he’s an absolute stone-cold bastard it’s unbelievable. 

Rob: But luckily we’re both awful at basketball!

How long were you in LA for and did you get a chance to check out the comedy scene? 

Romesh: One of the things about all comedians in LA is they are all working towards being in a film. In Britain you’ve got comedians that are just comedians but in LA you don’t really have that. They’re working on a script or they’re trying to get a part in some film. It is how you imagine, this sort of ambition to become famous,  so it’s a bit of a different culture. 

Rom Romesh cricket

In the cricket episode, it looked like Kevin Pietersen worked you quite hard, how was he to practice with? 

Rob: That was right scary. He’s a bigger boy, isn’t he? He’s like the epitome of a big, strong boy. About 6ft 6in, massive geezer, very charming, but just absolute bastard to deal with a bat and a ball. 

Romesh: I think because he’s grown up with cricket and it’s in his blood the idea that he’s got two adults that have no ability whatsoever, I think he found that offensive. And he sort of took on this demonic coach persona. It was a torrid afternoon. 

Rob: It really was! And the ball’s so hard.

Romesh: It’s ridiculous. In the future, if we forgot about cricket, you’d easily believe me if I told you that was a weapon. A cannonball. Because it is so painful when it makes any sort of contact with you. I can’t believe they have that in a sport. It’s ridiculous. 

Rob: I’d rather catch a knife. I was shit at catching. All I could think was, ‘Run away, run away, you don’t need that, you don’t need that ball. That ball means nothing.’ 

Was it nerve-racking doing the challenge in front of the Barmy Army? 

Rob: Oh yeah, they were singing "You’re just a shit James Corden" at me. 

Romesh: Which I can’t imagine James Corden’s happy about. 

Rob: Somehow, it’s even more offensive to him!

Rob & Romesh Vs series 2 starts Tuesday May 5 on Sky One and Now TV 

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Published: 23 Apr 2020

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