Rob Auton

Rob Auton

Rob Auton, from York, started comedy in 2008 and five years later won the Dave funniest joke of the Edinburgh Fringe competition for his gag: 'I heard a rumour that Cadbury is bringing out an oriental chocolate bar. Could be a Chinese Wispa'
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Rob Auton: The Crowd Show

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

In this tender response to the isolation of lockdown, Rob Auton – the king of stand-up profundity – offers a touching paean to the joy of crowds.

On the face of it, he's not someone who you’d expect to be a fan of people in large numbers, coming across as socially reserved. Indeed, his quiet, shuffling, slightly uncomfortable presence might lead you to ask why he puts himself through the scrutiny of performing in front of an audience at all. A question to which he has an excellent answer and which brings the show to an affecting, soul-warming conclusion.

Before that comes an hour of affable, low-key and mildly shambolic comedy, captivating spoken word and awkward audience interaction. Of course a show with this title has to include some crowd work, which starts with a messy mass participation game of rock, scissors, paper which – apart from the new name he gives it – steals a rather too familiar World War Two meme for its comedy. Much more originally, he asks some very niche questions of the room, and makes everyone feel special by declaring the entire venue the VIP area. 

After taking to the stage with an implausibly weighty sheath of notes, Auton explains that he’ll be taking the format of the show from an online primer in public speaking, which he googled before making the groom’s speech at his recent wedding.

He takes a wry, dry approach to its advice, which provides an unsteady framework for quirky, whimsical musings on his ‘everyone needs everyone’ message – even if he admits he often has to fight his instincts  to retreat into his own world. 

It’s very loose, and Auton delivers in a lax style to match, often wandering semi-distractedly off-mic. Some of the material feels like chewing the fat, but then he alights on a thoughtful idea or poetic turn of phases that flutters beautifully into the ether and causes the audience to reflect on their relationship with other people in the abstract.

However, it’s the last few minutes that make The Crowd Show, as, speaking over an emotive soundtrack, Auton gives a paradoxically downbeat but uplifting reminder that people are social creatures who need to get together, even if sometimes they think they don’t. 

It’ll give you a nice rosy feeling inside to last until you next encounter a far-too-rowdy crowd in the street – which could be a matter of minutes, given we’re in Edinburgh during the festival.

Rob Auton: The Crowd Show is on at Assembly George Square at 2.50pm

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Published: 8 Aug 2022

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Past Shows

Edinburgh Fringe 2012

Rob Auton: The Yellow Show


Edinburgh Fringe 2013

Rob Auton: The Sky Show


Edinburgh Fringe 2014

Rob Auton: The Face Show


Edinburgh Fringe 2015

Rob Auton: The Water Show


Edinburgh Fringe 2017

Rob Auton: The Hair Show


Edinburgh Fringe 2018

Rob Auton: The Talk Show


Edinburgh Fringe 2022

Rob Auton: The Crowd Show


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