John Robins (comedian)

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John Robins
Birth nameJohn Michael David Robins
Born (1982-05-04) 4 May 1982 (age 41)
Bristol, England
MediumRadio, stand-up, television
Alma materSt Anne's College, Oxford
Years active2005–present
GenresObservational comedy Edit this at Wikidata

John Michael David Robins (born 4 May 1982)[1][2] is an English stand-up comedian and radio presenter.

Early life[edit]

Robins was born[2] and grew up in Bristol and was educated at The Castle School in Thornbury, Gloucestershire[3] and at St Anne's College, Oxford,[4] where he read English, having reapplied to Oxford after an initial unsuccessful application the previous year.

After graduating from Oxford, Robins returned to Bristol, where in 2006, he shared a flat with fellow comedians Jon Richardson, Russell Howard and Mark Olver.[5][6]


Robins began performing comedy in 2005, and reached the semi-finals of the So You Think You're Funny competition at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In 2007, he participated in the "Comedy Zone" showcase at the festival.[1]

Robins appeared both as guest and as co-presenter on both The Russell Howard Show and The Jon Richardson Show on BBC Radio 6 Music (2007–2010).[7]

In 2011, Robins performed stand-up on Russell Howard's Good News.[8] On television he has also appeared on Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled (twice, plus the unaired pilot), Live at the Apollo, Mock the Week, Live from the BBC, Celebrity Deal or No Deal with Sarah Millican and on the 2013 Christmas mash-up of 8 Out of 10 Cats and Deal or No Deal.

Robins appeared on several radio programmes, including Matt Forde's Talksport show, BBC Radio 4's Word of Mouth and BBC Radio Wales's What's the Story?[9][10]

In February 2014, he started hosting the Elis James and John Robins show on XFM (now Radio X) with fellow comedian Elis James. In August 2014, the show moved to Saturdays, and was broadcast weekly 1-4 pm.[11] It is also a popular podcast with over 12 million downloads as of July 2017.[12]

Robins performed in New Zealand for the first time in May 2014 during the NZ International Comedy Festival, with the show Where Is My Mind?[13][14]

In the second half of 2016, Robins embarked on a tour show with co-host Elis James called The Elis James and John Robins Experience.[15]

Robins has performed a solo show at the Edinburgh Festival every year between 2009 and 2015,[16] starting with Skinny Love.[17] His subsequent shows were Nomadic Revery (2010), Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven (2011), Incredible Scenes (2012), Where Is My Mind? (2013),[18] This Tornado Loves You (2014) and Speakeasy (2015).[19] All shows were also toured around the UK. He has also performed at the Machynlleth Comedy Festival and the Leicester Comedy Festival.

In August 2017, Robins won (jointly with Hannah Gadsby) the Edinburgh Comedy Award for his show that year, The Darkness of Robins, which focused on the breakdown of his relationship with comedian Sara Pascoe and his personal life after the break-up. It was the first time he had been nominated for the award.[20] The show was later filmed by the BBC and eventually made available to watch on Netflix.

In June 2018, it was announced that Robins would host a game show for Dave entitled Beat the Internet.[21], co-presented with fellow comic Sunil Patel. The show ran for 20 episodes and was not renewed for a second series.[22] Also that year Robins and James published a book The Holy Vible.[23]

In February 2019 Robins launched a YouTube channel called Bad Golf with friend and fellow comedian Alex Horne. As of November 2021, they have more than 50,000 subscribers.[24] Following the popularity of the channel, Robins received a kit sponsorship, with Puma's golf brand Cobra providing him with new clubs, bag and clothing.

After five years broadcasting on Radio X (previously XFM), the Elis James and John Robins show aired its final episode on the station on Saturday 30 March 2019. On 2 April 2019, Robins announced that he and Elis James would be hosting a new show on BBC Radio 5 Live. The BBC show has been broadcast since 31 May 2019, and all episodes are downloadable as podcasts.

Robins returned to Edinburgh in 2019 with the show Hot Shame.[25] In October 2019 Elis and John launched a new podcast How Do You Cope?...with Elis and John on BBC Radio 5 Live.[26] It features Elis and John talking to celebrities about mental health issues they have faced.

Robins launched a podcast in April 2021, The Moon Under Water, with fellow comedian and friend Robin Allender. In each episode a guest chats about their dream pub.[27] The pair left the podcast in 2023 and were replaced as "landlord" by Robbie Knox.

In 2023 Robins presented his show Howl at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, performing it and a Work in Progress show daily during the month of the festival. He then toured the show Howl, constructed of both shows, discussing recent changes in his life and his new sobriety.[28][29]

Robins is a contestant on the seventeenth series of the Channel 4 show Taskmaster which launched in March, 2024.[30]

Awards and accolades[edit]

Personal life[edit]

In 2012, Robins moved to London.[5]

Robins has described himself as "broadly vegan".[35] He has also described himself as left-wing, and admires socialist Labour Party politicians Tony Benn and Dennis Skinner, though he has since clarified that he does not support far-left politics.[36][37] He opposes Brexit.[38]

Robins was for several years in a relationship with fellow comedian Sara Pascoe.[39] They split in 2016, with both using their experience of the break-up and its consequences to create successful Edinburgh Fringe shows, Robins' winning the 2017 Edinburgh Comedy Award.

Starting in 2018, he was in a relationship with fashion designer Coco Fennell, sister of actress Emerald Fennell and daughter of jewellery designer Theo Fennell.[40] Robins and Fennell became engaged in 2019.[41] Robins confirmed on his Radio 5 Live show in December 2021 that the couple had split.[42]

Robins is a keen golfer and posts regularly on YouTube under the Bad Golf channel. He is also an experienced board game player, and once finished 11th in the British national Catan championships.[43]

Robins has been sober since November 2022.[44]


  1. ^ a b John's Twitter. Retrieved 20 May 2022
  2. ^ a b General Register Office; United Kingdom; Reference: Volume 22, Page 1473
  3. ^ "Where Is My Mind? Show Recording". John Robins on Bandcamp.
  4. ^ Allender, Robin. "How Do You Cope? Fifth Week Blues and Beyond: John Robins in Conversation with Robin Allender". St Anne's College, Oxford. Retrieved 22 August 2022.
  5. ^ a b "John Robins 2013 Interview". InterMission Bristol. Archived from the original on 17 May 2014. Retrieved 18 March 2014.
  6. ^ "Jon Richardson: A Little Bit OCD". Channel 4. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
  7. ^ "Jon Richardson / John Robins – Pickled Cabbage Poem". YouTube. 27 February 2011.
  8. ^ "Behind the joke: Katherine Ryan, Simon Evans and John Robins dissect their comedy". The Guardian. 18 February 2014.
  9. ^ "BBC Radio Wales - What's the Story?". BBC. Retrieved 9 January 2019.
  10. ^ "What's the Story?, Series 6, Episode 4". BBC. 27 April 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
  11. ^ "Elis James and John Robins - Radio X". XFM. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  12. ^ @RadioX (12 August 2017). "They've done it! The elusive 12.6 million mark! Thanks everyone - get the podcast here…" (Tweet). Retrieved 9 January 2019 – via Twitter.
  13. ^ "2014 NZ International Comedy Festival show page". 23 April 2014. Archived from the original on 19 May 2014.
  14. ^ "Profile at The Classic Comedy Network New Zealand". Archived from the original on 10 April 2014. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
  15. ^ "The Elis James and John Robins Experience 2018". Retrieved 9 January 2019.
  16. ^ "2013 Interview with The Ripple". 7 February 2014. Archived from the original on 7 February 2014. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
  17. ^ "Comedy review: John Robins – Skinny Love". The Scotsman. 17 August 2009.
  18. ^ Julian Hall (27 August 2013). "Edinburgh 2013: John Robins: Where Is My Mind? – Reviews – Comedy". The Independent. Archived from the original on 13 June 2022.
  19. ^ "John Robins: Speakeasy | Comedy | Edinburgh Festival Fringe". Archived from the original on 6 June 2015. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  20. ^ Vanessa Thorpe (26 August 2017). "Edinburgh festival fringe comedy award shared for first time". The Guardian.
  21. ^ "John Robins turns game show host : News 2018 : Chortle : The UK Comedy Guide". Chortle.
  22. ^ "Beat the Internet". Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  23. ^ "News: New Podcast From John Robins To Celebrate Pubs As They Reopen". Beyond The Joke. 28 March 2021. Retrieved 4 November 2021.
  24. ^ This is Bad Golf with John Robins and Alex Horne!, retrieved 19 April 2021
  25. ^ Brian Logan (4 August 2019). "John Robins review – dating and DIY from standup's funniest fall-guy". The Guardian.
  26. ^ "How Do You Cope?... with Elis and John". BBC. 24 December 2019. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  27. ^ Bennett, Steve. "John Robins launches pub podcast : News 2021 : Chortle : The UK Comedy Guide". Retrieved 22 February 2023.
  28. ^ Devereux, Callum (27 August 2023). "Fringe 2023: John Robins – Howl". The Student.
  29. ^ Logan, Brian (17 August 2023). "John Robins: 'I don't agree with what I wrote when I wasn't well … But it's really funny'". The Guardian.
  30. ^ "Taskmaster season 17: Release date, cast and latest news". Radio Times. Retrieved 29 March 2024.
  31. ^ "Chortle awards 2015: Watch the highlights". Chortle. 18 March 2015.
  32. ^ "Who won at the Chortle Awards 2017". Chorlte. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  33. ^ Guide, British Comedy (5 March 2020). "Elis James and John Robins win radio award". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 22 February 2023.
  34. ^ "BPG Awards 2021: winners revealed". Broadcasting Press Guild. 12 March 2021. Retrieved 22 February 2023.
  35. ^ Michael Hogan (21 January 2018). "John Robins: 'Men need to be honest with themselves'". The Guardian.
  36. ^ "'Elis James and John Robins, Episode 65: Hungover Elis, Public Tellings Off & Mark Lawrenson Swearing" (Podcast). 8 May 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2020.
  37. ^ PADDY IS REVEALED! | Wycombe Par 3 Back 9 | Season 3 R20. 23 August 2022. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  38. ^ "'Elis James and John Robins, Episode 123: Lucky Shirts, Ironing Boards and Reasons to be Cheerful" (Podcast). 25 June 2016. Retrieved 6 September 2020.[permanent dead link]
  39. ^ "A right pair of jokers: The secrets of comedy couples". The Independent. 31 July 2015. Archived from the original on 13 June 2022.
  40. ^ Gordon, Naomi (25 October 2018). "Who is Emerald Fennell, the actress playing Camilla in The Crown's season 3?". Harper's BAZAAR. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  41. ^ John Robins (26 February 2019). "My top proposal tip: Forget Van Morrison and pretend you're going to sh*t yourself". Metro.
  42. ^ "BBC Radio 5 live - Elis James and John Robins, #189 - Throuple Trouble, Big Sprout and Chip Bread". BBC. Retrieved 17 December 2021.
  43. ^ @nomadicrevery (28 April 2020). "Good question! No, but I did come 11th in the Uk Settlers Of Catan Championships a few years back #Scrabble…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  44. ^ How Do You Cope? …with Elis and John - S4 Stressed Elis and Sober John: ‘It was like the last light got switched off’

External links[edit]