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Comedian and poet Rob Auton from Walthamstow wins Funniest Joke of Edinburgh Fringe 2013
He out-funnied countless comedians and was catapulted into the public eye on Tuesday when he won best joke at the Edinburgh Fringe.
But Walthamstow stand-up Rob Auton says it was all a fluke.
He is at the comedy festival for the second year with The Sky Show but didn’t even perform his one-liner “I heard a rumour that Cadbury is bringing out an oriental chocolate bar. Could be a Chinese Wispa,“ during his main act.
“I’m not really a gag merchant,“ says the 30-year-old, chatting to us in between a ‘manic’ round of media interviews, “I like to think it’s not even my best joke.
“I was just doing a ten minutes spot and threw out some one-liners.
“Out of all the hundreds of acts and thousands of jokes told, a judge for the award just happened to be there at the time. It was just incredibly lucky really.“
His wisecrack was one of 20 shortlisted by a group of comedy experts before winning 24 per cent of the public vote.
“I can’t even remember when I came up with it,“ says Rob “I might have been eating a chocolate bar as I do like Wispas. I remember I had a little laugh to myself when I thought it up and luckily other people thought it was funny as well.“
He became on overnight celebrity when news broke he had won the accolade, sponsored by television channel Dave.
“It felt great to win,“ he says, “my family and girlfriend are all proud.
“I found out a week ago, but it was all top secret until now.
“It’s all kicked off today. People have been tweeting me and I’ve been on TV and radio. It’s amazing really – completely bizarre but I’m enjoying it and have got to make the most of it.
“I have got lots of things I want to say and this gives me a platform.“
But the humble Londoner is not letting it go to his head.
“I wouldn’t call myself a celebrity. You have got to earn your stripes and I have got a few to earn.“
Even before his fame the short story author, who is part of London stand-up poetry group Bang Said the Gun, had attracted a celebrity fan.
“Scroobius Pip has been coming to Bang and came to see the show in Edinburgh,“ says Rob, “and has been a real flag bearer for me.“
Rob moved from York to Walthamstow eight years ago to work in advertising, but became disenchanted with the industry and left for a job at Cass Art in Soho selling paintbrushes and canvasses.
Then in June last year the funnyman, who can also count painting, photography and acting among his skills, quit that job to take his colour appreciating Yellow Show to Edinburgh.
It was a success and he followed it up this year with The Sky Show for ‘people who have seen the sky and enjoy looking up’.
“I like writing about things I like,“ he says. “It’s generally a mix of poetry, story-telling and stand-up.
“I love the English language and the way it is a bit like bad teeth, a little bit crooked, but you go with it anyway.“
He adds: “I find the market in Walthamstow funny. And conversations you hear in the pound shops. People say the funniest things there.“
- For those who couldn’t make it to Scotland, he’ll be performing The Sky Show on September 3 at Angel Comedy in Islington. Details: angelcomedy.co.uk He also performs every Thursday with Bang, in Great Dover Street, Southwark. Details: bangsaidthegun.com
Dave’s top ten funniest jokes from the Fringe Festival 2013
1. Rob Auton “I heard a rumour that Cadbury is bringing out an oriental chocolate bar. Could be a Chinese Wispa.“
2. Alex Horne “I used to work in a shoe-recycling shop. It was sole-destroying.“
3. Alfie Moore “I’m in a same-sex marriage… the sex is always the same.“
4. Tim Vine “My friend told me he was going to a fancy dress party as an Italian island. I said to him ‘Don’t be Sicily.’“
5. Gary Delaney “I can give you the cause of anaphylactic shock in a nutshell.“
6. Phil Wang “The Pope is a lot like Doctor Who. He never dies, just keeps being replaced by white men.“
7. Marcus Brigstocke “You know you are fat when you hug a child and it gets lost.“
8. Liam Williams “The universe implodes. No matter.“
9. Bobby Mair “I was adopted at birth and have never met my mum. That makes it very difficult to enjoy any lapdance.“
10. Chris Coltrane “The good thing about lending someone your time machine is that you basically get it back immediately.“