Robert White is the hilarious stand up comedian who first came to the general public’s attention on Britain’s Got Talent, where he was as open about his Aspergers as he was about being gay. He’s now in the middle of The Tank Top Tour and is at Leicester Square Theatre next Wednesday (13 Mar). Dave Cross had a catch up to talk about everything but tank tops.
Hi Robert, how is the tour going?
So far it’s a really fun experience with some crazy times along the way.
Is it possible to sum up what we can expect in the shows?
You’ll see jokes and songs and rude stuff and silly stuff and a load of other stuff besides. Come along and see!
Does it change from night to night?
Yes, it does change from night to night according to the audience, although I do have an actual show planned as well. These are all mixed up and jumbled together to make an end product.
How was the whole Britain’s Got Talent experience for you?
It was such an exciting rollercoaster which is still going with many opportunities, challenges, thrills and spills along the way. I found comedy because I failed or struggled at every job and just wanted a place where I fitted in – comedy was that. It is utterly ridiculous to me in some respects, but it’s also very humbling that just by being who I am, and by finding a place where I fit in, I would become an example to other people on the same kind of journey. Who would have thought that silly jokes and improvising rude songs would make a parent cry because I’m an inspiration to their kids?
You’ve been very open about your Aspergers and other conditions, was it important to you to include this aspect of your life in the shows?
I have to because these things are me and they explain what I’m like on stage and how I am, so they are there whether I want them to be or not. That said I do go into more detail to explain things and get across some basic aspects whilst always attempting to maintain one foot in the world of comedy. One day I hope people are just people and that the things which seem so peculiar and unusual now are utterly normal.
I think a lot of LGBT people can relate to your stories of growing up gay, coming out, dates, what kind of reaction have you had to these stories from the LGBT community?
The LGBT community have supported me at many shows and I had very kind words from them. My show touches on being gay and uses my sexuality in various ways as a hook to hang things on and I think that this is something which has been appreciated by those coming to see me. I suppose being openly gay and a person with other clear differences – autism being the most obvious one, I’m adding to the ever increasing diversity of the LGBTQ+ community itself. To see members of my audience with disabilities sitting on the front row is one thing, because they now feel comfortable that there is a place and a show for them. For me to then make a joke about both of us and our unique situations, without being at either of our expense takes the inclusivity up to a new level.
Robert White’s The Tank Top Tour at the Leicester Square Theatre on Wednesday 13th March. Tickets from leicestersquaretheatre.com.