Rob Mulholland: Comedy Spotlight

He won Manchester's famed Beat the Frog competition in 2015, but reckons he could beat a rhino, too

Feature by Debs Marsden | 02 Nov 2016
  • Rob Mulholland

'Giant of comedy' might not be strictly accurate, but at 6’7” Rob Mulholland comes pretty close. He fills a stage with ease, and brims with a misplaced pride in his own torrid endeavours, somehow treading a knife-edge between genial and aggressive.

Mulholland’s acerbic and exquisitely phrased laments to the steady decline of his personal life provide an unenviable glimpse into experiences you never wanted to hear about in any detail. It’s hard to make ‘lovelorn and bitter’ an endearing character trait, so it’s testament to Rob’s likeability that he even vaguely manages.

With a plethora of competition wins under his belt, as well as his very own car, Rob is quickly becoming one of the North’s most sought-after middle spots. The best comedian in the world he may not be, but he’s getting very good at it indeed.

Influences:

"Wu-Tang Clan, Tesco Value Scotch, and The Krankies."

First gig:

"Two minutes above a pub in London in the first round of a competition. I did a bit about how chicken nuggets look like faces and included a pratfall. It was bad. But I got to the semi-final, because everyone in London is terrible at comedy."

Best gig:

"Performing at Harrogate Theatre was a big moment for me. It was an insanely exciting place when I visited as a child, and one of the most beautiful theatres in the country. Either that, or the time I got paid to tell a pub full of morons in Cheshire they were pricks."

Worst gig:

"My third gig was a charity gig in an Indian restaurant. I was the only act and they asked me to do half an hour. No one in the restaurant knew there was to be comedy and there wasn't a mic or a stage, so I was just a man in the corner shouting at strangers. After five minutes I was paused so they could take orders and when I resumed waiters kept pushing me out of their way to deliver food."

Circuit favourites in the North:

"Mick Ferry is the don. Liam Pickford could be better than any of us if he pulled his finger out of his fat, valium-filled bum. Dan Nightingale doesn't live in the North anymore, but he's such a natural comic."

Best heckle:

"All hecklers are cowardly dribblefucks who should have been drowned in a tin bath at birth like the intellectual runts of the litter they are. A man recently told me to not make any jokes about parents as he didn't have any. I responded, 'I don't know why you've not got any parents: I can only assume suicide.' He applauded. People are weird."

Aspirations:

"To never do another honest day's graft for the rest of my probably significantly shortened lifespan."

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing stand-up?

"I reckon I'd just try to get well into chemsex parties. They seem like a hoot, if you like that sort of thing."

If you could be haunted by anyone, who would it be and why?

"I'm already haunted by the ghosts of my terrible decisions in life."

What’s the largest animal you think you could beat in a fight? (No weapons.) 

"A white rhino, three pigs and half a giraffe. All at once. I'm hard as fuck, pal."

If you lived in medieval times what would you do for a living?

"I would die in a workhouse aged 11."

Question from past Spotlighter Jack Evans: Which videogame is your life most like?

"Donkey Kong. Because I'm too hard and only nerds touch me nowadays."


Rob Mulholland is at Moorside Cricket Club, Manchester, 6 Nov; Hot Water Comedy Club at the Holiday Inn, Liverpool, 11 Nov; and The Comedy Store, Manchester, 13 Nov. For news of more gigs, find him on Twitter: @robmulholland