From school to fool

Rob Rouse
Rob Rouse
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ROB Rouse regularly performs standup in front of hundreds of people. He is the star of seriously successful TV shows The Friday Night Project, Grownups and Eight Out Of Ten Cats. And he once taught geography at High Storrs School – “it was more like crowd control,” he notes.

But next month the Hope Valley comedian will face perhaps his biggest challenge yet.

The Sheffield University geography graduate will walk non-stop 100km around the Yorkshire Dales. That’s the equivalent of two and half marathons and climbing Ben Nevis and Snowdon. All in aid of Oxfam.

“Don’t remind me,” he says. “I think I was having a mid-life crisis when I agreed to do it.

“I did it in 2009 but I was better prepared then. I got an injury I trained so hard.

“Now I’m just getting to an age where I almost want to prove to myself I can still do these feats of endurance.”

Rob Rouse is 36-years-old – “but say I look younger in case a casting director is reading,” he says. “I have good skin.”

He also has a good standup routine, and one he has been honing for 13 years.

And it all began because he wanted to impress girls.

“When I was at uni I had a pretty bad break-up and I decided the way to meet someone was by joining a drama group,” he explains.

“I remember I played Harry Horner in an adaptation of The Country Wife at the Drama Studio in Glossop Road. The set started falling down while I was on stage and I had to improvise, and people were laughing at what I was saying, and I thought ‘This is all right’.”

Some time later in 1998, while working by day as a supply teacher around the city, friends persuaded him to do a stand-up routine for a charity gig.

“It was at the Fox and Duck in Broomhill,” he says. “And that night something just clicked.

“I decided to move to London, sleep on couches and try and be a stand-up.”

There he built his reputation and within a few months had won the prestigious So You Think You’re Funny award at the Edinburgh Festival – a prize previously claimed by Peter Kay.

He toured the country (“it’s rock n roll crazy,” he says, “you get to sit in a car all day listening to Radio 4”), did more TV work and won more plaudits, working with the likes of Jimmy Carr, Toby Foster and Jon Richardson.

Now – with a new series of The Sunday Night Project in the pipeline and his own sit-com script being turned into a pilot – he’a proper bona fide celebrity comedian.

“I’m never going to be the guy you read about snorting cocaine off a model’s back at a Hugh Hefner party,” says the father-of-one, who moved back to the area, to the Hope Valley, last year. “But it’s nice to feel you’ve achieved something.”

And the next achievement? That monster walk in aid of Oxfam on June 4. To sponsor him visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/robrouse

Stand-up wise, Rob performs at Sheffield City Hall on June 7.