Interview with John-Luke Roberts

I interviewed writer and comedian John-Luke Roberts about his upcoming show "A World Just Like Our Own, But…”. 

Interview with John-Luke Roberts

Could you introduce yourself and your show?

I’m John-Luke Roberts, a clown-adjacent writer, performer, comedian, and public intellectual. My show “A World Just Like Our Own, But…” is a stupid show about parallel worlds (which is secretly a show about how to deal with life when it doesn’t turn out as you’d expected).

What is your favourite moment in a performance that you’ve watched?

It was actually the reveal of a bit of set design in the Young Vic’s production of the musical Fun Home. It made me gasp, but it’s fairly hard to describe. I am nevertheless going to go to pains to describe it for you. Through the first part of the play, we’ve seen the young protagonist Alison Bechdel grow up in a funeral home - the building has always been represented by synecdochic bits of furniture here and there. Then, the undergraduate Alison returns home with her girlfriend, and they lift up the front of the set to reveal the whole interior of her childhood home naturalistically built. It captured in one moment the weird dissociation of returning home after going away, and seeing it for the first time through somebody else’s eyes. And the really brave thing about it - they can’t have known it would work until they’d built the whole thing.

How would you describe your style of performance?

Sensible silly, or smart-casual odd.

Tell us about the way you use your life as inspiration for your comedy shows, in the past and in the present.

I find it pretty hard not to let what’s going on in my life influence what I’m making my shows about. Sometimes it’s unconscious, and I’ll write something, and perform it, and then have a penny-drop moment when I realise what I didn’t know I was talking about. Sometimes it’s conscious - when my dad died, I made a show about him six months later, where I dressed up as him and performed him as a deranged insult comic. In retrospect, I was lucky that helped my grieving process, and let me work through a lot of the anger I had towards him. It could have gone terribly. But I’d say the big emotional stuff from my life drives my shows, rather than the trivia.

With this show I had been playing around with the ideas of parallel worlds in for a while, without really knowing what the heart of the show was. I was going to be moving with my spouse to America, so I thought that that huge life change might be a good thing to use the idea of parallel universes to talk about. Then, a month before my first performance at the Edinburgh Fringe, my spouse told me they wanted a divorce. That was all I could think about, and all I could write about, so the show became about that.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in developing this show?

Trying to put a show together during the first tremors of grief from the end of my marriage, and trying to put a show together which wouldn’t actively make that grief worse. Now, I’m pretty proud of how I pulled that off. I made a show which looked after me pretty well, and people would stop me after the show to tell me it had helped them similarly. That meant the world.

Also, I should stress, the show is very much a silly comedy show.

What advice would you give to someone looking to follow in your footsteps? Was there something you wish you’d been told when you were starting out?

Make a lot of things, and learn to finish them. The best way to get better and to find your work’s voice is to keep on doing it until you know how to make stuff that looks like it looks in your head.

Where can people find you online?

My twitter is @jlukeroberts and my instagram is @jlukeroberts, and my website is

John-Luke Roberts brings his new show 'A World Just Like Our Own...But' to Soho Theatre from 13th to 15th Feb. Tickets available at


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