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British comedian Rob Auton stopped shaving or cutting his hair in September 2016. Now sporting an impressive (and distinctly unruly) beard, Auton’s decision to abstain from grooming is the subject of his latest stand-up show, The Hair Show.


With a fondness for subjects steeped in the mundane (“I want to explore subjects that people are familiar with but might not pay much attention to”), Auton’s previous shows have covered themes including sleep, the sky, faces, and even the colour yellow. The Hair Show is no different, with Auton’s hair musings veering from the seemingly mundane (why does our eyebrow hair only grow to a certain length?) to the downright bizarre (if I stick my beard in the ground for long enough, will it take root?)

Now approaching the final dates of his tour, Auton plans to cut his hair – but only once he has performed the show for the last time. We caught up with him to discuss his hair experience so far.

“You know when you look in the mirror and you think ‘oh I better have a shave?’ Well I’ve had that for 19 months now and I do not recommend it for self confidence.”
Rob Auton

What inspired you to write a show dedicated solely to hair?
Every time I choose a theme for a show I try to pick a subject that I haven’t paid much attention to before. I wanted to put hair under my own microscope and try to discover how I really feel about it. What does hair mean to me? How does it make me feel? What is it to me? Why have I got it? Do I like having it?

What initially drew you to this subject?
I’d had some bad experiences at the hairdressers and when I put the photographs of the bad haircuts up on Facebook I realised that hair is something people feel quite strongly towards. There’s something really odd and unnerving about the fact that we have hair. It makes me think about what I am, and about what else has hair growing out of them, like pigs and orangutans. I want to explore subjects that people are familiar with but might not pay much attention to. There is so much hair everywhere in the world that it becomes normal quite quickly, but imagine if it was rare to have hair.



You have entirely abstained from shaving or cutting your hair since September 2016. How do you think this shaped the show?
I was surprised at just how much it shaped the show. Interactions with my parents about my appearance are quite a big part of it. The show almost became a safe place for me to talk about my hair and how people react to me looking like I do. If I hadn’t committed to growing my hair and beard I wouldn’t have been able to articulate how it feels to look like you’ve checked out.

Did any experiences in particular stick with you?
Recently I was standing on an Underground train as it pulled into Bank station. The doors opened, a lady with a child saw me, quite loudly said “not this one”, took the child by the hand and quickly boarded the next carriage.


Rob Auton’s The Hair Show runs across the UK until mid-May. See the full tour schedule and tickets here His book Take Hair can be found here

Interview Alex Mascolo
Images Julian Ward Website julianward.co.uk
Special Thanks Rob Auton


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