CLASS clowns have nothing on teacher Rob Mitchell because the Grappenhall resident is the biggest joker of them all.

By day, the 46-year-old leads design and technology classes but by night and at weekends he is an award-winning comedian.

Rob started doing stand-up almost six years ago. At first he was just going to do one show to tick it off his bucket list.


But everything changed when he found he had a knack for it.

He said: “It was one of those things where I’d turned 40 and it was something I always wanted to do.

“The plan was to do one gig and the only person I told at the time was my wife. I didn’t want anyone to know – it was just something I was doing for myself.

Rob chose a ‘gong show’ in Derby so there would be no chance of anyone he knew being in the crowd. The trial by fire sees would-be comedians given five minutes to impress three judges who can ‘gong them’ off stage at any moment if they do not like their set.

He said: “When I was about to walk in I thought: ‘Who do I think I am? This is ridiculous’.

“Another act took me under his wing and I think if he hadn’t I might have gone back to the car and gone home.

“If I’d have done that I probably wouldn’t have put myself through that again and never done it.”


It was a good job that Rob stayed because he won the competition.

He added: “So I got more gigs after that and it’s kind of snowballed into something I do quite regularly now at quite a good level.”

Accolades came thick and fast after that.

Rob, who has lived in Warrington for 18 years, was runner-up for Hot Water Comedy’s New Act of the Year 2015 and in 2018 he was Bury Met’s New Comedian of the Year and Telford-based Teknicolour Smoof’s Performer of the Year.

He has also supported the likes of Gary Delaney and Tom Stade – impressing his students in the process.


Rob said: “It’s quite surprising how many professional comedians used to be teachers such as Frank Skinner.

“I think it lends itself doesn’t it? Standing in front of pupils and dealing with that. It’s very similar to a comedy night where you’re dealing with the audience.

“I think I was quite good at the start because of the teaching but I also think I’ve become a better teacher by doing the comedy because I’ve become more confident in dealing with issues.

“The students think it’s great, they really like it. They tell me jokes and say: ‘You can use that one’. Talking to the kids is interesting because a lot of them would like to do stand-up as well and they’re asking how you go about it.

“My son Hayden is 10 and is naturally funny. He already wants to do it so it’s nice for him to see I’ve got up and done it.

“I’ve always been the kind of teacher who has a bit of a laugh and a joke with the pupils.

“I think you get the best out of them that way. When I was at school I loved the teachers you could have a chat with.

“I’ve always been like that. Before I was a teacher I was bricklayer and there was always building site banter and that kind of thing.”


Now Rob, dad to Hayden, 10, and Heidi, 12, has embarked on his first headline tour called My Family and Other Exaggerations.

The north west shows aim to give friends and family the chance to see Rob’s ‘second life’ for themselves.

He added: “As the show is largely about my family, I am performing in towns where I have relatives, and raising money at each show for a different charity that is in someway connected to my family.

“It’s been a great experience. I’ve had a lot of people coming along to support me.”

The tour culminates with a show at The Brindley in Runcorn on February 28 and then Rob hopes to take the material to Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August.


Rob, who grew up watching comedians like Dave Allen and Morecambe and Wise with his dad John, said: “My family are the butt of the joke a lot of the time and they’re taking it really well.

“I think my mum is really proud of me being up on stage and my dad is really into comedy – he’s the one who got me into it. All we’d watch when I was younger was comedians and sitcoms.

“He loves stand-up but he’s very quiet and would never get up and do it so he’s very proud and my parents get that it’s a joke.

“My mum Brenda used to be a dinner lady at my school so there’s lots of jokes about that. I also talk about my kids and about teaching.”

For his first year as a stand-up, Rob kept his new passion a secret so it still feels strange when there are lots of loved ones within his glance.

He added: “It’s a completely different feeling when you’ve got a lot of friends and family in the crowd because they’re dead supportive. It changes the dynamic completely. Growing up, I hated being the centre of attention so it was very difficult at first. I still get really nervous before a gig but when it goes well the adrenaline and the kick you get out of it instantly makes you want to do it again.”

Rob Mitchell’s My Family and Other Exaggerations is at The Brindley on February 28. Visit