It's time to ink big as Rhod Gilbert flashes his Battenberg Tattoo for full 2012 UK tour

Posted: 5th December 2011
Rhod Gilbert

It would be all too easy to tiresomely mention other successful Welsh comedians whilst discussing Rhod Gilbert. So I will. Max Boyce was so overtly patriotic that if you had pricked his finger, he'd have bled red dragons. Harry Secombe utilized his powerful voice to sing, chat and Goon his way through decades of ground-breaking comedy. Rob Brydon plays the unassuming wide-eyed softly-spoken card rather well - in complete contrast to the vociferous Mr Gilbert.

A well-chiselled tower of Welsh grit and gruff, Rhod Gilbert's profile has increased considerably since his early TV appearances on Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow and Live at the Apollo. The BBC liked him so much that they commissioned him to appear in one of those 'non-aspirational' lifestyle swap programmes. Cunningly tagged as 'Rhod Gilbert's Work Experience', each of the four programmes featured our man working as a hairdresser, binman, soldier and a parent. His most recent show is 'Ask Rhod Gilbert', which stars his buddy and occasional comedy ally, Greg Davies.

But it's his stand-up that has captured the imagination, not least for his show's titles. You'd surely be tempted to see him perform "Rhod Gilbert and the Award-Winning Mince Pie" or, even better, "Rhod Gilbert and the Cat that Looked Like Nicholas Lyndhurst" (which is hilarious in itself - it could also have been subtitled, "Rhodney, You Perlonker!").

His 2012 tour is also blessed with a cracking moniker - "The Man with the Flaming Battenberg Tattoo" . Y'see, our Rhod has allegedly mellowed out a bit. Rather than rant and rave and rail against the injustices of this world, he's now looking for love and what better way to impress the ladies than to have a shoulder tattoo done in homage to that most misunderstood of cakes - the check-patterned Battenberg. Rather you than me, Rhod. Jaffa cakes every time.

The extensive jaunt kicks off in Carlisle on 6th April, followed by dozens of shows ranging from Newcastle, Leeds and Liverpool, to Plymouth, Cardiff and three nights in Hammersmith (in July), followed by a concluding Fringe residency in Edinburgh from 15th to 26th August. Tickets are on sale now and cost £25 for most of the regionals and Hammersmith, or £20 for the Edinburgh Fringe shows at the Venue 150. Demand will be high.

Paul Pledger