Life /Style has become a Square Mile staple in recent years – with dozens of brilliant names across as variety of industries opening up their lives and their wardrobes.
We've had some good ones, for sure – but Luke Rollason has to be the best of the lot. His answers are insightful, whimsical, and often downright surreal. Take the following anecdote when asked what lost item does he miss...
"At university, we found a blunt sword in our house that became a mascot. And then when we moved out, I was the only one to keep it – but then I left it on a train. I called up Lost and Found, which led to a very stern call from the police. Turns out admitting to carrying a sword in public is a really stupid thing to do. It went all the way to Scotland, and I wasn’t allowed to retrieve it.
"This is a direct quote from the email: 'As requested we will destroy the sword. Once we have worked out how, we will provide you with a receipt confirming this.'
Rollason is starring in new Disney+ show Extraordinary. If the show's half as good value as the man himself, it should be a cracking watch.
What upcoming project(s) are you most excited about?
I can’t wait to see what people think of Extraordinary – the first series comes out on the 25 January on Disney+ and the level of anticipation is intense.
As a comedian, I’m so used to having an immediate reaction to my work, so to have to sit and wait for over a year for the rest of the world to catch up on the most exciting thing in your life makes you feel like you’re living in a strange parallel timeline. Or just incredibly delusional. You wake up sometimes thinking “did I make that up?”
I’ve still been performing live in the meantime, and no matter how much of a star you feel, it’s useful and humbling to perform to five people in Buxton who hate you.
What is your proudest professional accomplishment?
Enjoying it as much as I do. I still get so excited about going on set that I can’t sleep the night before, which now I think about it isn’t an achievement but actually a massive drawback. But every day I get to work on projects that I love, I feel so lucky.
During the filming of series 1 of Extraordinary, I literally came in one day on my day off. Having spent years making weird little comedy shows with hundreds of props, which me and my friends would drag from one end of the country to the other in broken suitcases, I know how lucky I am.
My biggest fear, professionally, is becoming embittered. And sometimes it is really hard to see where the hell you are going. I love performing live comedy, but it can feel pretty bleak when the burden is on you to find meaning in what you do (because no one else does).
If you could change one thing about your career, what would it be?
This question really activates an internal time-travel paranoia that I feel was drummed into my head by science fiction that I read growing up (especially Douglas Adams/Terry Pratchett). I’m so happy with the work I am getting to do right now, and it feels so precarious that this would ever happen, that I would be absolutely mad to gamble it by changing anything – even my biggest disappointments, or things that I still feel inadequate about.
I realise I am answering this as if you actually have a time machine. Oh my god, imagine if you did and this is how you decided to change the past. It’s not worth the risk.
But seriously, there are things that felt like huge stumbling blocks at the time – I didn’t get into any drama schools, for example, and there was a period where I was finding these terrible acting jobs online when my friends were receiving the best acting training in the country, and I felt like a total idiot. But I never would have created my own work if I had felt satisfied by what I was doing, or if I’d felt like I’d “made it.”
There are things I would change about myself. I’d like to be better as saying no to things – I still have this tendency to believe that I have to say yes to every opportunity, even if anyone else can see it is going to be absolutely miserable.
What do you hope to achieve that you haven’t yet?
My absolute dream is to work on a TV show of my own – something that I have more creative control over.
I fell into performing comedy because it felt the easiest way to bring stupid ideas to an audience – compared to filmmaking or acting, there is a very low bar to entry. No one is going to stop you running around in your pants with a lamp on your head, although perhaps they really should.
Comedy was the medium that gave me complete freedom and control – like getting to direct a gigantic west end show, but your budget is a fiver and you are the only cast member. I’ve always approached making comedy this way, which meant I made some really bizarre professional decisions. The idea of then getting to make work on that scale excites me like nothing else.
And I love TV because it’s the job of teams of incredibly talented people to build the bizarre worlds inside someone else’s head. I love it.
Outside of your family, who is / was your biggest inspiration?
Whilst at university, I saw a mime artist called Trygve Wakenshaw perform a show called Squidboy at the Edinburgh Fringe. He was in an absolutely terrible squid costume – ping pong balls for eyes stuck onto a woolly hat, big yellow boots – and made me cry with laughter AND cry with crying. It was a revelation. I know so many people who were inspired to do comedy because of Trygve.
People scoff about modern art, or comedians, saying “oh, I could do that.” Isn’t that a good thing? Isn’t that inspiring? I really hope when people see me perform, they go “pfft, that’s nothing. I could do that.”
Tell us something nobody knows about you…
I am so bad at watching TV. I know literally no TV programmes, which is terrible when you tell people you want to write TV.
I am also terrible at bluffing. I had a meeting when they asked me what I’d been watching recently, and I was like “oh, I’ve just seen the first series of Stath Lets Flats, I loved it.” This was 2021.
I think whenever there is loads of hype around something, I lose interest in watching it. I think “oh, I know that’ll be really good.” Where’s the fun in knowing? In ten years, I’ll be raving about Fleabag.
What’s your favourite item of clothing – and what does it mean to you?
I am super hyperactive about clothing – there are items I absolutely wear to death, and then stupid things that I wear once in a while to get attention. I get obsessed with a really outlandish piece for months, which then obviously the rest of my wardrobe has to orbit around. My wardrobe is like the court of a capricious King. Oh, you don’t go with my cowboy shirt? You are out of favour! Cowboy season is in!
There are a pair of trousers that I wore to the first audition for Extraordinary, and someone in casting complimented me on them, and then I wore them to every single audition afterwards. People began to notice. It was like, oh, you’re wearing your lucky trousers. Sometimes, clothes being memorable is a bad thing…
They are turquoise, thick-corduroy flannels I bought in Margate, and I’ve washed them like an idiot and now they’re INCREDIBLY tight. I wore them bowling recently and the poses I had to adopt to even get close to a squat were obscene.
Favourite accessory – watch / jewellery / etc – and why is it special to you?
For a long time, I was obsessed with the cheapest possible black plastic Casio watch. I still think it’s the best kind of watch. Every comedian who is broke and unpretentious has one.
There was one I wore for years, show after show, and then for some reason every watch I’ve bought to replace it has broken after a week. But I don’t want to throw them out, so I have all these decapitated watch heads lying around my room. I look like a serial killer of broke comedians, and these are my trophies.
So now I don’t bother with watches, which is stupid. Instead, I’ve become obsessed with wearing ties, which is funny because I have no other formal wear. I have this stupid beige tie I barely know how to tie. I had a tiny part in the second series of Industry, and I had a day to kill in a trailer which I spent trying to tie a Windsor knot. This is my process as an actor – doomscrolling WikiHow, painfully aware that I look stupid in formalwear.
What items do you take on holiday and why?
I am terrible at going on holiday – I went to Norway last Winter but before that I hadn’t gone on holiday for years and years. I had no idea how it worked anymore. How many pairs of underwear do I wear a day? I don’t know! My wardrobe is so unsuited to cold weather.
The first time I was allowed to pack a bag for myself on holiday as a child, I solemnly walked around the house and selected the items I decided were essential. I think I packed one of my dad’s shoes, some milk and a lego brick. I think my process hasn’t really changed.
Is there an item you threw away – or lost – that you really miss?
Because I am so scatterbrained, I’ve become very stoic about losing things. I try to buy secondhand as much as possible, and see my time with an item as one chapter in its life. That way, if I lose something, I just feel like it’s been passed on to someone else. I have a terrible tendency to anthropomorphise inanimate things, and used to get very emotional if I lost or broke anything.
At university, we found a blunt sword in our house that became a mascot. And then when we moved out, I was the only one to keep it – but then I left it on a train. I called up Lost and Found, which led to a very stern call from the police. Turns out admitting to carrying a sword in public is a really stupid thing to do. It went all the way to Scotland, and I wasn’t allowed to retrieve it.
This is a direct quote from the email: “As requested we will destroy the sword. Once we have worked out how, we will provide you with a receipt confirming this.”
Once we have worked out how. Whenever I am sad, I imagine a committee of the British Transport Police, scratching their heads and trying to work out how to destroy a sword. Like the Council of Elrond with a whiteboard.
What’s next on your shopping list?
I don’t own any actual normal suits, which might eventually become a problem. At the moment, I always buy women’s suits – I am very slender and they tend to be a better fit.
I have this crazy colourful lemon-garden pattern suit from Boden (can you believe) that I love. But you can’t wear that to a funeral. I can’t keep turning down invitations to funerals because I have nothing to wear.
What would you buy if money was no object?
In one scene of one episode of Extraordinary, I’m wearing this absolutely insane rainbow suit that feels like it’s made of tea towels. I have absolutely no idea why my character has this item. It never appears again. It is never explained. Why am I so dressed up to visit the vet?! I was obsessed with it. I clearly still am.
If money was no object, I would hire a detective to find out what the hell this suit is and why it exists, and then I would use the remainder of my insane wealth (plus selling all my other possessions – it probably costs that much and I wouldn’t need any other clothes) to buy it. I would then make back my fortune by charging people to look at it.
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Extraordinary is out on the 25 January on Disney+