JOHN Robins is a comic on the rise.

His radio show and podcast with fellow comedian Elis James, which became a cult classic on commercial digital indie radio, is now broadcast on BBC 5Live on Friday afternoons and his stand-up set 'The Darkness of Robins' won the Edinburgh Comedy Award in 2017.

The follow-up tour, 'Hot Shame', rolled into Taunton on Tuesday evening and saw Robins return to familiar territory.

The 37-year-old, who hails from Bristol, compered a comedy night at the Brewhouse cafe during his early years in stand-up and reflected with tongue in cheek glee that now, 15 years on, he had filled slightly more than half of the main hall (more on that later).

It was clear a Robins crowd was in when, upon ordering an Exmoor Gold, I was told by the bar staff that "these are popular tonight"; 'Keeping It Session' has long been an Elis and John mantra (though Gold scales the upper limit of their 4.5% ABV allowance on that score).

After enjoyable support from Robins' close friend, Robin 'The Lovely Robin' Allender (familiar to all podcast listeners), Robins was straight into his stride.

The hour that followed was a joy. Not many comics could aptly describe the similar feelings of angst that come with negotiating the complex sexual politics of the #MeToo movement and the painstaking dilemma of which dehumidifier to buy (not many have tried, in fairness) but Robins does so skilfully, while also throwing pertinent social commentary into the mix.

These anecdotes were neatly interspersed with nuggets of shameful episodes from the Robins back catalogue, moments which still keep him awake at night and have formed the inspiration for 'John's Shame Well', a popular feature of the podcast which sees Robins banish listeners' similar feelings of embarrassment, guilt and regret.

His sense of inadequacy in relation to 'bigger boys' and frustration at grappling with day to day tasks, meanwhile, was content all too relatable for a Gazette correspondent who may or may not have paid way over the odds for a small hedge to be cut because the man at the door was intimidating and recently spent 45 minutes angrily berating himself while unsuccessfully attempting to steal his own bike after losing the key to the lock.

The podcast Robins co-hosts has been a joyous, comforting and, at times, much needed pick-me-up for myself and many thousands of listeners in recent years.

The pair have now hit their straps on 5Live and the excellent Radio X shows remain available - it is not too late to join the ever-growing ranks of podcast devotees.

Nor is it too late to see Robins in the South West (and, it should be stressed, this is a show which will be enjoyed whether you have heard the podcast or not). He is in Exmouth tonight (Wednesday) and Exeter on Thursday (as well as Yeovil on November 25) in what he openly, in relation to ticket sales, described as an 'optimistic tour of the Westcountry'.

Which brings us to perhaps the only disappointment of the evening - that more people were not there to see it. 'Use it or lose it' was the plea from the Brewhouse in these pages a few weeks ago and it was a (Hot) shame to see empty seats for a comedian of Robins' ability - Taunton does not host too many of them.

But this should not detract in any way from a performance which made you laugh, think and empathise with a comic who could well become a more permanent fixture on our radios and televisions in the near future.

Just don't ask him to do your plastering.