In 1995, he tried stand-up comedy for the first time at the Frog and Bucket comedy club, adopting the stage name “Smug Roberts”; the “smug” came from an event in his life where people teased him for being a “smug bastard” and the “Roberts” was adapted from his middle name. Caroline Aherne and her then-husband Peter Hook watched his set and she put him in contact with an agent. Six weeks later, He performed his first one-man gig.
In 1998, he released the novelty anthem “Meat Pie, Sausage Roll (Come on England, Gi’s a Goal)” as cult hero “Grandad Roberts”, both the character and song (originally a jingle referencing Oldham Athletic A.F.C. rather than England) stemming from an afternoon radio show on Key 103.
In 2000, he headlined with Paul Merton and John Thomson at the opening night of the Manchester Comedy Store. His appearance there lead to a role in the film 24 Hour Party People (2002). He has also appeared on television, with roles in Cutting It, BAFTA winners ‘Buried’ (ch4) and ‘Cold Feet’ (ITV)
He has appeared in nearly every television production by Peter Kay and his recent work includes playing landlord ‘Mr Foley’ in BAFTA winning ‘Mrs Browns Boys’ and the films ‘Looking for Eric’ (Ken Loach) and ‘Almost Married’
His radio credits are many and varied they include his own series ‘A Set & A Song’ on BBC radio 4 plus four series of ‘The In Crowd’ also on BBC radio 4.
He has also wrote and played the lead role in 2 plays both of which received critical acclaim on their ‘Edinburgh Festival Fringe’ debuts.