Rhod Gilbert has taken to the stage for the first time since undergoing cancer treatment.
The Welsh comedian took to the stage at Swansea Arena on Friday (May 19), marking his first stand-up show since being diagnosed with the illness last year.
The show was part of his Book Of John tour, which was originally set to take place across the summer of 2022. Several of these dates were later cancelled, as Gilbert announced that he was being treated for stage four cancer in July.
He described how he first began experiencing symptoms in April, before he was diagnosed with head and neck cancer. “I had a terribly sore throat, tightness through my neck. I was having to cancel shows because I couldn’t breathe,” he said at the time. “I was having all sorts of problems and we couldn’t get to the bottom of it.”
It was later reported that his symptoms began to worsen in the following month, while he was fundraising for Velindre in Cuba. “In May, I noticed lumps started popping up in places they shouldn’t be. It turns out I’ve got Stage 4 cancer,” he said, adding that he had undergone chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery, and remained optimistic about his recovery.
Last Friday’s show in Swansea was the first of his seven rescheduled tour dates. Following the gig, Gilbert shared a video of himself signing the wall at the city’s arena.
“It is wonderful being back doing stand-up again for the first time in a year,” he said in the footage. “Lovely to be here, lovely to be back in Swansea, lovely to be alive and lovely to be back on tour.”
A post from the arena’s Twitter page soon followed, which read: “We knew it would be special, but there’s nothing quite like witnessing a homegrown, Welsh legend take to the stage (in front of a sold out crowd!)”
It also added: “We’re so thrilled to see Rhod Gilbert back doing what he does so brilliantly.”
We knew it would be special, but there’s nothing quite like witnessing a homegrown, Welsh legend take to the stage (in front of a sold out crowd!) 🏴
We’re so thrilled to see Rhod Gilbert back doing what he does so brilliantly ❤️
Diolch ENFAWR, Rhod!@bluejeansmgmt pic.twitter.com/fIDEeydRpg
— Swansea Arena (@ArenaSwansea) May 20, 2023
For the remaining shows of the Book Of John tour, Gilbert is set to make stops in Bath, Yeovil and Barnstaple. Two back-to-back shows in Edinburgh are also scheduled, taking place between August 21-27.
Tickets for a newly-announced show in Cardiff on October 1 are set to go on sale next month. For this, pre-sale tickets will be on offer from June 5, while the general sale starts on June 9. Visit here for tickets and more information.
Previously, the comedian and host joked that he was “pissed off” with the diagnosis because of the previous work he has done to raise money for cancer research.
“[Cancer fundraising has] been a big part of my life for the last 10 years, so imagine my surprise when I was diagnosed with cancer, which pissed me off no end, because I thought I’d have life-long immunity! Apparently not,” he said.
“Apparently you’re just as likely to get cancer even if you spend your time fundraising for a cancer hospital. Anyway, I did get it, and it turns out it can come for anybody.”