Published: 06/03/2014 13:17 - Updated: 06/03/2014 13:28

Jason Manford: "victim of my own niceness".

Jason Manford
Jason Manford

NO, despite some unexpected career developments like a tour with singer Alfie Boe and a starring role in a West End production of Sweeney Todd, Jason Manford promises he is not giving up the world of comedy for a more musical career.

"Not a chance. I’m excited to be getting back to what I really love the most — stand-up!" he declared.

Manford, who has also performed stand-up on BBC1’s Live at the Apollo, Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow and multiple Royal Variety Performances, as well on stages across the country, admits there is something addictive about comedy.

"You can’t give it up," he stated. "People who haven’t done stand-up focus on the negatives: ‘What’s it like to die on stage?’ I always say: ‘It’s horrendous, the worst feeling in the world’. But the lows are so low because the highs are so high.

"It’s a huge risk, but when it goes right, there is nothing better. It creates a communal feeling that you just can’t beat. You get all these people laughing and you think, ‘I did that!’ If you make one person laugh in a day, that’s great. Imagine multiplying that by 10,000."

Although Manford is a well known face on television with credits including a team captaincy on Eight Out of Ten Cats and hosting comedy talent search Show Me The Funny, he regards television as much easier than doing live stand-up.

"A lot of the time it’s just professional reading. It’s reading while trying to make it look like you’re not reading," he confessed.

"On stage, you’re everything. You’re the boss. You’re the performer, writer, editor, director. You’re even Ofcom. You decide what to say. It’s brilliant."

By now Manford has an established fan base who share sense of humour, and sometimes even remind him of jokes he has forgotten.

"It’s also really interesting to see the demographic of my audience," he added.

"I get grannies, their kids and their kids. It’s great to see."

His current show, First World Problems, is inspired by a phrase Manford spotted online.

"It just sums up so much," he explained.

"I think the phrase emphasises those times when we moan about the most trivial things. It’s as if we invent problems so we have something to moan about. I imagine someone in the Third World just thinking that we were all complete idiots!"

Manford added that his material is constantly evolving.

"I only tour every couple of years, and the good thing is that over that time your life and the people who surround you are constantly changing. Also, as you get older, you get more opinionated," he said.

More opinionated, but Manford still seems to project an image as one of comedy’s nice guys.

"I’m the same on stage as I am in real life," Manford said.

"Jimmy Carr says that because he is quite rude on stage, if he says ‘hello’ to a fan in the street, that will make their day.

"By contrast, because I’m nice on stage, unless I ask a fan if they fancy a brew, they’ll say: ‘He’s a bit rude’. I’m a victim of my own niceness. Sometimes I wish I’d gone down the Jack Dee misery route."

• Jason Manford is at the Empire Theatre, Eden Court, Inverness, on Monday 10th and Tuesday 11th March at 8pm.

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