Comic’s tour is no problem

Jason Manford

Jason Manford

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Jason Manford

Preston Guild Hall

The problem with television, according to Jason Manford, is having to wait for weeks to find out if your jokes are funny.

Much better, says the comedian, to be up on stage in front of a live audience.

This is one reason why the winner of talent competition Born To Shine is returning to his stand-up roots with his First World Problems tour.

Since he was last on the road he has toured with Alfie Boe and appeared in Sweeney Todd alongside Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton in the West End.

“Some of you might think I’ve had a career change, what with all the opera and musical theatre I’ve been doing lately. Not a chance. I’m excited to be getting back to what I really love the most - stand-up, he says.”

It is also, if the crictics are to be believed, what Jason does best. He is “Effortlessly entertaining” and “Blessed with laid-back charm and a sharp turn of phrase.”

The stand-up, who has performed on BBC1’s Live at The Apollo, Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow and multiple Royal Variety Performances, is excited about his return to comedy.

“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 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.”

TV, on the other hand, is much simpler, according to Jason, with the option to do re-takes if things don’t go according to plan.

“But you’re not getting an immediate response,” says Jason. “You don’t know if something is funny till weeks later.

“Overall TV is much, much easier. A lot of the time it’s just professional reading. It’s reading while trying to make it look like you’re not reading.”

In contrast stand-up is much more demanding.

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

Jason describes his First World Problems tour, which shows at Preston’s Guild Hall tonight and tomorrow, as ‘essentially moaning about everyday life, but with punchlines’.

“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.”

It is sure to be popular with fans, who know exactly what they will get when they attend one of his gigs.

“The weirdest thing is fans who remember jokes that I’ve forgotten. Some I say to them, ‘I don’t remember that one, I must put it back in the act.”

Tickets are £22.50 from 0844 844 7710 or http://www.prestonguildhall.com/

Other venues include Liverpool Empire on October 16 and 17 and Manchester Arena on December 6.