“Off On Tour We Go” – Jason Manford

Posted on November 8, 2011

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By Martin Owens

Releasing a new DVD, writing a book and performing to more than 300,000 people in less than a year, comedian Jason Manford is one of the best-known and hardest working comedians in Britain. Since leaving “The One Show” to focus on his family and touring commitments, Jason has been working as hard as ever and tickets for his latest tour were snapped up so fast he had to add extra arena dates to satisfy his expanding fan club.

Ahead of his show at Glasgow’s SECC on November 7th, we caught up with the Mancunian to chat about his upcoming show, how he’s dealing with his new twin daughters and rivalry with other comedians.

His show, “Off On Tour We Go”, at Glasgow’s SECC is part of a nine month long arena tour, the size of which has even surprised Jason: “If someone had told me 10 years ago when I was telling jokes down at my local that I’d be doing arenas by the time I was 30, I’d have said they should give comedy a go. It’s a really exciting opportunity and I am going to give it my best shot.”

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                               Jason’s new DVD: Jason Manford Live

There will be plenty of laughs in his show; the only trouble was finding the time between being a dad and writing the material. “I had 10 years to write the show that became my first DVD,” explains Jason, “but I had to come up with a whole new show in less than a year. I’m constantly waiting to observe things.” He admits it can be frustrating when another comedian beats him to a subject. Like Michael McIntyre’s famous routine about the things men keep in their man drawers. “I said to my wife ‘I’ve been talking about that to you, why didn’t I put it into my act?’ Sometimes the funny side of life is staring you in the face, you’ve just got to recognise it and write it down.”

He is now starting to recognise the funny side of having twin daughters. “Everyone goes ‘double trouble’. No, it’s not double trouble, just normal trouble. Then there are old ladies who say, ‘it’s a wonder why anyone would want to hurt ’em’. What an odd thing to say in Tesco. I’d forgotten about all the evil in the world and then you’ve brought it up again.

“But you’ve got to take into account that not everyone has kids. Like I wrote something about how when your babies are born you are really gentle with them as if they are going to break and then the midwife holds them upside down and shakes them around because they deal with babies all the time. But maybe if you’ve not had kids you might not relate to it. It should be easier when they are at school – everyone relates to being at school.”

Having twins has helped him come up with new jokes but he would still like to have a little bit of privacy and has not revealed their names in the press: “I kept their names a secret. I’ve told my wife, obviously.”

Manford is part of a new wave of talented comedians that also includes John Bishop and Rhod Gilbert who are fast becoming household names, but he modestly denies that there is any rivalry. “I’ve never been like that. I always compare myself to myself and if I’m doing better than I was six months ago I’m happy. You see people like Michael McIntyre and Peter Kay selling out huge venues and they are way ahead of us. You can’t compete with that.”

He might have a rival closer to home soon, though. His younger brother, Colin, is currently starting out as a stand-up. “I might have him as a support act while he’s cheap.”

With comedy shows more popular than ever, everyone is benefiting from what has been dubbed The Michael McIntyre Effect. “There’s a huge appetite for live comedy at the moment,” explains Jason. “I guess they’ve seen Michael, enjoyed him and gone, ‘who else is on then?’” Audiences are really passionate too. It’s nice that people who like you really like you, but the downside is that people that don’t like you really hate you. Comedy is the only thing that gets people really angry. Nobody goes in to work furious the next day and goes “Did you see Heartbeat last night, wasn’t it terrible?”

To coincide with the last show of Jason’s “Off We Go Tour” at London’s O2 Arena on November 29th, his DVD “Jason Manford Live” will be released two weeks earlier, on November 14th. “I am really excited about my new DVD. We filmed it at the MEN Arena, to a home crowd of 12,000 people and the audience were amazing. I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I’ve enjoyed performing it.”

:: Tickets for Jason’s show at Glasgow SECC are available online at www.ticketsoup.com or tel: 0844 395 4000. Priced at £25.

:: Jason Manford Live on DVD & Blu-ray is released 14th November 2011.

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