INTERVIEW: Jason Manford ahead of his Dubai gig
Some comedians look at stand-up as a performance. Others as a form of group therapy. Others see it as personal validation, craving the laughs and the applause. Then there are the likes of Jason Manford, a regular bloke from Manchester who sees it as a way to pay his gas bill. Which, considering he kept on getting sacked from jobs to do gigs at short notice, is probably the more sensible option.
“I remember when I did my first gigs at the Comedy Store in London – and if you get booked there you really know you’ve made it,” he says. “We got paid in cash at the end of the weekend and we’re all sitting in the dressing room with 800 quid. One of the other comics immediately books a fancy hotel room, another puts it behind the bar, another goes off into the night in search of entertainment. Me? I bought laminate flooring for my living room.”
The 35-year-old father of five, now a BBC regular thanks to appearances on The One Show and Live at the Apollo, will be attempting to tick off a few more household expenses with a trip to Dubai this month.
The one-off show, which is being put on by the Laughter Factory, follows on from his sell-out performance here in 2014, when he received two standing ovations.
“This is sort of a ‘best of’, really, or at least that’s what I’m calling it,” he says. “I’ve done about 20 of these shows in the UK in the last few months, and it’s a combination of old material, new stuff and a Q&A session with the audience. I find that’s a good way to find out what people want me to talk about.”
His comedy is a sort of hybrid of Peter Kay, scattergun observations on the oddball characters that populate Northern England, and Michael McIntyre, where the humdrum daily routine of family life provides a mine of material. We can be pretty certain that his children will feature quite prominently in his set.
“My kids know that, though,” he confirms. “Somehow my eldest girls get wind of it and ask me, ‘How come you were talking about us?’ So, I just say that if you want to keep living in a nice house and going to good schools, deal with it...”
You see? Practical to the last. After all, considering he’s just done a done a show at the UK Slimmers’ World Awards, this is a comic who knows which side his bread is buttered.
Jason Manford Live
When: August 25, 9pm
Where: Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach, JBR, www.thelaughterfactory.com