He might have made quite a name for himself as a theatre star, singer and even TV presenter - he is a great frontman for ITV’s What Would Your Kid Do? - but stand-up is where it all began for Jason Manford and I for one am happy to see him back on stage after a couple of years away.
His new touring show Muddle Class - I caught him on Friday at Peterborough’s East of England Arena - is a two-hour chucklefest of amusing anecdotes and observations.
He is funny. Very funny, even. But much of the success of the show is down to the fact that he is relateable, we all feel we have been there.
He isn’t a joke teller, but the funny stories he brings to life on stage have the same effect. Laughter, and lots of it.
He finds amusement for us all to share in all manner of situations, be it tales from his poor, working class upbringing to the middle class opportunities he now has, brought about by his success and wealth.He doesn’t want to belong to either - hence his Muddle Class angst.
He is a twice married, father of five and the trials and tribulations that he makes fun of are all very relevant to the audience. He wants to give his offspring the start in life he never had - who doesn’t - but fears them becoming the posh, rich, spoilt kids he wouldn’t have wanted to be friends with growing up in hand-me-downs on a Manchester council estate!
Then there is a meeting with a very dry, funny Glaswegian on a Speed Awareness Course; an encounter with a footballing idol that goes very wrong; the realisation that he is fat; the pointless daydreaming about wanting to be the “other you” - the one that is a better dad/husband/son/neighbour who is slimmer and fitter; and a trip to a safari park with his brother who never shies away from telling him fame and fortune has changed him.
It is funny, a bit sweary, but never offensive.