TWENTY years after he first hit the comedy circuit, TV presenter and stand-up Paul Tonkinson is finally hitting the road with his own tour - Fancy Man.
The award-winning comic, famous for presenting The Big Breakfast and radio show Xfm, admitted the tour might have been a long time coming but it was worth the wait.
“Up through the late nineties and early 21st century, I was doing a lot of bits and bobs of telly,” said the Scarborough-born stand-up.
“I just never got round to it. Now I’ve done it, I wish I did it years ago
“Comedy club gigs are harder. On a tour, you’ve got them for an hour and a half to yourself.
“It indicates they’re already fans if they’ve come to see you but you still have to be funny. They have paid their cash, they want their laughs.
“I definitely prefer stand-up to TV and radio because of that freedom.
“Sometimes when you’re interviewing someone on TV, you have someone in your ear saying, ‘OK shut up in five, four, three...’ ”
Dreaming of becoming a footballer as a kid, or even following his dad’s footsteps to become a police officer, Tonkinson said he comedy in his late teens.
But spending 20 years as a northerner living in London, he said the north-south divide was still alive and kicking.
“I think it is fading but I think it will always be there. It makes you realise that you are shaped by your roots.
“It’s that sort of turning-into-your-dad thing. I find myself becoming a tight northern bloke; turning down the heating to conserve energy, scrimping and saving. You cannot escape your Yorkshireness.”
His act tackles everything from the geographic divide to family life, and even includes the odd impression.
“I am no rival to Jon Culshaw, it’s more me goofing around.
“I do Nadal, Tim Henman... the guy who taught me how to ski, my wife and kids.
“It’s cartoon impressions of people in my life but they’re wildly inaccurate.
“It’s all done with affection. As a comedian I have to talk about my life and a lot of that is family. It has to feel true to the crowd.”
Paul Tonkinson will be at Birmingham’s Glee Club tonight (March 1).