Comedian Jason Manford admits to being a little confused over his standing in society but when it comes to making folk laugh he is top class.
The Salford funnyman is the heir apparent to Peter Kay – now that other beloved northern comic appears to have hung up the mic – and he has proved he has the Kay-like acting chops to excel as a stand-up or in any BBC or ITV comedy/drama.
Like his American lookalike – Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane – Jason has also branched out into singing, with his debut album of show tunes A Different Stage raising a few eyebrows.
His new show, Muddle Class, which he will fire into at Falkirk Town Hall tomorrow (Thursday) refers to the confusion Jason has experienced growing up working class and then finding, as the years rolled by, he had morphed into a mild form of middle class. Let’s let him explain: “Muddle Class is everyone who eats olives while watching Jeremy Kyle or goes on a ski-ing trip with Ryanair.”
He also gets big laughs and knowing nods when he talks about how the behaviour of his middle class kids embarrasses him in front of his working class little brother.
The comedy bug bit Manford from an early age – counting Billy Connolly, the aforementioned Peter Kay, Eddie Izzard and Johnny Vegas among his mirth making mentors and influences, he first performed in a Manchester club when he was 16.
You might also be interested in:
He said: “Stand up is always the greatest thing you can do because it’s just so personal and direct. I just listen to people. I read a lot, but listening is the best way. I’m never the centre of attention at parties, but I’m always listening – that sounds creepier than I meant it to.
“I’ve been putting some stuff together, looking at my life and how it’s changed over the years, how the world has changed and how my parents haven’t changed a bit. It’s going to be a great tour.”
Jason became a household name after he landed a gig as a team captain on the popular Channel 4 panel show 8 Out of 10 Cats back in 2007. He went on to present shows for the BBC and ITV including Comedy Rocks, The One Show, Show Me the Funny and Bigheads.
Acting parts in television and theatre have also come his way, with appearances in Channel 4’s Shameless In July 2012 and BBC Three’s Ideal, BBC One’s Ordinary Lies and ITV’s Ripper Street. The talented singer has also appeared in the London revival of musical Sweeney Todd with Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton and starred in Mel Brooks’ Producers and the UK tour of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as Caractacus Potts – a role first played by Dick Van Dyke.
However, stand-up is Jason Manford’s bread and butter and there’s always a feast of chuckles when he takes to the stage.
He said: “I like to mess about and chat and use new thoughts and see how it goes. That’s the wonderful thing about comedy, the audience never lie.”